1 June 2015

Book Review: Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

"Summer has arrived in the Cornish town of Mount Polbearne and Polly Waterford couldn't be happier. Because Polly is in love: she's in love with the beautiful seaside town she calls home, she's in love with running the bakery on Beach Street, and she's in love with her boyfriend, Huckle.

And yet there's something unsettling about the gentle summer breeze that's floating through town. Selina, recently widowed, hopes that moving to Mount Polbearne will ease her grief, but Polly has a secret that could destroy her friend's fragile recovery. Responsibilities that Huckle thought he'd left behind are back and Polly finds it hard to cope with his increasingly long periods of absence.

Polly sifts flour, kneads dough and bakes bread, but nothing can calm the storm she knows is coming: is Polly about to lose everything she loves?"

Rating: 5/5

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

Ooh I do get excited about a new book from Jenny Colgan! Over the past few years, I have reviewed so many of Jenny's books and each of this is just as good as the last. I especially love that they have involved bakeries, chocolate shops and sweet shops - foodie heaven! As well as the lovely food though, there are great characters, brilliant stories and gorgeous covers to match. Therefore I was super excited to be sent a review copy of her latest book Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery, the second in the Little Beach Street Bakery series.

Polly Waterford has settled brilliantly on the island of Polbearne, and her bakery is going from strength to strength. She's moved into her new home with American boyfriend Huckle, and Polly is sure that the pair of them, together with their puffin Neil, are going live happily ever after. However, when tragedy strikes, Polly finds herself about to lose everything that she holds dear - most of all, her beloved bakery. As well as her troubles, widow Selina is back in Polbearne as well as some more unfamiliar and unwelcome faces. Is Polly going to make it through the tough times, or is her happiness about to come crashing down around her?

As I said, this is the second book in the series - this can be read as a standalone novel and would be perfectly enjoyable, but I would definitely recommend that you read them in the order that they are written. This gives you much more background, and obviously everything in this book will make much more sense once you know what happened previously. There is a catch-up in the front of this book, but I like reading series' properly.

Polly is a great character, and I was really pleased to be back with her in her bakery on Polbearne. I have to confess that living somewhere that is cut off from the mainland, doesn't have any internet or any decent phone reception sounds like my idea of hell! However, Polly has settled in brilliantly, befriended many of the locals, and lives for making bread and treats for her new friends. You definitely get the sense it's all going too well for Polly, and of course the inevitable happens - it all starts to go wrong. I felt incredibly sorry for Polly as one bad thing after another happens to her - I was surprised she didn't throw the towel in and move back to the mainland for an easier life!

As usual, Colgan describes the bread, the bakery and the processes of baking perfectly. In fact, I was inspired to make bread myself for the first time after reading this book, and I can see why Polly loves it so much - it's addictive! You can really imagine in your mind what Polly is doing, from kneading the dough to setting up the shop in the early hours with her assistant. Polly's boyfriend Huckle is also present throughout the book - he's handsome, charming and caring - no wonder Polly fell for him! I loved reading about their relationship, one of respect and love, and loved how encouraging he was of Polly and her shop, and the faith he had in her even in the darkest of times for the pair. I can't review this book without mentioning the lovely Neil the puffin who regularly steals the show throughout the book, such a cute character!

As you can probably tell, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, even if it meant Polly went through the mill a bit as a result of the bad luck on Polbearne! There were some truly tense scenes in this book - emotional ones which took my breath away and left me reading on to simply find out what happens, and then there's the more fun side at the bakery, and when Polly and Huckle are hanging out with their uber-rich friends. It was fun to return to the Little Beach Street Bakery, and I think it was left open enough at the end that we could hopefully return once more to Polbearne and catch up with Polly! Another super book for fans of Jenny Colgan, I loved it.

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