Author: Julie Caplin (a.k.a. Jules Wake)
Food technician Mina has always believed that chocolate will solve everything – and it’s just what she needs when her latest relationship mishap goes viral!
So with her bags packed and a new determination to sort her life out, Minna decides to drown her sorrows with the best hot chocolate in the world at her godmother’s cosy Swiss chalet. Chocolate: yes. Romance: no. Until she has a run in on an Alpine train with a mysterious but oh-so-gorgeous stranger…
This book truly lives up to its title (The Little Swiss Ski Chalet) and its series (Romantic Escapes) as the cozy ski chalet in Switzerland serves as the ideal backdrop and setting for the story while you as the reader feel like you’re on holiday/vacation as you read through this sugary sweet romantic tale. As a side note, even though this is the seventh novel in the series, it can serve as a standalone novel. It was fantastic to discover that this author (Julie Caplin) also writes under the name Jules Wake as I recently read The Spark, which I greatly enjoyed. It was interesting as even though the two are written by the same person, the styles were distinct yet familiar.
We open with our main character, Mina’s life in Manchester, UK. She works in as a food chemist and recipe developer for a packaged food brand, but her creativity gets stifled by the company’s desire to not branch out from the classics too far. She lives the seemingly ideal home life as she is the “hostess with the mostest” as the theme party queen among her group of friends as she hosts them in her small apartment. Simon is also the perfect guy in her life as they’ve previously discussed moving in together, marriage, and kids. Not only is he a great boyfriend, but he also has been Mina’s most successful relationship, and longest lasting, to date. During Mina’s latest theme party, a Mexican theme night, her proposal to Simon goes awry and maybe this isn’t the right path for her anymore due to Simon not being exactly who she thought he was.
Given the events in Manchester, Mina uses her time off to finally visit her godmother in Reckington, Switzerland at her newer ski chalet. She goes into this trip not expecting much, but you never know what can happen when you take a chance and have a new adventure. This small alpine village located in the Swiss Alps (perfect skiing and hiking country) serves as Mina’s temporary new home as she tries to put her life back together and decide where she wants to go from here. Through her journey, she meets a great cast of characters that were all well-written and each have their own backstory and play their parts in the story. Each character was great and there wasn’t one that I didn’t dislike. There isn’t a huge amount of depth for most of the characters, but you don’t expect them to in this type of story. Our main newer love interest does get his own backstory and character growth along with our main girl Mina getting her own character growth too which gave this story just enough complexity while still being a light-hearted escape read.
Switzerland is truly a standout location for this novel as it is written as a fairy tale type landscape. I’ve been lucky enough to have visited twice and I can never get over how magical it seems and it just makes you content as you stare out into the landscape. I found the love story with chocolate to be extremely relatable as it is true that it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t like chocolate (unfortunately I’m one of them – I don’t dislike it, but I just prefer fruit type products more and I know I’m a rarity). Luke played an excellent guide when it came to teaching Mina about outdoor sports and it made me want to go immediately to the mountains as I wanted to try cross-country skiing! I also need to get back over to this country apparently as I never knew there was a chocolate and cheese train that I am now anxious to try!
Overall, this novel fed the foodie in me and gave fuel to my wanderlust tendencies. It served its purpose as a sweet romantic novel and also gave a nice easy read. As long as you go into it fully expecting some improbable (not impossible though) events and some cheesy moments, then it’s hard to find faults. There’s always more that I wish every novel could have done, but with this one I found it to be a heart-warming escape read that gave the “adopted” family away from blood related family vibes, community feelings, learning about yourself no matter your age, and living your dreams to do what makes you happy and not what others always expect of you while having a nice support system. I fully plan to go back and read the first six in the series and will now anxiously wait for the eighth, where we visit Mina’s sister Hannah in Ireland to be released!
**Thank you to Netgalley and Harper Collins UK, OneMore Chapter for my ARC to read. I enjoyed the opportunity to read this novel and opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**