Bella Bradley is the queen of television baking – a national treasure. Her Christmas specials have been topping the ratings for years and her marriage to Peter ‘Silver Fox’ Bradley is the stuff of Hello magazine specials.
But this year things are going to be different.
For Amy Lane, Bella’s best friend from school, life hasn’t held quite the same sparkle. And when Amy’s husband walks out three weeks from Christmas, it seems their lives are further apart than ever.
Amy has watched Bella’s rise to fame fondly, despite the fact Bella was always a terrible cook. But when she realises that Bella’s latest Christmas book is made up entirely of Amy’s mother’s recipes, the gloves are off…
After winning a competition to appear on Bella’s TV show, Amy is going to make sure that for Bella and her viewers, this will definitely be a Christmas to remember…(Synopsis courtesy of Amazon)
I identified with Bella the most, while reading Bella’s Christmas Bake Off. She could easily be pigeon-holed into the villain role, but there is always more to a story, especially from the villain's viewpoint. What possessed her to steal Amy’s mother’s recipes and claim them as her own? Why is Bella so intent on giving off a false persona to the world, not revealing herself for who she really is? Amy wants the friend she remembers from childhood. The one who was a little rough around the edges, but had a heart of gold. After Amy is submerged into Bella’s world, she wonders what happened to her best friend from all those years ago, and whether Bella will ever be able to forgive her. There’s a big secret between these two, and Amy can’t help but feel her own actions all those years ago was the catalyst for why Bella has become the way she is.
This wouldn’t be a Sue Watson book, without creative individuals and emotional evolution. What I’ve always appreciated most is how Sue shows you the full journey for her characters, from start to finish. It’s real and honest, and makes you appreciate Bella and Amy all the more.
I spent a good portion of my teen years living with my best friend’s family. I joke and say that they had semi-adopted me, during one of the most difficult and turbulent times in my life. Although my best friend’s mother wasn’t much of a cook (unless you count the microwave oven as gourmet cooking), I know she did a lot for me and always made me feel like I was part of the family. In so many ways, Bella’s Christmas Bake Off reminded me of my own journey, and the power of friendship and love.
Thanks to Bookouture for the book in exchange for an honest review.
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