After devouring the fabulous ‘Swimming to the Moon’ by Jane Elson in one sitting, I was eager to get my hands on another of her books. Constantly on loan in my school library the chances of me getting to read one of Jane’s books from there was incredibly slim. So when our lovely local indie bookshop P & G Wells visited out school for a book fair in World Book Day week I decided to treat myself to a copy of ‘A Room Full of Chocolate’ and I am so glad that I did. I was planning to save it for the Easter holidays but the lure of this book was irresistible and I find myself grabbing it from my ‘to be read’ pile knowing that Jane’s exquisite storytelling was exactly what I needed on that day.
When Grace is sent to live with her estranged Granddad while her mum goes into hospital it turns her life upside down and not for the better. Forced to move school and leave her friends behind, the thought of being sent to the middle of nowhere with a Granddad she doesn’t know fills Grace with horror. Soon Grace misses her mum so much it hurts – not even chocolate makes her feel better. But when she befriends the effervescent Megan and her naughty pig Claude, a small ray of hope enters her life giving her the courage to face whatever may lie ahead.
This truly magical story about the power of friendship in the darkest of times is just beautiful. An empathetic and moving read, it explores the difficulties Grace, her Mum and her Granddad feel when fate deals them a horrible blow. Kept in the dark about her Mum’s illness Grace struggles to make sense of the world around her, confused and lonely, her pain at not knowing what is going on radiates through the pages. It is her friendship with Megan that saves her, giving her the strength and she needs to survive without her Mum . The bond between them is strengthened by the knowledge that their Mums were the very best of friends and brings comfort to Grace. Jane really gets to the heart of her characters allowing the readers to really feel their raw emotions and internal struggles, taking you along on this emotional journey with them. Wonderfully compelling you can’t help but find yourself caught up in Grace’s life, wishing her a happy ending despite the difficult circumstances. It made me laugh, cry and delight in equal measures, I can’t recommend it enough another brilliant novel from Jane Elson.