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Chocolate Beach    by Julie Carobini order for
Chocolate Beach
by Julie Carobini
Order:  USA  Can
Bethany, 2007 (2007)
* *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

Bri Stone has long been a free spirit. Her easygoing, humorous manner is what attracted her ambitious lawyer husband to her in the first place. But now, fourteen years into their marriage, Bri starts to believe that Douglas is getting weary of her laid back attitude. She peeks at an e-mail from Douglas's realtor mother and discovers that he has been shopping around for another home. Bri always thought Douglas liked their rustic house on the beach, but maybe he is looking for a change. And what's with all of the time he's spending at work and with his gorgeous female co-worker?

Bri decides to take matters into her own hands and hires a decorator to bring their house up to the standard she believes Douglas is seeking. While she's at it, changing her own wardrobe and style, learning how to cook, and becoming more - gasp - responsible seem to be in order as well. Is this really what Douglas desires, or is Bri imagining things? Can Bri and Douglas come to an understanding about their lifestyle and their marriage?

Chocolate Beach is a fun mom-lit style novel. Bri's character is interesting. Although she may be difficult for Type-A personalities to relate to, one definitely appreciates her attitude and the way she is living her life. It seems strange that Bri doesn't come right out and talk to her husband about all the evidence she finds suggesting he's unhappy with their life. Much of that scenario just rang false, almost as if the author was creating a tension that wouldn't exist in real life. The lengths that Bri goes to in order to accommodate Douglas's perceived wants also seem unrealistic.

Looking past Chocolate Beach's shortcomings, the plot is engaging and readers will be able to relate to Bri's desire to improve her marriage and hopefully her life. The spiritual message is present but not overpowering and readers will appreciate the subtle approach. This is the author's fiction debut, and I hope we will see additional books from her in the future.

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