Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Swiss Chocolate Gets Another Five-Star Review on Amazon

I have a total of eight 5-star reviews on Amazon, which floors me, because I never expected to be taken so seriously by the few people who have read my debut novel. Thanks to all for your support!
This book kept me up all night to finish. It made me so sad at times but I truly enjoyed it and find myself thinking about some of the characters in the novel. For anyone who grew up with a drunken parent, many of the experiences will ring true and regretfully seem normal. I loved reading about the adventures in Europe and felt like I was there with him. Very compelling. I highly recommend it. -- March 1, 2011

Taking a chance on reading an unknown writer is always a little scary. You just have no real clue as to whether the book you have chosen to spend considerable time with is going to be worth it. In this case, this novel really comes through. . The young inexperienced Drew Smith falls head over heels for the beautiful and charming Alexandra.Unfortunately, school and family problems conspire to bring huge obstacles to this relationship.The story moves quickly and is enhanced by scenic travel,colorful characters and some good humor too.Swiss Chocolate is a delicious treat! Try it soon. -- June 21, 2011

Swiss Chocolate was an excellent book. I couldn't put it down. Fictionalized memoir of coming of age and growing up with old money. James has a true art for writing. I truly enjoyed his attention to detail, making me feel like I was with him throughout the story. -- May 24, 2011

Swiss Chocolate is the type of American novel that is difficult to put down. Once you start, you are in for a deeply moving adventure of love and coming of age.

James Weil is a master of character development and human relations. Drew Smith, a troubled though gifted and sincere lad from a semi-functional, suburban NJ upper-middle class home--tennis club, private schools, alcoholic mom and philandering engineer-businessman father. There is "old money" in this family. Alexandra is an Italian aristocratic beauty: graceful, independent and determined to maintain what is rightfully hers. Weil's depiction of their family lives, environments and social class is extraordinarily well done. Weil has a sociological gift. I especially enjoyed Drew's Aunt Tess, an artist and cosmopolitan. We all should have an Aunt Tess in our lives.

The action takes place in the Swiss Alps, suburban New Jersey, London, Oxford, Rome, Greece, Spain and Padua. Weil makes these locations come alive.

I identified with Drew's struggle to become a man and a writer, notwithstanding the betrayal of his callous father and the despair of his helpless mom. Alexandra deals with her loving father's early death and the resulting insanity and self-destructiveness of her mother. Her brother, at her mother's insistence, assumes all the power and wealth in the family. Alexandra is determined to make a new life, defying the social mores of her class and society. She will not be undercut by fate. The powerful interaction between Drew and his first love, Alexandra, makes the book riveting. A must read. -- March 24, 2011

'Swiss Chocolate' is a great book.....among the best I've read in awhile. Honest, straight-forward, exciting and tragic. The Author has a simple, yet elegant style. He is very open about Drew's life in a dysfunctional family and his love of Alexandra, that spans decades. He has a gift for expressing intricate details of the beautiful places he travels. You feel like you're right there with him on his journey. I highly recommend it. -- March 12, 2011

A brutally honest fictional memoir about a young man's coming-of-age and, years later, the same man in middle age coming to terms with his past. Compelling, exhilarating, tragic. Dealing with first loves, childhood, marriage and life's dreams, this is a book for everyone. I couldn't put it down. Highly recommend. -- March 2, 2011

The name of the novel has nothing to do with how to make or even eat chocolate. Was I bummed? No I was shocked. But being lucky enough to know the author, James Weil as a Facebook buddy, I should have expected it. Be forewarned, this is some intense and in your face material. What is between the covers of this novel- to the synopsis:

"Drew Smith, a teenager from a wealthy family in New Jersey, is sent to a Swiss Boarding School and falls in love with Alexandra Cavalletti, a beautiful, aristocratic girl from Rome. The innocence of their love affair turns disastrous when they are expelled after being caught in the middle of their young passion. Drew returns home to his dysfunctional family and Alexandra's life is affected when her mother goes insane and sells off the family fortune for a song. Despite their travails, Drew and Alexandra remain in contact and cross paths over the years. Drew never really let's go of her, even though she moves on."

During the summer I was fortunate enough to get a glimpse of James' writing when he shot me over a short story he had written, so I had an inkling as to what was to come. His writing is intense, heartfelt and brutally honest, laying it out there for all to see .For some that is hard to read let alone to write. I am going to say this is a daring move, exposing such deep feelings to so many people. The thing is, if you get to know the guy, you will see that he does that on a daily basis, he wears it all on his sleeve, good or bad, for everyone to consume, kudos. His novel is a mirror reflection of himself: raw, uncensored, and brutally honest. That is the reason for the five stars: total and complete honesty of self. I don't believe I have read it to this degree before. To believe what I've written, go to his Facebook page, become his friend, experience James Weil and then decide if I am not point on here. I am just trying to be honest. -- March 2, 2011

I tore through this contemporary mainstream novel which tells of a romance spanning nearly 40 years between a young, aristocratic girl from Rome, and an upper-class American from Rumson, New Jersey. Set against the backdrop of political and economic turmoil that so strongly affected ideals and lives from the early 1970's through the turn of the millennium, this book spans six countries telling an emotionally-poignant tale of the human struggle to find happiness and one's natural place amongst all the change. James Weil tells a story that reminds us of the fragility of beauty in life, and the importance of protecting perfection when we find it, and how so often, perfection is there, but our eyes and minds are too narrow to see. -- March 1, 2011

Pretty damn good for a first novel. Click here to buy Swiss Chocolate from Amazon!

Love to all!

James M. Weil

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