Secrets of the Chocolate House – Review

img_0743So many thanks to St. Martin’s Press & Netgalley for the chance to read this novel.

Almost exactly a year ago I read The Little Shop of Found Things by Paula Brackston and was absolutely absorbed. Twelve months later, the same is true with Secrets of the Chocolate House! The Found Things Series is completely enthralling! Both books have played to my tastes (forgive the pun) with their unique stories, vivid imagery, and magical realism. I simply can’t get enough!


New York Times bestselling author Paula Brackston’s The Little Shop of Found Things was called “a page-turner that will no doubt leave readers eager for future series installments” (Publishers Weekly). Now, Brackston returns to the Found Things series with its sequel, Secrets of the Chocolate House.

After her adventures in the seventeenth century, Xanthe does her best to settle back into the rhythm of life in Marlborough. She tells herself she must forget about Samuel and leave him in the past where he belongs. With the help of her new friends, she does her best to move on, focusing instead on the success of her and Flora’s antique shop.

But there are still things waiting to be found, still injustices needing to be put right, still voices whispering to Xanthe from long ago about secrets wanting to be shared.

While looking for new stock for the shop, Xanthe hears the song of a copper chocolate pot. Soon after, she has an upsetting vision of Samuel in great danger, compelling her to make another journey to the past.

This time she’ll meet her most dangerous adversary. This time her ability to travel to the past will be tested. This time she will discover her true destiny. Will that destiny allow her to return home? And will she be able to save Samuel when his own fate seems to be sealed?

I’m not normally someone who enjoys reading books in a series as they come out because I like experiencing the full impact of the story without forgetting important details along the way. Luckily, this continuation effortlessly put me back in the story without feeling like a year had elapsed in time. Maybe some of the magic of time-travel really exists within these pages? I was surprised to find I remembered the previous story quite clearly!

I’ve come to greatly appreciate Paula Brackston’s atmospheric writing, transporting me to the quaint town of Marlborough, England and beyond. I relish in the clear descriptions of the weather, the homey shops, and the adventures Xanthe finds herself in. I wish I could meet her in real life if just to ride around in her taxi and look for antique treasures myself.

While this was a slow read for me, taking me several days and hours to read, I was happy to kick back and take my time in this world of magical possibility. I think the author may have a few tricks up her sleeve when it comes to controlling time herself. I was pleased to see the story basically picking up where it left off in both the past and present settings, allowing readers to catch up on the lives of characters we’ve grown fond of. I was worried when I finished the first book Xanthe’s upcoming travels would take her somewhere else entirely. Thankfully, the old characters made their presence known, with the welcome additions of a few new folks.

I especially enjoyed the dimension added to the time-traveling, or Spinning, in Secrets of the Chocolate House. It added further possibility, which could ultimately mean the series would be able to go on for the foreseeable future, or as long as the author can dream up new exploits for Xanthe. Ordinarily, I’m not too wild about the added presence of a new villain in a story, but the addition of Ben Fairfax opened up some extremely interesting doors with where things can go as well.

If you’re a fan of magical realism or historical fiction, I highly recommend this series. It inspires me to look for magic in the mundane around me. And an added bonus – it pairs perfectly with the Autumn season. Even though the Summer hasn’t left us in Texas, I could easily imagine a nip in the air and frost on the ground. I will eagerly be awaiting future books from Paula Brackston and may find my way to her backlist titles soon! I love her writing style. My main question upon finishing this novel is this: Why haven’t chocolate houses stood the test of time? That’s a true injustice.

Pick up your copy on October 22nd.

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase on Amazon.


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10 Comments Add yours

  1. Carol says:

    Sounds good!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. R A I N says:

    TIME TEAVEL!? 😍😍❤️ How have I never heard of this series beforeee!? It sounds awesome! 😍😍😍 And I totally agree about reading a series only when all the books are out! Same with shows as well! I mean…I don’t like a week long gap to wait for next episode to come out! KILLS THE WHOLE VIBE! 🤣🤣
    I really loved this review! and let me just say that your blog is ABSOLUTELY gorgeous!! 😍😍❤️❤️😘😘

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right??! I’m such a huge fan of time-travel too and I think this series is really unique and interesting. I highly recommend it.

      I agree – having to wait on shows or books really does kill the vibe! I’m a binge-watcher/reader for LIFE. haha!

      And thanks so much for the sweet compliments! I really appreciate it!! ❤


  3. Jules_Writes says:

    Lovely review, this sounds like something I would enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I definitely recommend this series. It’s very cozy!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Darina says:

    Brilliant review! Sounds like this book transports the reader to some magical places. I’d definitely be interested in reading this one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I highly recommend this series. It’s so much fun to read.


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