Review of “Sweet Misfortune” by Kevin Alan Milne

Sophie Jones spends her life tethered to the past by a horrible accident that happened twenty years ago on her ninth birthday. In a multi-vehicle collision, her parents and grandmother were killed, along with another driver. She believes she was the cause of the accident, by having distracting her father.

Sophie went through several foster homes before ending up in a good situation with Ellen, a warm, African American woman who works in police dispatch and who comforted Sophie the night of the accident. Her half-Latina foster sister, Evi, is now her best friend.

Sophie has no man in her life, since her former fiancé, Garrett Black, broke up with her just two weeks before their wedding without explaining why. This most recent disaster almost a year ago was ironically good for her business, however. At her confectionary, Chocolat’ de Soph, she began making and selling fortune cookies dipped in bittersweet chocolate and filled with handwritten messages that provide “a dose of reality.” (Examples: “Your job seems secure now, but have patience. Nothing lasts forever!” or “Is It love or pity? Try not to dwell on it.”) Called “misfortune cookies,” they are wildly popular.

Garrett comes into the shop on Sophie’s birthday, bringing flowers, and wanting to talk to her and tell her what happened last year and why he left. She agrees on one condition. If he places a want ad in the paper for happiness, and gets one hundred people to respond “with something intelligent,” she will agree to meet with him. And so Garrett places the ad: “Wanted: Happiness. Please help me find what I’ve lost. Lasting happiness only, please. Nothing that fleets.

Evaluation: This story is somewhat reminiscent of “Miracle on 34th Street” mixed in with “An Affair to Remember” and “Sleepless in Seattle.” The author, who wrote The Paper Bag Christmas (which I thought was excellent) writes a little like Cecelia Ahern. It’s a sweet book, and notably includes an appealing character with Down’s Syndrome, a terrific addition. I feel confident of being pleased with anything this author creates.

Rating: 3.5/5

Published by Center Street, 2010

Valentine's Gift to the Author from His Wife (from his blog)

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10 Responses to Review of “Sweet Misfortune” by Kevin Alan Milne

  1. Julie P. says:

    I want to read this one! The author is a Penn State graduate. I’m glad you enjoyed it — I liked The Paper Bag Christmas.

  2. Sandy says:

    So not too terribly deep, and satisfying? Nothing bad I can say about Miracle on 34th Street, so I might as well add this one to my list of books to grab if the mood hits me!

  3. Janel says:

    I think I would like this one. I love the Misfortune Cookies!

  4. Margot says:

    This book sounds like it’s filled with interesting characters, ones I’d like to know. I like the idea of misfortune cookies. I’d love to write some of those.

  5. Nymeth says:

    The only one of those I’ve watched is Miracle on 34th Street, so I can’t quite imagine the mixture. Still, it does sound like a sweet and satisfying book.

    PS: Guess what I got in the mail today! You’re seriously one of the nicest people ever 😀

  6. softdrink says:

    I’ve gotten a misfortune cookie! I have the fortune taped up by my computer…”The stains from blood, violently spilled, never can be removed.” Believe it or not, I got the cookie when I was on a jury for an attempted murder trial. We were deliberating and had to be escorted to lunch by the bailiff. He was not amused by my fortune.

    Too bad the fortune wasn’t in that jumbo chocolate cookie!

  7. Staci says:

    I remember loving the cover of this one. Glad to know that it is a good read. I’ve never received a “misfortune” cookie!

  8. Jenners says:

    This sounds really cute … and how much do I want to eat that cookie on the cover!!! Or get the one from the author’s blog (I’d just eat the chocolate part.) I really like the “misfortune” part … I think all fortune cookies should be so realistic.

  9. I’ve never heard of misfortune cookies. I must be living under a rock! Sounds like a charming book. I’ll keep it in mind.

    –Anna

  10. Michele says:

    thank you (you know why!)!!!!

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