Summary: Sophie owns a chocolate shop where she sells Misfortune Cookies-dipped in bitter chocolate they contain messages she handwrites each day such as "Your car seems fine now, but just wait...it will eventually be a source of frustration and unexpected delay." What starts as a gimmick, turns into a surprise hit with customers. But when her ex-fiancée moves back to their small Washington town, he is surprised at how bitter and unhappy Sophie has become. He proposes a bet--she must place an ad in the paper that simply states "Wanted: Happiness. -- Center Street
A few years ago, I reviewed THE PAPER BAG CHRISTMAS by Kevin Alan Milne. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this heart-warming novel and how much it made me cry! So when I had the opportunity to read Mr. Milne's latest novel SWEET MISFORTUNE, I was curious to see how it would affect me.
I have to admit that SWEET MISFORTUNE didn't affect me quite like THE PAPER BAG CHRISTMAS; however, I don't think it was supposed to. I did enjoy the novel (and I especially love the cover -- which is just perfect!) I'm just saying that this novel was cute and had a terrific message, and I'm definitely glad that I read it. I'm just not sure that I have the best appreciation of this type of book or that I'm the best judge of its merits. All I can say is that I enjoyed SWEET MISFORTUNE for the few hours that I read it by the pool.
SWEET MISFORTUNE definitely kept my interest and I thought it was a sweet love story; however, I had some major issues with the main character Sophie. I understand that she had been hurt many times throughout her life and I do "get" her bitterness, but she was so over-the-top to me. I had a difficult time with her insecurities and constant need to be reassured. I realize that the author was trying to make a point with her extreme guilt, but to be honest, I had a hard time relating to her at all (and even feeling compassion towards her.) It wasn't until I started to see some cracks in her shell that I was able to actually "root" for her happiness.
Putting aside my early issues with Sophie, I did appreciate the basic premise of this story. I liked that there were some twists and turns for the characters and the reader, and I did enjoy seeing how the characters (and especially Sophie) evolved. I have to admit that I did figure out a few of the surprises (well really one pretty big one), but it didn't get in the way of my enjoyment of the story in the slightest.
I do think SWEET MISFORTUNE would be a great pick for some book clubs who enjoy this genre. The book is extremely clean and has some heart-warming messages -- I think I'll pass it along to my mother or my grandmother. Some of the themes groups might want to discuss include love, loss, grief, guilt, forgiveness, accountability, second chances, and the big one -- happiness. I also think the concept of coincidence plays a huge role in this story, and I'd be curious to hear what other readers think about the novel's ending.
If you are a fan of romance or stories with happy endings, then I recommend giving SWEET MISFORTUNE a try. There is some good character development along with some sweet messages that are sure to warn most people's hearts! Plus, it really is a great escape book to read this summer at the pool or beach!
Thanks to Goldberg McDuffie Communications for sending me a copy of this book.
Since Mr. Milne is a Penn Stater (and so am I), this review counts as part of my Back-to-School Feature. Make sure you check out all of posts I have written about fellow Penn State writers, and feel free to add your links about any posts related to your favorite school. In fact, if you feature a book related to any school that you attended, root for or even live near, it can count -- it's all about school spirit.