18 September 2013

Book Review: The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop and Café by Mary Simses

"Manhattan lawyer Ellen Branford is going to fulfill her grandmother's dying wish - to find the hometown boy she once loved and give him her last letter. Beacon, Maine, home to blueberry fields and eccentric locals, is the last place she wants to go so close to her upcoming wedding. Hoping to be in and out in 24 hours, Ellen ends up the talk of the town when a tumble into the ocean introduces her to Roy Cummings, the carpenter who saves her life. Roy happens to be the nephew of Ellen's grandmother's lost love, and the one person who can bring closure to her quest. But as Ellen learns what Beacon has to offer and what her grandmother left behind, she may find that a 24 hour visit will never be enough..."

Rating: 4/5

You can buy The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop and Café as a paperback or an eBook now.

I was invited to be a part of the blog tour for Mary Simses' debut novel The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Café, and this peaked my interest for reading the book. I had read good things about this on fellow bloggers sites, so I decided to give the book a try and find out more about this lovely blueberry bakeshop! I did really enjoy the book but I have one complaint about it... one that actually stopped the book being 5/5 and made it 4/5 ... the title is completely irrelevant really! The bakeshop barely appears in the book, it certainly isn't an integral part of the story so if you're expecting to read about that, you will be left disappointed! It is a sweet love story and a family discovery too, but this has nothing to do with the title and I have to say I do think it's a tad misleading which is a bit of a shame.

Ellen is devastated when her beloved grandmother dies. Before her grandmother passed, she gave Ellen a dying wish... to return a letter to someone from her past, but she doesn't leave Ellen with a lot of information to go on. Ellen has to return to the place where her grandmother grew up, a small town called Beacon in the state of Maine. Ellen is used to a fast paced lifestyle as a lawyer with a glamourous home, fiancé and job to match, and she finds the slower pace of Beacon somewhat hard to get used to. She hopes to make it a fleeting visit - drop the letter off and quickly get back home. But when she meets local carpenter Roy Cummings, things start to change in Ellen's life, especially when she finds her own life being saved by him. How will her brief visit to Beacon send Ellen's life down another path, and make some discoveries about her family too?

I found the writing of this book to be really enjoyable to read. I loved how Simses made Ellen quite unsympathetic at first, she was quite rude to the locals, dismissive about the place and the hotel she was staying in and generally not someone you could warm to. It seems that the magic of the town works its own magic on Ellen because she does become softer, and as she finds out more about her grandmother, she softens more and I enjoyed discovering more about her family history along with her. When we meet Ellen's mother and fiancé, we can begin to understand why she is how she is in the book, and I liked how they were all so closely interlinked with each other, even though Ellen is apart from them for pretty much the whole book.

The town of Beacon sounds like an idyllic place to live, and I love how Simses writes it. It certainly comes to life in my mind, from the harbour area to the quaint hotel that Ellen stays in to the local bars and restaurants she eats it... it all creates an atmosphere in the book that you are quickly swept into and I was very quickly absorbed into the book. I loved reading about the blueberry fields too, discovering all about Ellen's grandmother and her talents, and of course meeting the lovely Roy, who seems such like such a perfect man all the way through the book, and I was willing Ellen to see it too. The interactions between he and Ellen were so fun to read, and I loved the chemistry that they had, especially when Roy saves Ellen's life and she is determined that she didn't need his help at all!

Mary Simses book is a very enjoyable read and I enjoyed it from start to finish. It's a shame that it was such a misleading and irrelevant title because it is a wonderful love story and you really do find yourself swept up into the romance and mystery of the small town of Beacon. I really liked Roy and Ellen, they were great characters to follow and you are rooting for their romance throughout the story. This is a great debut novel that I would definitely recommend enjoying on these cold autumnal night, and it makes me look forward to reading more from Mary Simses. A lovely and charming read.

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