When I saw the cover of this book , I knew I just had to read it as it sounded and looked very appealing and it eventually proved to be correct. To me, the novel Bittersweet Surrender started off a bit slow with the introduction of main character Carly who owned a Chocolate Spa along with workers Amber and financial accounts Scott. We read the banter between Carly and Scott and learnt that Scott's wife Ivy had recently passed away and that Carly's Stepmother Magnolia who has just moved in with Carly after her dad's death was also Ivy's biological mother making Carly and Ivy step-sisters in a sense. The novel starts with Carly in a bit of financial strife , family problems and most importantly her weight and the fact that old crush Jake - who Carly has been emailing is moving back to town and Carly wants to look perfect for him.
The first half of the novel to me was very light but the second half - reader's embrace yourselves as it hits an emotional high when we discover that the people we thought we really knew and cared about aren't actually what we thought and that we may grow up with them but do we really know the truth about people behind closed doors. The whole cast of Bittersweet Surrender are about to recieve a domino effect of wake-up calls and reality checks which in the final hour , the deciding factor will be - Is God's love and Christian Love strong enough to overcome the most horrible hurts and anger towards those who you trust?
Bittersweet Surrender is a novel that definitely will not bore you and a piece that made me smile was that a wee while ago I reviewed on the site a book called "Smitten" in which 4 authors had put together and DiAnn Hunt was one of them , the town "Smitten" makes a guest appeareance.
Carly Westlake is an owner of a spa, famous for their chocolate treatment. (hmmmm... I wanted to go to spa, badly! :D)
So, Carly is a cancer survivor. She's divorced. Her husband dumped her when she was struggeling with cancer. BAD GUY! :(
Her spa is quite famous, but the business itself isn't that good. There seems to be something wrong with the finance or the way the spa was run. Carly best friend, Scott, helped her managing the tax and financial admins. Scott's wife was Carly's best friend, and helped her managing the spa's stock purchase. She passed away few months back, but Scott remained to help Carly on the Spa. Scott has just found the reason why her spa wasn't doing well, but he kept that as a secret, because it might broken Carly's heart. He was conflicted, and silently promise to keep by Carly's side.
On the other hand, Carly's high school crush, Jake, is back in the hood! And with his daughter! Romance alert!!
The story was a bit dissapointing for me. Maybe because I can't relate to her, at all.
It was good, but not that good.
Later through this book, we'll see how Carly learned some secrets of her family and friends, remembered the past, and yet keep on moving.
You'll have to be patient though, as the plot moves slowly. I think i won't buy this book if i saw it on the store. Truthfully, I read it till the end, just because I hate to not finishing a book.
I got this e-book from Booksneeze and Thomas Nelson publishing. This review is my own opinion. No one forced me to say good things, or bad things about this book. :)
Bittersweet by Diann Hunt summarized by Thomas Nelson: "Carly Westlake is living the dream. She spends her days at a spa (okay, so she owns the place), she's dating a hunk, and she's surrounded by chocolateÃ¢â¬âmilk chocolate, her favoriteÃ¢â¬âthat she uses for the chocolate facials that made her spa famous. But when long buried secrets threaten Carley's business and her friendship with business-partner Tom, she fights like crazy to keep the dreamÃ¢â¬âand the illusionsÃ¢â¬âafloat. It takes a miracle of grace to get Carley to finally make that bittersweet surrender to love and real life."
I thoroughly enjoy chic lit! This is a typical Christian romance. I read Smitten just before this and thoroughly enjoyed it! The story is easy to read. My only drawback is the length; it is over 500 pages. However, the length did allow for the full development of the characters. The beginning was a little slow, but I got into the story once her business partner, Tom, got out of the picture. My favorite character was Scott, the devoted friend and accountant to her business. My least favorite character was Jake, the "hunk" from the description above; he's a shallow jerk!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÃÂ®.com <http://BookSneezeÃÂ®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255
When I saw the cover of this book, I knew I wanted to read it. There are chocolate, candles and a bath towel, some of my favorite things! I love long hot baths, scented candles and chocolate. I read the description of the book and was definitely hooked! It reads: Carly Westlake is living the dream. She spends her days at a spa (okay, so she owns the place), she's dating a hunk, and she's surrounded by chocolateÃ¢â¬âmilk chocolate, her favoriteÃ¢â¬âthat she uses for the chocolate facials that made her spa famous. But when long buried secrets threaten Carley's business and her friendship with business-partner Tom, she fights like crazy to keep the dreamÃ¢â¬âand the illusionsÃ¢â¬âafloat. It takes a miracle of grace to get Carley to finally make that bittersweet surrender to love and real life. Growing up with a family that was all about secrets, I was really curious to see how the book turned out! You can guess what will end up happening in the book, but it's a great story. I loved every minute of reading it and was honestly sad to see it end! Disclosure of Material Connection: I received an electronic copy of this book free from Thomas Nelson as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Carly Westlake's life certainly wasn't what she had thought it would be. She had lost a breast to cancer. She had lost her husband too, to a younger woman with a perfect chest. She had also lost her closest friend, Ivy - died in an automobile crash.
Carly is making a go of it as the owner of a spa, recently specializing in chocolate treatments. Ivy had been her partner, but now Carly was on her own. She is a woman struggling with her own image, having been shunned by the man she loved.
She begins an email relationship with an old flame from high school But when he returns to their home town, something is off.
Carly's life gets more complex when her stepmother moves in. Then she alienates her brother, a gambling addict. But her friend, Scott, is always there for their morning run. He;s always there to listen to her.
Bit by bit we learn the secrets in Ivy's life. Slowly we see the attraction build between Carly and Scott. But Scott has his secrets too.
At first I thought this was a typical chick lit novel. The chocolate spa and Carly's crush on her old high school flame seemed so frivolous. But as the novel unfolded, there are serious issues that are addressed. As secrets come to light, many of the characters must face their own weaknesses and seek forgiveness. And Carly must learn to find her worth from God and not how she appears to other people.
All in all, this is a pretty serious novel after the light beginning. There is a reading group guide at the back so this would make a good choice for reading groups who enjoy light Christian romance.
I received an egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.