23 December 2016
Book Review: Christmas at the Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan
Polly Waterford loves running the Little Beach Street Bakery. She's at her happiest when she's creating delicious treats and the festive season always inspires her to bake and knead something extra special for the village residents. In fact, the only thing she loves more than her bakery is curling up with her gorgeous boyfriend, Huckle. She's determined that this Christmas is going to be their best one yet, but life doesn't always work out as planned...
When Polly's best friend Kerensa turns up with a secret that threatens the life Polly and Huckle have built together, the future begins to look uncertain. And then a face from Polly's past reappears and things become even more complicated. Polly can usually find solace in baking but she has a feeling that's not going to be enough this time. Can she get things back on track so that everyone has a merry Christmas?"
I adore Jenny Colgan's books, so when I discovered she was writing a third book in the 'Little Beach Street Bakery' series, I was really happy, even more so when it was a Christmas novel! Although Jenny has written a bit of an introduction to this book, explaining the characters and the story to date and therefore you can enjoy this as a standalone, it is best read as part of the series, you'll be missing out if you don't catch up with the other two books!
Polly is still happily baking away in her little bakery in Mount Polbearne. She also still lives with her American boyfriend Huck, and their puffin Neil. Polly loves that Christmas is coming, and is looking forward to baking up a storm for the locals who love to buy her goods. But Polly and Huck's perfect Christmas is under threat when Polly's best friend Kerensa confides a secret with her, one that is sure to put a rift between Huck and Polly. Burdened by the secret, Polly's Christmas spirit is feeling dampened... can she make sure she and Huck have a Merry Christmas after all?
As I said, I have read the previous books in the series, and know the ins and outs of these characters really well, so it was great to slip back into the world of Mount Polbearne, and Polly's bakery and her lighthouse again. I've always loved Polly, and I definitely did throughout this book too. She struggles with the burden of her best friend Kerensa's secret, as any of us would I think, and I felt sorry for her being put in that position, and worrying about how she can keep it secret from Huck too. The storyline of the secret takes place throughout the book, and I kept nervously picking up the story, eager to see if things would be revealed or not!
I don't want to say too much about the story of this book because it's one of those that wants to be discovered as you read the book. There was a really well written bit about Polly in this book coming to grips with someone shocking from her past making a reappearance, and I loved how well Colgan writes this part of the book. It is of course very emotional, but Colgan wasn't afraid to portray Polly really struggling it with it too, rather than making it the fairytale ending we sometimes assume a situation like this can have.
I think this is perhaps the last we will see of Polly, Huck and Neil in the Little Beach Street Bakery series after the ending of this book, but I would definitely welcome them coming back again! The final few scenes were wonderfully written and emotional to read, and really puts across the family feel and atmosphere that living on a small island like Mount Polbearne brings. As well as this, there's festive spirit throughout as Polly prepares for Christmas with Huck, Kerensa and the rest of her family. This was a wonderful read, perfect to snuggle up with a hot chocolate and sausage roll (I can't stand mince pies personally!), and join Polly and Huck for their Christmas!