by Dawn Greenfield Ireland
Release Date: October 20, 2011
2011 Artistic Origins Inc.
E-Book Edition: 260 Pages
Genre: Fiction / Mystery / Cozy
Source: Review Copy from Author
4.5 / 5 Stars
Meet the middle-aged Alcott sisters: Madge, Lila Mae and Dorothea, heiresses to the Alcott Chocolate fortune and mavens of Houston’s elite River Oaks.
Madge ambushes Lila Mae with Dorothea’s manipulative plea: she can’t care for Bernie, their 92-year old father, any longer. Lila Mae explodes in a hissy fit—she had warned Dorothea years ago that they should put Bernie in an assisted living center.
Robert, Lila Mae’s astrologer, warns of impending problems and he’s rarely wrong.
The sisters call a meeting with Walter Branson, their solicitor. They discuss Bernie’s nurse Bambi Chaline, a blonde bombshell who looks more like a hooker than a nurse. Arrangements are made for Bernie to be transferred over to Lake Sides Assisted Living Center in the Uptown Galleria area and a severance package is drawn up for Bambi.
Jimmy Ray Chaline, Bambi’s bowling alley husband, is enraged that Bambi was let go. He hires ambulance chaser Mark Slade to file a lawsuit for wrongful termination. The suit is thrown out of court further fueling Jimmy Ray’s rage.
When Jimmy Ray fails to return home from the bowling alley that night, a series of events unfold that shocks the entire Alcott family and their extended members.
Hot Chocolate is one of those delicious, cozy mysteries where you just want to curl up in a warm pair of jammies in front of the fire with a steaming cup of the brew so you can soak up the antics between the three Alcott sisters as they negotiate through one crisis after another when they decide to put their 92-year-old father in an assisted-living facility.
One of the things I definitely enjoyed in this novel was the fact that these women were all in their fifties, as I could identify with them and where they were in their lives at this moment. It was nice to see older women being written about rather than the usual younger women in their early twenties, but women who still had issues and who still squabbled with their sisters and assorted relatives. Having two sisters of my own, I understood the relationship between these women, how they could be tough on each other one moment, and then comforting each other the next as if nothing had happened. The different quirks of each sister made life rather interesting and I laughed out loud whenever one sister hiccuped loudly as the most inappropriate moment, and when another would call because her astrologer would give her bad news and she had to pass it on to her sisters. Such fun stuff!!
The novel is rather deceptive in its plotline as well as at first I thought I could sense where things were going and was quite proud when I knowingly nodded as some plot points were exposed, but I was definitely in for a few surprises (and a few treats as well). The plot twists were quite fun to read and I just finally settled down to it, not really worrying about the who-dun-it aspect of the book, just sort of absorbing the whole thing as there was so much going on. The added bonus of some of the plot twists include Lila Mae's boyfriend Chance, Uncle Tito (whom I just love), and Lila Mae's astrologer who added some rather interesting twists to the tale. And I have to mention the food as well as I was ready to convert to being a coffee drinker by the end of the novel as the descriptions of the drinks were so well done.
Hot Chocolate was a lot of fun to read and included some interesting plot twists as well. I would recommend you continue reading past the end of the novel and look through some of the recipes as they all seemed rather delicious - I am going to try some as soon as I get a chance. I am looking forward to seeing the Alcott sisters again in further adventures as I am always up for some yummy laughs and some good downright murder mystery fun.