19 November 2012

Book Review: Christmas at the Cupcake Café by Jenny Colgan

"Issy Randall, proud owner of The Cupcake Cafe, is in love and couldn't be happier. Her new business is thriving and she is surrounded by close friends, even if her cupcake colleagues Pearl and Caroline don't seem quite as upbeat about the upcoming season of snow and merriment. But when her boyfriend Austin is scouted for a possible move to New York, Issy is forced to face up to the prospect of a long-distance romance. And when the Christmas rush at the cafe - with its increased demand for her delectable creations - begins to take its toll, Issy has to decide what she holds most dear.

This December, Issy will have to rely on all her reserves of courage, good nature and cinnamon, to make sure everyone has a merry Christmas, one way or another . . "

Rating: 5/5

I absolutely loved Jenny Colgan's 2011 release Meet Me at the Cupcake Café, it was my first ever Jenny Colgan book, and it was a delight to read from start to finish. I think it prompted a whole new fanbase for Jenny as well, and the gorgeous covers certainly help matters, they're so pretty! I really loved the characters that we met in that book, so when I heard that Jenny was bringing them back for a festive offering, I was really pleased, it seemed like a cupcake café would be the perfect setting for a Christmassy book! The cover is so pretty, with it's light blue and red, and the intricate patterns around the edge, and as soon as it arrived, I got stuck in and devoured it as quickly as I could...  much like I would one of Issy's cupcakes!

Issy Randall's 'Cupcake Café' is going from strength to strength, and she loves working there. She's still close friends with her colleagues Pearl, and her best friend Helena is still enjoying being a new mother, although Issy feels her friend's obsession with her new baby daughter is driving a wedge between their friendship. Then there's Issy's relationship with boyfriend Austin, which seems to be going well too. But when Austin is offered a job opportunity that could make he and his brother Darny more well off and successful than he ever could have thought, Issy is worried that it will spell the end of their relationship. Will Issy have the courage to stand up for what she really believes in, and what will come of her beloved Cupcake Café?

The really good thing about this book is that you don't have to have read the first book to really enjoy this one, and this is something that Colgan acknowledges in her short introduction to the book. She very briefly recaps what happened in the last book, and this was enough to refresh my memory sufficiently for me to quickly slip back into these characters and enjoy the book! Issy is the same as before; likeable, friendly and kind, and the perfect person to run the cafe. She bakes amazing sounding cakes, and as with the last book, Colgan has included recipes for the cakes that Issy bakes, and there are certainly a few that I want to try out myself! Issy is a great leading lady for the book, and I really enjoyed following her story, from her café over to New York and back again.

Issy's friends are also quite important in the book too, although of course their stories are secondary to the main one of Issy and Austin. Pearl, a single mother, is dreading the financial burden that Christmas is undoutedbly going to put on her, but wants to give her son Louis the best things that she can. Caroline, a divorcée single mum whose job at the Cupcake Café is her first job ever, is trying to be strong despite her husband's infidelities, but her attitude keeps rubbing her colleagues and customers up the wrong way. Then there's Helena who is a new mum to baby Chadani Imelda (sorry but just reading that name makes me a bit cross, I couldn't stand reading it in the book!) and her obsession with her new daughter and her developments are pushing Issy away somewhat. All of these characters are so important to the book, and I liked how Colgan effortlessly weaves them into the book through the Cupcake Café.

I was surprised at New York being included in the book, as it didn't seem to fit at all, and given that I'd just read a book set in that city, I was a bit worried it would seem a bit repetitive and spoil my enjoyment. However, of course that wasn't the case, and while the scenes in NYC were few and far between, there to update us on Austin and to throw a spanner in the works for Issy, they were fun to read, especially as it was set at Christmas and Colgan writes the city so beautifully. I loved the 'will they, won't they' aspect of this storyline, and was worried about whether Issy and Austin would make it through, it's not clear cut as you're reading and I loved that! Colgan really weaves her Christmas magic through this book, from the lovely descriptions of the festive decorations that adorn the Cupcake Café, to the lovely cakes and cookies that Issy bakes throughout the book, plus the excitement of young Louis for Christmas that is just infectious! I loved every page of this book and didn't want it to end, I just hope this isn't the last we see of Issy and her wonderful Cupcake Café! This book is simply a must-read this Christmas.

You can buy Christmas at the Cupcake Café as a hardback or an eBook now.


  1. I bought this the other day after loving Meet me at the Cupcake Cafe too, I'm so excited to get started! It seems like such a lovely Christmas read, and the recipes dotted throughout is such a nice touch :) xxx

  2. I loved the first one, I'm going to have to get this!

  3. Aw thank you Chloe, I'm so thrilled you enjoyed it! Jenny. xxx