Thursday, July 23, 2015

Book Review: The Cake Shop in the Garden

By Becky Gulc

‘Fay Merryweather runs her cake shop from her beautiful garden.

She whips up airy sponges and scrumptious scones while her customers enjoy the lovely blossoms and gorgeous blooms.

Looking after the cake shop, the garden and taking care of her cantankerous mother means Fay is always busy but she accepts her responsibilities because if she doesn’t do all this, who will?

Then Danny Wilde walks into her life and makes Fay question every decision she’s ever made.

When a sudden tragedy strikes, Fay’s entire world is thrown off balance even further and she doesn’t know which way to turn. Can Fay find the strength to make a life-changing decision – even if it means giving up the thing she loves the most?

Life, love and family are about to collide in . . . The Cake Shop in the Garden. (Synopsis courtesy of Carole Matthews' website.)

This book has such an amazing cover, it’s so enticing with all that cake, and doesn’t it just have a lovely spring/summertime feel to it? Perfect! Definitely eye-catching and makes you want to dive straight in. And what a stamp of approval to have from the queen of baking herself, Mary Berry. The synopsis also enticed me, being a keen amateur baker.

Well, I told my mum she had to take this book on holiday with her, I loved it. Fay runs the cake shop from the garden of her much-loved but somewhat neglected home which she shares with her mother. The garden backs onto a canal where the family’s narrow boat lives, the Maid of Merryweather. This narrow boat also serves as a shop for the produce Fay and her assistant Lija create. The setting was so vivid in my mind, I could just imagine myself having an afternoon tea in the garden watching the world--and ducks--go by. And if Danny Wilde was there doing a bit of DIY around the place whilst I was there, well even better!

Fay is someone who works hard and plays...well pretty much never; she is someone growing old before her time. She’s in a relationship with Anthony, a relationship that she’s quite passive about, they don’t live together and everything seems to be on his terms (he is very busy bell ringing...). With Fay caring for her mother as well as running her business, the situation kind of suits her. I liked Fay a lot, although this passiveness did frustrate me at times. She was continually convincing herself Anthony was a good catch, but that made some of the plot twists more interesting later on. As for Fay’s mother and sister, well, you’ll have to read it, but gosh--Fay has the patience of a saint! Great characters though, again leading to twists and turns I wasn’t expecting in the second half of the novel, which were gripping.

My favourite characters were Lija, Fay’s assistant at the cake shop, and Stan, the elderly regular customer. Both of these characters treated Fay the way she deserves and have her best interests at heart. Lija may seem aloof and unfriendly to most people but she has a lovely relationship with Fay. And Stan, well I was on tenterhooks at the end of the novel. It was quite an emotional ending as these characters drew me in to their world.

If I were to be picky the only thing I maybe didn’t like about this novel was some of the language used to describe the ‘love’ scenes, but these scenes must be so hard to write to everyone’s taste!

I’ve read a few of Carole’s books now, and to quote the lovely character of Stan from I would have to say this is ‘my favourite.’ A perfect setting and a perfect range of characters. I really hope there will be a sequel to this as there seems to be some much more scope for these characters, and the cake garden which I wish was real.

Thanks to Sphere  for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Carole Matthews:


Janine said...

Great review. I do love the cover.

penney said...

This sounds very good thanks for the review