The Chocolatier’s Wife, by Cindy Lynn Speer
Beautifully written, interesting magic, engaging and likeable characters (except for the ones you love to hate! But even they have multiple dimensions, and aren’t just cardboard cutouts). The world is also interesting, a setting reminiscent of late 18th/early 19th century Europe. I always appreciate fantasy that isn’t set in the standard pseudo-medieval setting. The mystery is well-plotted and kept me guessing. My only quibble is that some of the tensions between Tasmin and William, such as Tasmin’s jealousy, seem contrived, as though they were put in just to keep the relationship from seeming too “perfect”. It isn’t necessary; the relationship between William and Tasmin is charming and quirky enough without those elements, and they don’t really fit the characters and story.
The Chocolatier’s Wife is sweet romance, with some sexual references but no on-screen sex.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Chocolatier’s Wife, and highly recommend it for those who like romance in their fantasy, or fantasy in their romance, along with an intriguing mystery.