Welcome to the Wilted Rose Book Club Discussion #2 of Secrets of the Chocolate House by Paula Brackston! We are covering chapters 8-14. Use the “Leave a Replay” field to make a comment!


1- We finally see Samuel and Xanthe meeting again. Unfortunately, they don’t get to spend much time together because he is being held captive by Fairfax, who has been using Samuel’s expertise to renovate his abbey. Fairfax is eager to learn more about time spinners, and he sees Xanthe as his best opportunity to gain knowledge and master the gift. By proposing to her, he wants to create a sort of alliance between the two. If she refused, he would have Samuel executed by the end of his mandate. Xanthe reacts negatively to his peculiar request, and to escape from the situation, the girl engages in a fight with him. What would you do if you were in Xanthe’s place?

2- Back in her time, Xanthe confides in Harley and tells him about the time spinners and that she is one of them. Harley has shown a few times that he always has her back. How do you see this character?

3- Xanthe is starting to notice how Liam is a good-looking guy. Besides, he’s always there to help her. How does it feel to see the love story of Xanthe and Liam unfold?

4- Fairfax traveled a few times with an astrolabe that went missing the day of his execution after he used it . He wants Xanthe to help him find it. What do you think happened to the astrolabe?

5  After ignoring the fact that she left Samuel in more danger, she realizes that she needs to go back in time when she sees Samuel’s grave. How would you describe her behavior towards Samuel?


1- I laughed when I read that Fairfax was proposing to her. It is something that I didn’t expect. And the last expected reaction comes from Xanthe. She should have been more tactful. In doing so, she placed Samuel in an even more dangerous situation.

2- I like Harley. He and Samuel are the only characters I’ve always respected, kind and knowledgeable. I must say that from the start, he made me think of another character, Hagrid of Harry Potter. The two characters have similar traits. Harley is a big down-to-earth guy, and a loyal friend who’s always willing to help Xanthe when needed, as is Hagrid in Harry Potter. And he’s the first friend with whom she can share her secret. I can’t wait to see how their friendship is going to evolve!

3- I have to say that my hope was to see Xanthe and Samuel somehow united either in his past or in her present. The more I look at the story, the more I give up hope. There’s likewise a reason behind my preference: not much has been told about Liam, and there’s more information about Samuel, so the latter is definitely a character I am more acquainted with. I am sure, that once he’s more involved in Xanthe’s life, I will like him more. He’s a good guy, and this is the sole thing I feel like saying about him for now.

4- The astrolabe mysteriously disappeared after Fairfax used it to free himself from the execution. I feel like the device has its intelligence. And it is not to be used in cowardly situations. And generally speaking, from what I’ve seen, the items that carry the spinners from different periods in time have a purpose only if the possessor has noble intentions. They are instruments to use for the good of humanity and not for self gains. This is my opinion. I’m curious where the astrolabe ended up after saving Fairfax’s life.

5- Honestly, I don’t understand how Xanthe could go from wanting to help Samuel to ignore the danger he had to face after helping her. There’s a problem to solve and someone she cares for who needs her help, and what does she do? She steps into a denial state and goes back to her regular life. It’s nonsense. I mean, it’s human to deny a problem and avoid it, but when someone you care about is risking their life, you act, and you don’t wait for a miracle. I feel bad for Samuel and a lot!

So now it’s your turn, I’d want to hear from you and what you think of the second part of the Secrets of the Chocolate House!

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