The Title Caught my Eyes: The Cocoa Conspiracy by Adrea Penrose

 December 20, 2011

aka Cara Elliott aka Andrea Pickens aka Andrea DaRif

Sometimes a gimmick is just a gimmick.

The Cocoa Conspiracy by Andrea Penrose aka Cara Elliott aka Andrea Pickens aka Andrea DaRif.  This is the second book I chose because of the title and again it is a mystery.  Not just any mystery, but a Napoleon-is-on-Elba conspiracy mystery.  Yes, fellow readers that pesky Napoleon is at it a again.  That guy never quits!  And, our intrepid hero Sandro (Saybrook) and our gutsy heroine (Lady Arianna) are out to solve the puzzle.  It's a race against time, for you see they have a encryption to decipher, a traitor to catch, an anarchist to stop and victims to find.  So, there is a lot there...but you know what I liked the best?  It was the scene in which Sandro finally confesses his love for his wife.  It is one of the most touching "I love you" pronouncements I've read in a long time - Andrea Penrose/Pickens romance novel roots bloomed through in this lovely scene.

Now, back to the mystery part of the book.  I enjoyed the sleuthing couple; their interaction is one of the best things about the book.  I found the mystery to be a little weak and I knew who the villain was from the very beginning, although who the bad guy leader is I don't have a clue.  I'll have to wait for the next in the series to find out.  You see, even though I thought the mystery wasn't very strong, enough of my interest in the husband and wife team of Sandro and Arianna was piqued to keep me interested.

I do have to confess that I found the chocolate recipes at the beginning of each chapter to be a bit of a distraction.  Not that I don't like chocolate.  It's just that they are contemporary recipes but they are called Lady Arianna's Chocolate notebook and she is an 1800's sort of person.  I would have enjoyed the flow of the story more if the recipes had been written in the language of the time.  Of course, I wouldn't have been able to understand the measurements, but the conversion could have been handled in an epilogue or an author "oh by the way."  And by the way, I don't like coconut!

Overall, the story is entertaining, nothing scary/creepy and I will be picking up the next in the series.

Time/Place: Regency England/Europe
Sensuality Rating:  Kiss

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