Friday, August 7, 2015

Book Review: Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery

UK cover
By Becky Gulc

I’ve been a fan of Jenny Colgan’s writing for years now. She seems to know just what I want to read about at a given time, cupcakes, sweets, chocolate...Andrew McCarthy, yes please to all of the above! I’ve loved each of Jenny’s books I’ve read including Little Beach Street Bakery which I reviewed last year. I felt truly transported to the tidal island of Mount Polbearne and felt myself become a part of this tight-knit community through our main character of Polly, who decided to escape the mainland, putting some distance between her and her business and relationship (which both fell apart) and renting a derelict flat above an abandoned bakery. I made my first loaf of bread after reading this novel, that’s how much it makes you want to bake!

I was delighted to return to the beautiful and atmospheric setting and find out how life is treating Polly, and her pet puffin Neil in Jenny's follow-up novel, Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery. My only concern was that I was on a diet whilst reading it!

‘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?’ (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon UK.)

I think I loved this book even more than the first, if that’s possible. Once again the book delivers on the sense of setting with this charming place. I felt there was more to explore this time, as Polly and Huckle (and Neil!) are now living in the lighthouse (I have been googling holidays in lighthouses since...) and Polly’s work takes her to different settings, as well. Some of the characters we grew to love in the first novel are still there, but there are additional ones to love and hate, including her boss’s nephew Malcolm. I very much enjoyed the introduction of Selina into the story and the lovely friendship that develops between her and Polly but it wouldn’t be much of a novel if this was all smooth sailing, would it?

US cover
Polly’s livelihood is threatened in this novel when the owner of the bakery (Mrs. Manse) passes away and her dastardly nephew takes charge, who has very little regard for the quality of ingredients or products. I enjoyed this story line very much, along with Polly’s new venture on Nan the Van. I also liked how even though Polly is loved up, the relationship between herself and Huckle is just one aspect of the novel. Fans of the first novel won’t be disappointed with Neil’s appearances either, I did wonder whether I was going to be crying about this puffin at one point, but his story is the way it should be really, as well as moving.

There are some great twists and turns with scenes that just had me gripped towards the end of the novel. For me this is a book that delivers on all counts, warmth, humour, friendship, love, intrigue; the perfect book to curl up with. I was also sent a copy of the children’s book Polly and the Puffin, and this is an adorable book that I’m sure children will love. I loved it and I’m not the target audience!

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

More by Jenny Colgan:


Janine said...

Great review. Now I want cake for breakfast.

penney said...

This sounds really good thanks for the review

Linda said...

Books that take you to whole other place when you read them are amazing. I’m glad you enjoyed the book. Thank you for posting about it.