A review of Cocoa Almond Darling by Jeffra Hays

Reviewed by Ginger Robinson

Cocoa Almond Darling
by Jeffra Hays
Amazon Digital Services (Kindle format)

Pain can be a very disabling emotion. It was this way for Milly of Cocoa Almond Darling. Milly had no idea when she came to town trying to get away from her old life and searching to learn the trade of a seamstress what impact it would have on her life.

On her journey she met Master and learned about cocoa almonds. Master was her mentor, her teacher and ultimately her lover. She fell in love with him and he with her yet both made mistakes that kept them apart.

Mistake number 1 was that Master was married. How could Milly ever trust that he could truly be her own? There is nothing simple about the plot of this book. Master is not just simply married; he is devoted. He is the devoted husband of a sickly woman. The mistakes and miscommunications compound since neither Master nor Milly can boast great communication skills. If something is wrong they don’t really talk and there are usually hurt feelings to boot.

Cocoa Almond Darling is the tale of two lovers who have a hard time trusting each other and their own feelings. As the book begins Hays already explains how Milly is practically crippled by a migraine. She has spent years not attending functions with her daughter and her daughter’s father, Master. Feelings were hurt years ago and never mended now Milly is found to be physically and mentally shut down. What began as an angry protest has ended in not being able to leave home even if she wants to. Milly may not recognize it as heartache but the deeper the book’s explanation gets – it is heartbreak.

Hays pulls no punches in telling this tender love story with intense emotion. The characters can be frustrating and you’ll find yourself wanting to shake them. Master is in just as torn and confused a state as Milly and you want to slap him at times. It is a very well written book and although it ended absolutely perfectly, I hated to see it end.

Both Milly and Master are stubborn and the daughter they share is so much of them and their characteristics. Over time she has learned to treat her mother more delicately than she had in the past but she has a strong part in hurting her mother’s heart. Each day, week, month and year Milly withdraws into herself it becomes so much harder for her come back out. She’s like a turtle in the fact that she is deep within her shell.

Many times a reader you can see Master should have understood how Milly felt more than he did but the writer did such a phenomenal job is winding the emotions that you understand how complicated this all is. Jeffra Hays left no stone unturned in Cocoa Almond Darling. The emotions are raw. The pain is scathing and hot and although it isn’t your pain you feel at times as though you just can’t bear it any longer. The love, the romance was sweet like the perfect sunshiny day. The stubbornness can be learned from and the book itself is great.

About the reviewer: Ginger Robinson writes and lives in Texas with her husband and children. She loves to read, write and be published.