22 January 2017

Book Review: The Christmas Cake Café by Sue Watson

"As the Prosecco chills and Bing Crosby croons, Jen Barker just knows that her long-term boyfriend is about to propose.  But instead of a diamond ring nestled in her champagne flute, Jen finds cold flat rejection.  Her once perfect life and dreams of a husband and family seem even further from reach.

A working holiday to the Swiss Alps with her younger sister Jody might not be the Christmas Jen had it mind, but it offers her the chance to recharge her batteries and recover from heartbreak.

When Jen meets handsome ski instructor Jon Zutter her hopes for a happy-ever-after seem within her grasp again. Jon is kind and gorgeous and as they bond over Sachetorte at the picturesque Cake Café, Jen thinks he might just be her perfect man. But a relationship with him comes with a catch – and there are some things even cake can’t fix. 

As the snow falls and Christmas approaches, could this be the place that restores Jen Barker’s faith in love?"

Rating: 4/5

I was really excited when I found out Sue Watson would be bringing out another new festive book in time for Christmas with publishers Bookouture. I loved the cover straight away and was really looking forward to reading the book. As usual, the book has all of Sue's heart, warmth and festive spirit and was a fun read. I love knowing that when I pick up one of Sue's books I'm going to get a great read, and she certainly didn't let me down with this book!

Jen finds herself suddenly single in the run up to Christmas and decides it is time to do something about it. When her younger sister Jody offers her the chance to go to Switzerland with her for a working holiday, Jen decides to take the opportunity with both hands and heads off with her sister and her friends, all much younger than she is. While there, she loves her job at the local café, and bumps into skiing instructor Jon, who has a few secrets of his own hidden away. Will Jen be able to allow herself to fall in love, or will Jon's secrets stop things before they have even begun?

I haven't ever read any books set in Switzerland, but I am so pleased that this one was! After reading it, I googled the skiing resorts dotted around and they look so amazing, especially at Christmas! I could definitely understand why Jen thought it would be a good idea to go out there and live for a while, it sounds cold but looks utterly stunning! Make sure you google it yourself! Watson's descriptions of the resorts, chalets, café's, everything are beautiful and bring the whole thing to life in your mind. I could imagine it so clearly, it was so enjoyable.

Jen herself is an intriguing character. In her 40's and single again, she is sure she has missed the boat on lots of things, but most of all becoming a mother. I enjoyed reading about the close relationship she shared with her sister Jody, which wasn't borne out of the best thing. Jen's father left her mother and started a new family, resulting in the birth of Jody, and while the initial years between the pair weren't good, as adults they've come to accept each other and realise it was neither girl's fault that Jen's parents relationship failed. It's very typical of lots of relationships and I applaud Watson for tackling an issue like this in this story.

Many women reading this will be able to sympathise with Jen and her situation, sure that she has left it too late to settle down and start a family. I felt sorry for her at first, but as she began to enjoy her time in Switzerland and make new friends, especially ski instructor Jon, I was hopeful that she would find her own alternative happy ending. There were quite a few twists and turns along the way, especially as Jon's secrets came to light, but I did feel sorry for him too. However, I did like how the pair dealt with it in adult ways, especially Jen, and the last third of the book was good to read about, albeit awkward in parts!

This was a very enjoyable read from Sue Watson again, full of festive cheer, hope, love and was a lot of fun to read. The setting was fabulous, definitely my favourite part about the whole book, and has certainly made me want to visit Switzerland at Christmastime, even if, like Jen, I haven't got a clue how to ski and I'm not sure if I really want to! I hope there will be more from Sue coming in the near future, I love her stories and they always leave me with a smile on my face. But probably my most favourite thing about them is that they feel real - like they could happen to any normal person, that they could happen to you - that we all might have a happy ending out there somewhere.

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