In search of a setting for her new novel, writer Jessica Auerbach goes to work at a small-town chocolate shop. She quickly becomes engrossed in learning the secrets behind the shop’s delectable hand-rolled truffles, fresh fudge, raspberry jellies, and peanut butter cups. Those aren’t the only secrets she uncovers. As the shop’s employees mold, roll, and enrobe their creations, they spin aloud the stories of their lives—and reveal the dark secrets at the centers of their own hearts. As Auerbach hears their stories, her imagination begins to race. She weaves together the tales she hears into a murder mystery, crossing back and forth over the boundaries of fiction and nonfiction, unveiling in the process the secrets of her craft. Just as it is with the best chocolate assortments, every bite of this unusual memoir/mystery creation reveals something unexpected at the core.
Rosie is terrified. First her two-year-old has a series of life-threatening respiratory problems. Then, she’s accused of causing his illness and he’s placed in foster care. The more Rosie tries to prove her innocence, the more tightly she’s trapped by a system that won’t listen.
Sylvie swears she left her baby alone for only five minutes. Someone, she says, has entered her home and stolen the sleeping child. The police, and even her family, think she’s hiding something. Emotionally abandoned and accused on all sides, Sylvie begins to unravel a terrifying trail of deception.
During the turbulent decade of the sixties, Rachel and Jake come of age. Refusing to fight in Vietnam, Jake moves, alone, to an island off Toronto, Canada. How the two negotiate the real and imagined distance between them is the heart of this novel.