HH Com 664

Overachiever Tara Devereaux has reached almost all of her goals by age 29 ; a Harvard degree, good job as a chemist, Ph.D. in the works, and handsome attorney husband. The remaining crowning achievement is her recent pregnancy. On her 30th birthday she returns home early from work, to have a nap before her party. Instead she finds her husband in bed with her best friend. Reeling from the subsequent loss of her marriage, her baby, her best friend and her job she finds solace in chocolate.

At odds with her new empty life she hopes to reinvent herself as a world class chocolatier. Her high maintenance mom Mia has other plans. Mia, (just Mia thank-you) a widowed 70's super model and breeder of champion Jack Russell terriers offers to take Tara on a 'feel better' Caribbean Christmas cruise on the QM2. Tara envisions a Poseidon Adventure at best, Titanic at worst but agrees to go. The polar opposite pair have separate agendas. Tara wants some badly needed mother daughter bonding. Mia wants to Tara to give up her chocolate dreams and complete her Ph.D. The last thing either expects to find on board is romance.

Between exotic ports of call and high seas hi jinks, Tara and Mia both find love. Mia with a fellow New Yorker and Tara with the ship's guest celebrity chef, a French chocolatier. Despite bittersweet ups and downs both Tara and Mia discover more about love and themselves than they could have ever dreamed of.

The juxtaposition of losing her marriage, baby, job and best friend and "solace in chocolate" makes my head snap like a turtle looking at a soup tureen. The intensity of the two doesn't match. "Solace is chocolate" is a jokey kind of thing; the other isn't.

You've got stock characters here as well. They may not be that, but you need to give them some dimension by giving them some emotioanl resonance.

Also, the story starts with the cruise, not the backstory of betrayal and chocolate.

Start over.


Sharyn Ekbergh said...

And isn't she still pregnant or did I miss something? That's kind of a romance buster.

susan said...

zuleme, she lost the baby with the marriage, her best friend and her job.

It's too cute to say that chocolate helps heal at this point.

Anonymous said...

Been there done that, and chocolate, while better than Prozac for me, was no substitute for pitching the offending spouse's goods into the street (wait for a good rainy day) and calling the so-called best friend a number of appropriate gutter names, followed by changing the locks and getting some good professional therapy.

The preggers problem is over the top for me. She's stuck carrying the child of a jerk? That's just too much.

I'd have jumped at the chance for a cruise.

JPD said...

Writer, I'm sorry, but I stopped reading as soon as I saw the word "overachiever" describing your Protag.

I'm tired of them, because I read "overachiever" to mean someone in a job that's way beyond their abilities, their Harvard degree be damned.

It's my own pet-peeve in life, perhaps... JPD

Dave Fragments said...

I have to tell y'all a secret - - A Bachelors or Masters degree in Chemistry qualifies you to wash bottles and be a lab flunky.
A chemist requires a PhD to get anywhere in the field. Every chemist goes to night school to get his PhD so that he can get ahead. Every last bloomin' one of them.

On the other hand, Bachelors degrees for the four engineerings (chemical, electrical, civil and mechanical) get you great jobs. And PhD'S in engineering get you nowhere but to a a university (teaching).

roach said...

The way I read this hook the MC miscarries after, what, catching her husband cheating on her? Perhaps emotional trauma could have such results, but that's reaching into melodrama territory. And I agree with Miss Snark on the disconnect between a miscarriage and chocolate healing.

Anonymous said...

How/why does she lose the baby?

Anonymous said...

Actually, 29 is kind of late for an "overachiever" to be getting her Ph.D.

MWT said...

How/why does she lose the job? Just the sudden shock of stress that causes her to no longer be able to work?