New Free Chocolate Sex

Keith Lowe, Author Atria Books $23 (336p) ISBN 978-0-7434-8209-7
Lowe dips into the world of chocolate production in his second novel (after 2001's Tunnel Vision), a palatable romance with a titillating title and a political message. Journalist Samantha Blackwood has just returned from Africa, where she documented the plight of exploited child workers on cocoa plantations. Matt Dyson is the hotshot marketing director at the chocolate behemoth Trundel & Barr. In the thick of New York City's chocolate show, where pampered children gorge on the sweet stuff, Samantha laments the cruel irony of it alland first locks eyes with Matt, who's nursing a few wounds himself and knows nothing of his company's shady labor practices. Comical clashes and romantic tension build as Samantha presses Matt into an interview, putting his unflappable cool to the test. When a worker strike summons each one to the company's chocolate factory in Baltimore, the duo end up locked inside for the weekend. Amid the vats of chocolate, enough sparks fly to trigger a meltdown, and a bitter situation turns decidedly sweeterfor the couple, if not for the reader. A wellmeaning and impassioned attempt to enlighten us about the machinations of marketers and the dark provenance of our chocolate treats (child slaves in the Cote d'Ivoire are bought for the equivalent of $15or ""the price of about twentyfive chocolate bars"") dissolves into a love story simultaneously conventional and unbelievable. Agent, Simon Trewin.
Reviewed on: 01/31/2005
Release date: 02/01/2005
Paperback - 416 pages - 978-0-09-941669-2
Paperback - 328 pages - 978-0-7434-8210-3
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-4165-0661-4
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