THE BOOKS

The Chocolate Shop

ISBN-13-9780985340827

Laura Beckman's comfortable suburban life would be perfect but for her daughter.  Four years earlier, Brooke abandoned her husband and her own young daughter to run off with a musician.  Now back home with her tail between her legs, Brooke's self-loathing boils over int he face of her mother's unrelenting condemnation.

Laura's world is turned upside down after witnessing the long, painful death of her husband.  In the search for a better version of herself, she creates a service code-named The Chocolate Shop, that grants terminally ill patients one last wish.  If the patient is in extreme pain, meets stringent criteria, and so desires, the Shop also lovingly helps them slip away to a peaceful death.  Suddenly Laura's relationship with her daughter flips as Brooke becomes the one doing the condemning.  "I may have made many mistakes in my life but there's one thing I can say.  I never murdered anybody."

As Laura struggles with the ethical, moral and legal dimensions of what she's doing, she worries that her relationship with her daughter will never be repaired, and wonders whether she can ever find love again.  She meets Arlo Massey -- brash, flamboyant, someone who couldn't care less about what other people think -- the total opposite of always appropriate Laura Beckman.

Arlo disrupts Laura's already tumultuous life.  She finds him despicable.

And yet . . . 

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