Monday, 20 April 2015

Book Review: Game of Scones by Samantha Tonge

A deliciously summery read you won't want to miss!

"A story of icing and flour…and how love doesn’t always go to plan!

Growing up, Pippa Pattinson’s summers were spent in the idyllic Greek island fishing village of Taxos. There she spent many long hazy days determinedly ignoring thoughts of the life her parents had mapped out for her (a dreary-but-secure accounting job and obligatory sensible husband!) Instead she daydreamed of running her own tea shop – serving the perfect scones – with mocha-eyed childhood friend Niklaus by her side…

Arriving back in Taxos for the first time in years, with suave boyfriend Henrik, Pippa barely recognises the tired little town – but is relieved to catch glimpses of the quaint, charming village she’s always loved. Together Niklaus and Pippa put together a proposal to save Taxos from tourist-tastic ruin, and at the heart of their plan is Pippa’s dream project: The Tastiest Little Tea Shop in Taxos. It’s time for Pippa to leave her London life behind and dust off her scone recipe that’s guaranteed to win over both locals and visitors. And amidst the rolling pins and raisins, it seems romance is blossoming where she’s least expecting it…"

My review: 

Firstly, a very happy publication day to Samantha for this fab book! It is a summary, addictive read that transports you to a Greek seaside village you won't want to return from!

The book follows Pippa, who returns to the Greek village Taxos with her 'dutch titan boyfriend' Henrik. Taxos holds plenty of childhood memories and relationships for Pippa and is somewhere she feels passionate about. The reappearance of her childhood friend Niko casts further doubt onto her already unsure feelings for Henrik. The doubts are further heightened when Henrik's company, ThinkBig, come up with some unappealing ways to make Taxos a tourist resort as it needs an economic boost - people are struggling for work and money but the proposals make it commercial and take the heart out of Taxos. The village, led by Pippa, fight the proposals which further deepens Pippa's love for the greek village and its residents.

Pippa is a great main character. Being honest, she's pretty flawed and there's times where I felt like screaming MAKE UP YOUR MIND! when she's debating about whether to be with Henrik or not. But, as a reader, you get it. You can understand why she is torn with her feelings. Henrik isn't a bad man, he may make some silly decisions during the story, but he isn't bad. It's also clear that he loves Pippa in his own way. It might not be fireworks and flowers but, for him, it's love, and I think that's what Pippa struggles to deal with. However, it's pretty obvious that deep down she doesn't want to be with him and on occasion I just wished she'd get on with it and end it.

There are some other fantastic characters in Game of Scones. Grandma is a pillar of village life and, despite being very ill, is still feisty and opinionated. Leila, Niko's fiancee is a dreamer - flamboyant and unusual in a charming, friendly way. Finally there's Niko, who captures Pippa's heart once again. He is kind, hardworking and, on occasion, grumpy (which is explained at the end of the story). They are all yet another reason to fall in love with Taxos.

Which brings me nicely to the location of this book, which is just brilliant. Taxos is a small community in Greece that you are immediately transported into. You can smell the sea breeze, feel the sand between your toes and the sun shining on your skin. There's a great sense of community, everyone works together to do the best for Taxos and there are strong bonds of friendship, and romance, throughout the village.

Obviously I've got to talk about Scones as they play a large part of this story. Firstly, who knew there were so many potential flavours of this delicious treat?! When I started reading Game of Scones I must admit I was cynical, thinking the constant eating of currant scones with cream and jam could be a bit repetitive. How wrong was I! Fig and walnut, lemon and yogurt and roast pepper and feta are just some of the delightful flavours that Pippa makes to share with the residents of Taxos. My mouth was positively watering at some of the delicious variations she makes!

Game of Scones is the perfect summer read- sunny, addictive and romantic- I would recommend it to anyone. Samantha is a funny, talented writer that makes the words jump off the page and pull you in. 

If you missed it before, I did an author Q&A with Samantha that talks about Game of Scones and her writing experience, why not have a look?

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