“New York Times bestselling author Paula Brackston’s The Little Shop of Found Things was called “a page-turner that will no doubt leave readers eager for future series installments” (Publishers Weekly). Now, Brackston returns to the Found Things series with its sequel, Secrets of the Chocolate House.
After her adventures in the seventeenth century, Xanthe does her best to settle back into the rhythm of life in Marlborough. She tells herself she must forget about Samuel and leave him in the past where he belongs. With the help of her new friends, she does her best to move on, focusing instead on the success of her and Flora’s antique shop.
But there are still things waiting to be found, still injustices needing to be put right, still voices whispering to Xanthe from long ago about secrets wanting to be shared.
While looking for new stock for the shop, Xanthe hears the song of a copper chocolate pot. Soon after, she has an upsetting vision of Samuel in great danger, compelling her to make another journey to the past.
This time she’ll meet her most dangerous adversary. This time her ability to travel to the past will be tested. This time she will discover her true destiny. Will that destiny allow her to return home? And will she be able to save Samuel when his own fate seems to be sealed?” – Amazon
Secrets of the Chocolate House is the second book in the Found Things series, and it continues with Xanthe learning even more about her powers as a Spinner (of Time) and finding a couple of people she can talk to about her time traveling ability. The book picks up right after the events of book one, The Little Shop of Found Things.
The way Paula Brackston incorporates the history, customs, and atmosphere of 17th century English villages is spectacular. You can tell she’s spent a lot of time researching the era. Brackston intertwines Historical Fiction and Fantasy seamlessly. And all of the characters from the first book continue to grow. The new characters that are introduced in Secrets of the Chocolate House are very well written with lots of details and back stories. Brackston really shines in her ability to write characters that you are sympathetic to and want to continue to get to know.
I did get a bit exasperated with Xanthe. She would go gung ho into situations and then right when something major would happen (like a knife fight between a man she cared about and the main villain) she would go to a different time worrying about the situation but not hurrying back to do anything to help. I think if Xanthe’s mom doesn’t find out about her time traveling in the next book, this could be a deal breaker for me continuing this series. And there does seem like there are plans for more books in the Found Things series since this book leaves off on a cliffhanger!
If you are into the science of time travel, this book might not be for you since you have to suspend your imagination a lot, and Xanthe is constantly changing things with no regard as to how it might affect the future. Brackson explains how this is possible in the first book, but the reader still must really suspend belief. But since this is an Historical Fantasy novel, I would think you would be willing to do this going in. And if you enjoy The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon or Brackston’s other books, you will definitely want to give the Found Things series a try.
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