Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Book Review: The Bookshop on Rosemary Lane
Ellen Berry, a new name but not a new author. Ellen is actually one of my favourite authors, Fiona Gibson. She decided to use the new pen name for her new set of three novels set on Rosemary Lane. With this change I expected there to be a shift in not necessarily writing style but the type of novel I would be reading. Would it still have Fiona’s great characters, charm and humour or would it be darker? The cover was as appealing as ever and is definitely one that catches my eye. So what is the book about?
‘In the beginning…
Kitty Cartwright always solved her problems in the kitchen. Her cookbooks were her life, and there wasn’t an issue that ‘Cooking with Aspic’ couldn’t fix. Her only wish was that she had a book entitled ‘Rustling Up Dinner When Your Husband Has Left You’.
Forty years later…
On Rosemary Lane, Della Cartwright plans to open a very special little bookshop. Not knowing what to do with the hundreds of cookbooks she inherited from her mother, she now wants to share their recipes with the world – and no amount of aspic will stand in her way. But with her family convinced it’s a hare-brained scheme, Della starts to wonder if she’s made a terrible decision...’ (Courtesy of Fiona Gibson's website.)
Fiona’s books always get me hooked pretty quickly. I care about the characters right away, and this novel is no different. Della is a lovely, warm character; she has recently lost her mother and her only child is about to leave the nest of home for university. There’s a lot of change going on for Della, and she is either going to crumble or embrace it and we are with her every step of the way.
I was pleased to see this novel still has great characters who are well developed, ones we can all relate to. Fiona also ‘does’ family so well; it’s a real strength of her writing, I think. Once again, I loved reading about Della’s relationships with her daughter, siblings and late mother who although passed away was a great character in the novel herself. I could really picture what she was like, helped of course by the memories Della shares with the reader, often spurred on by the cookbooks her mother had collected over the years and some secrets they contain.
There have been a fair number of books concerning characters setting up new businesses that I’ve read over the past few years and rightly or wrongly there can be a bit of a feeling you’re going to be reading the same story again. This isn’t the case here. In actual fact the bulk of the book doesn’t concern opening the bookshop, but more-so explores Della’s relationships with her husband, daughter, late mother, and siblings. When the bookshop as a business is discussed, it’s in an interesting way and I will be keen to read the subsequent novels set on Rosemary Lane to try and find out how Della and her new business are getting along.
As someone from and living in Yorkshire, I naturally adored the setting of Burley Bridge and Rosemary Lane, itself. I felt at home in this lovely quaint location and could picture all the little shops and characters so well. I felt the introduction of other characters on Rosemary Lane towards the end of the novel worked well in terms of making me want to read the next novel.
As someone who also has quite a few cookbooks and enjoys cooking something different now and again I really enjoyed the ‘foodie’ aspect of the novel, I often went to sleep feeling hungry after reading this!
This was another fantastic book by Fiona/Ellen and I’ll definitely be reading The Bakery/The Bistro on Rosemary Lane when these are released.
Thanks to Avon for the book in exchange for an honest review.