Books & Literature

Book Review: The Chocolate Tin, by Fiona McIntosh

A woman born into a wealthy family with an obligation to marry well dreams of independence, with her ultimate dream to work in the chocolate industry.

Set from just before the end of World War II in war-time England, The Chocolate Tin takes us on a journey from the battlefields of World War II to the English town of York, home to Rowntree’s and many other chocolatiers.

Alexandra Frobisher is born into a wealthy family and, as such, has an obligation to marry well and provide heirs, although she dreams of independence and her ultimate dream is to work in the chocolate industry.

As desperately as she desires to work in the factory and learn from the bottom up, her family, and mother in particular, are horrified that a genteel lady could work, let alone in a factory, and so Alexandra walks a tightrope between her dreams and her family’s expectations.

When Matthew Britten-Jones appears, he seems like a godsend – funny, smart and he believes that a modern woman should be allowed to work and be independent. Alexandra, while relieved to find a man who can be her equal, still has a nagging feeling that she doesn’t have the full story from Matthew. There should be more, but then, all she wants to do is work, so what could go wrong?

This is the ninth of Fiona McIntosh’s historical romance/adventure books, although she has also written a number of fantasy books as well as crime, non-fiction and children’s books. Born in England, she now calls South Australia her home, so we may now be able to claim her as one of our own. According to her website, Fiona “happily considers eating fine chocolate and drinking only excellent coffee as her hobbies”, so it may be that her hobbies can be classed as research for this novel.

An easy read, in some ways what happens to Alexandra is predictable, though it must be remembered that she is young and naïve, and as such does not have the maturity or experience to ask the right questions or guess what might happen.

The Chocolate Tin is perfect for those lazy summer days and, being based around chocolate, you can’t help but lounge around eating chocolate and reading it!

Reviewed by Michelle Baylis

Rating out of 10:  6

Distributed by:  Penguin Random House Australia
Release Date: October 2016 (trade paperback and ebook), April 2017 (paperback)
RRP:  $32.99 trade paperback, $9.99 ebook, $22.99 paperback

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