Title: Chocolate for Breakfast
Author: Martha Reynolds
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Coming of Age
Young Bernie (Bernadette) Maguire is in for the journey of a lifetime when her junior year abroad takes her to Fribourg, Switzerland. Ripe for love and adventure, she is seduced by a handsome Swiss banker, but is horrified when she discovers she's pregnant. Protected and befriended by those who help to keep her secret for as long as possible, this moving rite-of-passage tale will warm the heart as a young woman struggles with an all-too-familiar dilemma. Yet after an unexpected death and the discovery of her pregnancy by a classmate, Bernie’s life takes some unexpected turns that will take decades to resolve.
“I bet I’m the only one left in the world,” I said, turning over to lie on my back.
“Doubt that,” said Lisa. She reapplied baby oil to her already browned skin.
“Seriously, Lee, I don’t know one other person our age who is except me.” I looked down at my legs, covered with sunscreen. Damn this redhead skin! I couldn’t tan if I tried. Lisa is bronzed all over from a summer spent at the ocean, and I look like the belly of some fish that washed up on shore. But I’d suffered through enough blistering sunburns in my teens; I knew enough to use sunscreen. I’d even cover my legs with a towel when the sun was unforgiving.
Lisa was rolling her eyes behind her sunglasses, I could tell.
“Bernie, I really don’t think you’re alone in this. So you haven’t had a real boyfriend. What about Joe Jenkins? He’d do it with you if you wanted.” Lisa sat up, resting her arms on her bent knees, and stared out at the waves. She didn’t wait for my reaction. “There’s good surf today. We should go swimming.”
Lisa and I shared everything, from when we first got our periods to the boys we’d had crushes on, to what we hated about our parents. Lisa lost her virginity at her senior prom in high school, to a boy she’d been with since she was 16. But when she dumped him, she said she’d never put up with cheating. Ever. I only had Joe Jenkins, who was kind of a boyfriend, even though we’d never gone all the way. There was a guy in tenth grade who taught me how to French kiss, but he moved away two months later and I never heard from him again. Joe Jenkins and I did everything but. I just never wanted him to be “the one,” the first. The radio was playing “Two Tickets to Paradise.” I turned it up. “Joe? No, I didn’t want to with him. Not in the back seat, not in his dorm room on a bunk bed. Besides, he smelled like chicken soup. I want the first time to be magnificent. At the Marriott.” Lisa laughed. “Trust me, it’s not going to be magnificent, Bernie. It’s going to hurt. And you’ll probably bleed.” She sighed, as if she was tired of the conversation. “It’s not all it’s cracked up to be, you know. Guys are jerks.” Lisa had a boyfriend, Gregg, but she dumped him a couple of months ago after she found out he was cheating on her. She hadn’t dated since then. “Maybe I should get drunk and do it with a complete stranger.” I sat up, in the shade of the big green and white umbrella. We watched the people on the beach: a paunchy old man in baggy Madras plaid trunks; two middle-aged women wearing white gauzy cotton cover-ups; a chubby little girl in a pink bikini. “Hey, there’s Timmy Lyon. Who’s that with him?” Lisa squinted behind her sunglasses. Timmy was a college classmate. He was over six feet tall and solid. His white-blond hair was long and shaggy down his neck. He wore black bathing trunks and no shirt, and he was tanned. Blond hair glinted on his chest. He held the hand of a very pretty girl. I’d never seen him without a girlfriend. “He’s coming this way,” I said, throwing a towel over my legs.
What makes your featured book a must-read?
For every young woman who remembers her first love, her first time, this book is a must-read. Consequences result from adult actions, and whether you’re 20, 30, 40 years past your first love, you’ll nod your head as you remember those heady days.
Enter to win an e-book bundle of all 46 books featured in the Book Series Starter Bookish Event:
Runs January 12 – January 21, 2021.
Winner will be drawn on January 22, 2021.
Martha Reynolds was born and raised in Rhode Island, and spent a year of college in Switzerland, the memories of which inspired her debut novel, Chocolate for Breakfast, and its sequels, Chocolate Fondue and Bittersweet Chocolate. She is the author of nine novels, including the Amazon #1 bestsellers Chocolate for Breakfast and Bits of Broken Glass. Her novel Villa del Sol was awarded the 2018 Book Prize in Literary Fiction by the Independent Publishers of New England. Her writing has appeared in Magnificat magazine and her very short poem was read by journalist Connie Schultz during NPR's Tell Me More poetry challenge.
Social Media Links: