21 April 2014

Book Review: Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

"Polly Waterford is recovering from a toxic relationship. Unable to afford their townhouse, she has to move miles away from everyone, to the sleepy little seaside resort of Polbearne, where she lives alone above an abandoned shop.

And so Polly takes out her frustrations on her favourite hobby: making bread. But what was previously a weekend diversion suddenly becomes far more important as she pours her emotions into kneading and pounding the dough, and each loaf becomes better and better. With nuts and seeds, olives and chorizo, with local honey (courtesy of local bee keeper, Huckle), and with reserves of determination and creativity Polly never knew she had, she bakes and bakes and bakes . . . And people start to hear about it.

Sometimes, bread really is life . . . And Polly is about to reclaim hers."

Rating: 5/5

You can buy Little Beach Street Bakery as a paperback or an eBook now.

I have become a huge fan of Jenny Colgan over the past few years. I've read a lot of her books now, and I have loved every single one so far. I always look forward to her new books, so when I was sent a review copy of her latest book Little Beach Street Bakery, I was really excited because I had high hopes for the book! I have to compliment the publishers on the cover, it's gorgeous and looks like a perfect spring read, and seems to suit the novel perfectly. As usual, it's full of Colgan's wit and warmth, and is possibly one of my favourites of Jenny's books to date!

Polly Waterford's life feels like it's falling apart around her. The company she has with her ex-boyfriend has gone bankrupt, and her relationship has pretty much ended as well. Unable to afford her expensive house anymore, Polly decides to take things into her own hands, and moves to the quiet and tiny village of Polbearne, where she rents a tiny flat in an abandoned shop. Polly slowly starts to get used to her new life, and as she does, she starts up her love of baking bread again. However, without meaning to, she seems to have upset her landlady, owner of the local bakery. The residents of Polbearne seem to love Polly's bread, and it's making her some steady friends, including fisherman Tarnie and local beekeeper Huckle. As bread starts to take hold of Polly's life, she wonders if this could mean her life is finally getting back on track.

For me, what made this novel so readable was the character of Polly. She's the leading lady of the novel, the one we follow for the duration, and I have to say that I loved her. I felt so sorry for her at the beginning, struggling to cope with the end of both her business and her relationship, and the fact she really doesn't know where to turn. I was pleased when she moved far away from her ex-boyfriend to Polbearne, and there started my love affair with Polbearne too! Colgan writes everything about the sleepy seaside town so beautifully, it's vivid in your mind as you read, and it really comes to life. Everything from the dilapidated flat where Polly finds herself living, to Huckle's home and the sea front itself sounded so picturesque, you can see why Polly was drawn to the village so much.

I loved the inclusion of Polly baking bread throughout the book - Colgan writes about so many different breads, lots that I hadn't heard of and some that I of course had - they all sounded so delicious, I could almost smell them as I turned the pages of the book! You can see why Tarnie, the other fisherman and residents of Polbearne love her bread so much, and I was willing for her to make a success out of her vocation somehow, even though her landlady Gillian seemingly doesn't want her to! I really disliked Gillian, but Colgan slowly reveals to use her story, and I began to feel incredibly sorry for her, and could understand why she is how she is. This is a very emotional read, what with Polly contending with many issues in her own life, and other stories going on. There is a shocking story twist along the way that I hadn't seen coming whatsoever, and it really knocked me for six. It was so well handled, but really tough to read, and was a massive change in the story so far.

I have to confess that I really didn't want to put this book down once I started reading it. It was completely compulsive, and I felt like I was lost in the world of Polbearne with Polly, Huckle and Tarnie. Huckle and Tarnie were fantastic male characters, more positive males in the book for Polly to be with and she really comes alive when she is around them both. This book has everything; happiness, sorrow, hope and love, all woven together in a magical tale that you won't want to end. I cannot review this book without mentioning the brilliant Neil, a puffin that Polly adopts in Polbearne - he surely is a star in his own right, and the bond that he and Polly have was truly adorable! It was a truly delightful read, everything from Polly losing herself in her bread baking, to the different relationships she forms in Polbearne make the book well worth reading, Little Beach Street Bakery is a poignant and heart-warming story that I must definitely recommend P.S. Look out for the gorgeous recipes in the back!!


  1. I'm off to put this on my library wish list right now! Cheers from carole's chatter

  2. I will definitely read this one, Jenny Colgan always makes me laugh. I saw her on stage a few years ago in 'Grumpy Old Women' and she was excellent! SD