Thursday, December 19, 2013

Bittersweet Chocolate by Martha Reynolds (5 stars)

About Bittersweet Chocolate
(from GoodReads)

In the third and final installment of Martha Reynolds's award-winning Chocolate series, Bernadette Maguire's story is about to come full-circle...

But is she ready for what her future holds? It's been five years since Bernie married Gary, a dear friend from the past and the true man of her dreams. Bernie now practices law in New York City, while Gary enjoys tenure as a German professor at the university, and they have a beautiful life together. But when Gary learns his job will be eliminated, then Swiss banker Karl Berset reaches out to Bernie with devastating news that could have far-reaching effects, it seems it may be time to return to Switzerland--at least for a while. Several years earlier, Bernie reconnected with Jean-Michel, the son she conceived nearly thirty years ago during her Fribourg dalliance with Karl, and he now has a family of his own. But a gene he may carry for a deadly genetic disease from a father he never knew could very well ruin his life and the lives of his children. Though he's not the only one about to face a huge and terrifying change in the bittersweet conclusion of the beloved Chocolate saga.


Bernie Maguire is happily married, her career is humming along, and she's enjoying a nice relationship with the son she gave up many years ago. But then she gets a call from her son's birth father that changes everything, news that could devastate her son and his growing family.

More changes are afoot when her husband loses his job and they end up back in Switzerland. Everything is teetering on a precipice. Just as Bernie is settling in, and her son is navigating his own traumas, there is another devastating blow. Can Bernie face a suddenly different future?

Let me start by saying that I've loved this series, and I'm sad to see it end. But Martha Reynolds outdid herself with the final installment. At no point during the series did she take the fluffy, easy way out--instead, she gave us life with all of its ups and downs. Moments of pure happiness as well as heartbreaking sadness were weaved together through the lives of beloved characters. 

In this story, Bernie's son, Jean-Michel, faces genetic testing to find out if he has a disease his birth father has recently developed--a man he didn't want to know. Now his life involves his birth mother, a wife, two sons and a baby on the way, his adoptive parents, and the family of his birth father. And it's all tied together so seamlessly even with all the complexities of such a blended family. Bernie was my favorite character throughout--she never stopped growing and discovering things about herself--but Jean-Michel, and his strong and supportive wife, stole a place in my heart. I'm so attached to these characters (guess I'll have to re-read the series at some point to spend time with them again).

I highly recommend this series to readers who appreciate how much the heart can handle, both in love and sadness. In addition, if you are a reader who wants characters who feel like extended family, look no further. Love, love, love this series. 

Rating: 5 stars

Please check out my reviews of the first two books of this series: Chocolate for Breakfast and Chocolate Fondue.

About Martha Reynolds
(From Martha's Amazon Author Page) 

Martha Reynolds ended an accomplished career as a fraud investigator and started writing full time in 2011. Her debut novel, Chocolate for Breakfast, follows a young woman into adulthood during a year abroad in Switzerland.

Martha is presently writing her second novel, tentatively titled The Reunion, and plans a sequel to Chocolate for Breakfast.
She and her husband live in New England, never far from the ocean.
Read and follow the writings of Martha at her website and on GoodReads.

Note: I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own. 


Martha Reynolds said...

Thank you, Tia! And I'll let your readers know that "Chocolate for Breakfast" is on sale for 99 cents at Amazon, until the end of December!