by Marissa Monteilh

January 2003
ISBN: 0-06-001148-3
Reviewer Graphic Button Avon Books
Trade Paperback

The Chocolate Ship is a romance of sorts, focusing on Mia and Miles as they approach a crossroads in their relationship. But the focus doesn't stay on Mia and Miles; this book also gives long looks into the lives of the people surrounding them - some of them you hope to read about in future works, some you don't. All of these side characters, however, are interesting in their own ways.

Marissa Monteilh has a definite way with characters. They are fully developed creations who readers will think of as real beings for the length of the story.

They have their own stories, their own lives, and, as they all enjoy the cruise they've taken aboard The Chocolate Ship, their adventures are laid out and the reader experiences the joy, pain, love and sex right along with them.

While Mia and Miles are figuring out where they want to go in their relationship and if they're ready, their friends and acquaintances are dealing with infidelity, finding love, and coming to terms with the realities they have created for themselves. There are some who disembark from the ship better off than when they boarded, there are those who are leaving worse off ... and then there are those who are no better or worse for the experience.

While I enjoyed the characters and the plot, I was less enamored by the author's tendency to drag out descriptions and the occasional awkward dialogue. Characters tended to talk as if they were authors describing an event instead of someone talking to a friend. Who actually says, "he made me scream in pleasurable shock"?

Also, instead of ending the book on a truly happy note, the author left room for the reader to wonder if Mia and Miles should actually be together. There's a tiny bit of room to doubt that maybe, just maybe, they don't have what it takes to make their relationship work.

Reviewed in December 2002 by JaToya.

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