Saturday, 28 February 2015

Review: Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery

"Summer has arrived in the Cornish town of Mount Polbearne and Polly Waterford couldn't be happier. Because Polly is in love: she's in love with the beautiful seaside town she calls home, she's in love with running the bakery on Beach Street, and she's in love with her boyfriend, Huckle. 

And yet there's something unsettling about the gentle summer breeze that's floating through town. Selina, recently widowed, hopes that moving to Mount Polbearne will ease her grief, but Polly has a secret that could destroy her friend's fragile recovery. Responsibilities that Huckle thought he'd left behind are back and Polly finds it hard to cope with his increasingly long periods of absence.

Polly sifts flour, kneads dough and bakes bread, but nothing can calm the storm she knows is coming: is Polly about to lose everything she loves?"

Well- what a fantastic, comforting read!

I'm a big fan of Jenny Colgan, I love the Cupcake Cafe series, and one of my all-time favourite books is The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris. So I was really excited for the publication of the second novel in the Little Beach Street Bakery series.

For those of you that haven't read the first in this series - Little Beach Street Bakery, I would really recommend you go out and buy that first to read it, just because of what a lovely read it is. However, if you have this in your grasp and can't wait to get stuck in (I know I couldn't) then don't worry, you don't really need to have read the first one to understand this book, Jenny very helpfully provides a couple of pages as an introduction to tell you what happened in the first book and introduce you to the characters.

The second in the series doesn't disappoint. It follows the adventures of Polly, who loves being a part of the local community and getting stuck in with her baking. She has just bought a lighthouse (to everyone else's dismay) and ha a pet puffin, Neil. Her bakery is going well and she finally seems to have approval of the locals. But just as everything seems to be looking up, she is faced with the prospect of loosing her fantastic bakery. 

My favourite thing about this novel is the fantastic range of characters. I LOVE Polly, she is a fantastic main character lead and is an empowering, interesting character. I love her gritty determination to succeed, and how personable she is - I really related to her and firmly believe that, if she was real, we would be great friends. The relationship between her and Huckle is brilliant, they seem so comfortably and easily in love and straight away you pick up on the strong connection they share. I liked reading about their 'easy' lifestyle - cooking together, lolling about on the sofa, and snuggling up in bed for an early night. It makes you smile, and happy that Polly is so content. 

The description of the beautiful seaside location is memorising and on a cold February morning I really felt like I had been transported to the small Island of Mount Polbearne, the sun shining on my face and the sea lapping against the coastline. Jenny's use of description always amazes me - she manages to take you on the journey with the characters and emerse you in the sights, smells and sounds of the place she is talking about.

As well as the delightful location is the food! I can't express how hungry this book made me! the description of Polly's baking - the bread, pizza bases, deserts - it all got a little much! A lovely touch is that Jenny has put some recipes in the back of the book so you can try and bake as well as Polly. I'm definitely going to be trying the cheese rolls!

I enjoyed this book from beginning to end - there's nothing I'd have changed. I enjoyed seeing the journey Polly goes through and how that effects her as a person. The last few chapters of the book are intense and have you skipping the pages as fast as you can to see what happens. I felt the ending wrapped up this novel well, but perhaps allowed room for another in the series - let's hope so! 

If you haven't got this book yet, then what are you waiting for? It's a lovely, scrumptious read that gives you the feel-good factor. Any novel that has food and a friendly puffin in it is one for me.

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