Paula Brackston is a favorite author of mine. I’ve read almost all of her books and with each read, I feel like I walked away satisfied and looking forward to the next book.
She has a deft hand with magical realism and all things ‘witchy’. She is probably most known for her ‘witch’ books of which I have read almost all of them (The Silver Witch, The Midnight Witch etc) as well as a host of other works by her.
After reading the first book in this particular series, I was eager to see what direction this book took! After reading this one, I do think that readers who haven’t read the first book, The Little Shop of Found Things, should definitely read that one first before attempting this one.
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? (summary from Goodreads)
Brackston’s maturity and experience as a writer shows in her writing. She is comfortable in her genre and always executes her stories exceptionally well and in this novel, it’s no different than what I would expect from her. This novel is a fun, quick read that captivated my imagination and wouldn’t let go.
I love that Xanthe can time travel through the use of antique objects. What a unique and fun way of incorporating time travel in this series. That would be my dream super power right there. I can definitely see that Brackston took time to develop the time travel parts in this book over the first one. For new readers it might not be obvious but if you have read the first book in this series and now this one, you will see that Brackston has put a little polish on this element of the story.
I don’t know that I loved Xanthe anymore than I did in the first book. I remember thinking in the first book that I wished she was a little more sure of herself and stronger but it didn’t bother me too much as I expected to see her evolve more in future books. But here we are, book 2, and I don’t see much of a shift in her character. She still seems a little unsure of herself and not quite as strong as I was expecting her to be.
That said, I enjoyed the plot—there was a lot to hold my interest and keep me reading. You can’t go wrong with one of Brackston’s books. She a great writer and provides lots of details and hooks right from the beginning and this book was no different. A solid 4 star book for me!
2 thoughts on “Review: Secrets of the Chocolate House (Found Things #2) by Paula Brackston”
I’ve read a couple of reviews of this book that said this wasn’t as good as the first one.
I read this too (my review goes live on 7th November). Unlike you, Anne, historical novels are not my usual choice of genre but Brackston always manages to engage me and transport me into her tales. Like you, I was hoping for a bit more growth from Xanthe in this one but I can see potential and she is a bit more savvy in this book than the last, so at least it’s going in the right direction. 😉