Determined to overcome a lifetime of invisibility and low self-esteem, Eleanor Finch snags an HR-position at a posh travel agency. But it’s not just any agency. It’s owned by siblings she’s known since childhood… but they’re not friends. The sister, Clementine Westwood, in true mean-girl fashion, was her tormentor, and the brother, Barnaby, her lifelong crush who only spoke to her in school as part of bets from his mates.
Now, a decade out of school, with a sleek, fresh look and a new name—courtesy of her ex-husband—Ellie Sanchez prepares to stun her former classmates, with her endgame being becoming BFFs with Clementine, and Barnaby’s wife.
However, her plans fall flat when neither sibling appears to recognize her.
Undaunted, Ellie is a virtuoso in her new position, and even establishes a bond with the oldest Westwood sibling, Brooke.
When the company’s working capital begins coming up short, Ellie takes charge and demands the siblings accompany her on a team-building retreat. Her plans for revenge and recompense take a turn for the worse, due in part to a box of decadent… and hexed chocolates, a fire, and her own arrogance.
Though a tad bit slow in spots, I enjoyed Ellie’s journey to self-realization. However, for me, it wasn’t as much a romantic comedy, but more black comedy/dark humor because while Ellie’s goal is marriage, the read is romance lite. But there are plenty of laugh-out-loud and giggle moments, and the snark and dry wit are off the charts. Ellie’s internal thoughts have some great one-liners, and her exploration of her relationship with her parents, especially her mom, through flashbacks help explain Ellie’s current personality.
In the end, as Ellie’s scheme spirals out of control, she has to decide what’s more important… who she is, who she wants to be, or who she’s pretending to be?
The Chocolate Box is an enjoyable read I do recommend.
Ellie Sanchez wants revenge. Spurned during her school days at prestigious Monty’s academy when she was plain Eleanor Finch, and played second fiddle to her idol, Barnaby Westwood, and his show-off sister, Clementine, Ellie will stop at nothing to turn the tables now she’s all grown up. The siblings and their snubbing have been the catalyst for everything that’s gone wrong in her life, from parental neglect to her divorce.
When the Westwood travel merchandise company advertises for a new HR manager, Ellie decides her unique combo of karma and Law of Attraction has finally come good. And she’ll be bagging herself a cherry-on-the-cake, second, and richer, husband in the process – once Barnaby sees how much she’s changed, anyway.
Fast forward two years and he STILL doesn’t recognise her!
Fast forward two years and the company is in a financial mess.
Last Chance Saloon-style, Ellie coerces the siblings and their older sister, Brooke (the perpetual spanner in her works) to a rustic gîte in Normandy for a spot of team-building… over a very ‘special’ box of artisan chocolates.
Cue ALL the fireworks in the cocoa bean version of Jumanji…