23 May 2015
Book Review: The Cake Shop in the Garden by Carole Matthews
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."
You can buy The Cake Shop in the Garden as a paperback or an eBook now.
I love that every 6 months or so I get to enjoy a brand new book from Carole Matthews. I love her Christmas stories, but I also especially look forward to her fabulous summer stories too. Her latest book, The Cake Shop in the Garden, sounded exactly like my cup of tea, especially with the ringing endorsement from Mary Berry in the middle of the front cover (complete with delicious looking cakes as well!). Of course, Carole hasn't disappointed with this read, and it's certainly one of my summer must-reads!
Fay loves running her cake shop café from the garden of her home along the Grand Union Canal, and it's pretty much all that keeps her going. She is all but held to ransom at the house by her bedridden (by choice) elderly mother, and is financially stuck as she's constantly bankrolling her younger sister who lives in America, quite unhappily it seems. So when a new canal boat complete with handsome owner comes down the canal one day, Fay decides to take a chance on him, and hires him to work alongside her and her Latvian friend and employee Lija. and the pair strike up an easy friendship. As Fay plots along in her day to day life, she tries to push aside the new feelings she has for Danny Wilde, but is temptation going to prove too much for this baker?
I have to say I loved this book from the start, and was immediately taken by Fay and the situation she had found herself in. Nonetheless, she had made the best of a pretty dire situation - she's running a quite successful business, is in a long-term relationship (although it doesn't quite set her on fire, she'd be the first to admit), and she loves living in her beautiful home. You do feel though that she is a bit downtrodden in life, having to care for her ungrateful and quite frankly rude mother, and putting up with her selfish and annoying younger sister Edie. These characters only stand to make Fay seem all the more angelic in the storyline, putting up with her awful family simply because they are her family, and you can't help but love her more for it.
I felt Fay came alive in the book when the character of Danny Wilde made an appearance. He was a bit of young blood for Fay, who's a bit old before her time, and I was willing to let herself give Danny a chance. He sounded perfect; handsome, young, knows a thing or two about narrow boats (Fay's passion in life) and most of all, just a genuinely nice person. As the book went on and the pair had more and more scenes together, I really was so hopeful of a happy ending but this certainly wasn't on the cards as the happy-ever-after ending I usually am guaranteed when I read chick lit books! I wanted her to explore more of her life with Danny, not watch it from her cake shop in the garden because of her mother, and this was what kept me reading - this hope for Fay.
Matthews' writing is, as always, brilliant and draws you straight into the middle of the book so you feel like you're sitting there in the cake shop in the garden, alongside dear old Stan, one of Fay's frequent and sweetest customers, enjoying Lija's amazing cakes and watching the world go by on the canal. All of the cakes in the book sounded amazing and mouth-watering, and you could see why people would want to keep visiting the cake shop! I kept telling myself to only read one more chapter, that it was time for bed but I simply couldn't bring myself to put this book down - I just had to find out if Fay and Danny would get their happy-ever-after and if Fay would ever be able to bring herself to escape from the confines of her life. I loved everything from the setting, to the characters and the story as a whole. This book was brilliant and I can't recommend it enough - the perfect summer read!