Christmas At Little Beach Street Bakery – Jenny Colgan

***This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you decide to purchase the product using the link then I get paid at no extra cost to you. I only provide links to products I really enjoy, so you can be assured that it’s a positive recommendation from me!***

Title image for review of Christmas At Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

Author: Jenny Colgan
Genre: Romance/women’s fiction
Published: October 2016

I’m a big fan of women’s fiction and chick lit but somehow Jenny Colgan managed to pass me by (and I’m still not sure how!). This is the first book I’ve read by her, which I encountered in one of our local train station library shelves, and I’m certain it won’t be the last!

Polly Waterford lives on a beautiful island in Cornwall called Mount Polbearne, where she resides with her fiancée, Huckle, and their adopted pet puffin, Neil, in a converted lighthouse by the sea. Her passion is baking, and she works all year round at Little Beach Street Bakery to provide the best baked goods in the area. Her life is busy but she loves it (her career is her biggest focus) and all seems to be going swimmingly until best friend Kerensa suddenly drops a bombshell on her… One which could affect Polly’s friendship group, relationship with Huckle, and more. Despite her hectic schedule she needs to support Kerensa with facing up to a potentially devastating situation whilst also keeping her business and relationship happy, and all in the run-up to Christmas.

Christmas At Little Beach Street Bakery is actually the third in the series by Jenny Colgan which revolve around Polly and Huckle, however is easily read as a standalone novel due to very good explanations of character and backstory. I hadn’t read either previous novels before this one but will definitely be going back to them now. Colgan has a beautifully cosy writing style which I just love – so easy-going, even when topics get a little difficult, and she strikes the perfect balance between light-hearted humour and more serious emotional issues.

Cover image for Christmas At Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan
Cover image for Christmas At Little Beach Street Bakery

I found the plot to be surprisingly emotionally engaging, with some interesting sub-plots as well. Without giving away any spoilers the main plot deals with a difficult moral topic and whilst some readers may not enjoy how it’s dealt with it, it gives several viewpoints into how something like that can be approached. Colgan has done really well at portraying an ethical battle with oneself in a genre that sometime’s (wrongly) considered too fluffy or trivial, so I appreciated that she’s written such a plot despite feeling like I would have dealt with it differently.

I think what really makes Colgan’s writing is how much she brings her characters and settings to life – it’s obvious from her descriptions that she has a strong understanding and a passion for Cornwall! Polly is such a wonderful main character to follow and I felt that she’s highly relatable; so many of us nowadays struggle with work-life balance and also sometimes communication with others. Other themes she explores are moving forwards, loyalty to others, and fear of commitment – again, relatable and engaging topics that many of us will know from experience.

All of the characters in the book felt well-developed despite me not reading the previous two books, and I came away from reading feeling like I’d made a huge group of friends. Huckle was wonderful, and seeing things through Kerensa’s and her husband Reuben’s eyes was fascinating. I felt connected to many of the characters… Even those that had just stopped into the bakery for a few times and weren’t featured any more than that. I also loved the addition of Neil the puffin – such a cute idea for a character and with a purpose to the story, rather than just there because the author thought it would be fun. Sometimes too many characters can spoil the story, so to speak, yet this certainly isn’t the case here.

It’s probably fairly obvious what my verdict on Christmas At Little Beach Street Bakery is – I don’t even like Christmas all that much and yet there I was enjoying a novel about it! This is a wholehearted “go out and read this book now!” from me, and reading it has inspired me to move onto the many other Jenny Colgan books. She also includes recipes for tasty treats in the back of each book, so there’s really no reason not to give this one a read!

If you’d like to purchase Christmas At Little Beach Street Bakery or any of the previous books in the Little Beach Street Bakery collection then you can do so here:

Little Beach Street Bakery

Summer At Little Beach Street Bakery

Christmas At Little Beach Street Bakery

If you enjoyed my review or have your own comments about the book then please let me know in the comments! You can also check my other recent book reviews for the women’s fiction genre here:

The Summer Of Chasing Dreams – Holly Martin

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman

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The Summer Of Chasing Dreams – Holly Martin | Cosy Romance Perfect For A Rainy Day

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you decide to purchase the product using the link then I get paid at no extra cost to you. I only provide links to products I really enjoy, so you can be assured that it’s a positive recommendation from me!

First of all, thank you to Holly Martin for providing me with a digital copy of The Summer Of Chasing Dreams in exchange for an honest review!

Title image of The Summer Of Chasing Dreams
Author: Holly Martin
Genre: Chick lit/romance
Expected publication: 29th March 2019

Synopsis

Eva is quite content with her life in London. In her job as a cover designer, she works at home, and often in her cosy pyjamas. She’s happy to stay in her safe little world and not explore much outside of it.
She is the opposite of her mum, a free spirit who craved finding adventure and thrills in all corners of the world. But on the day her mum’s will is finalised, Eva finds a list of all the dreams her mum wanted to achieve in her life. Things she never did because she fell pregnant with Eva.
Eva decides these dreams will not go unfulfilled — she is going to be brave and complete them for her mum. As Eva has no experience travelling the world, she hires a guide to go with her on this holiday.
Gorgeous but rude Thor Anderson is not the person she would choose to accompany her on this journey, but somehow she gets stuck with him. As they discover the world together Eva starts to think he might not be as bad as she first thought. She is swept away by Thor’s kindness and mischievous sense of humour. But will it be a simple holiday romance or could this wonderful adventure lead to so much more?
(Taken from Goodreads)

My Review

Sometimes you just need a book in your life that isn’t too complicated, but gives you a wonderful reading experience. This is where Holly Martin should come in – you may have read some of her novels before if you like this genre, and The Summer Of Chasing Dreams is her newest release that you won’t be able to put down. It’s such a cosy book and I found it so easy to read – I even had to stop myself sneaking a glance of the next chapter at work! The thing with Martin’s writing is that it just flows – it’s easy to digest and her casual, chatty way with words makes you feel like you’re spending time with an old friend.

Book cover of The Summer Of Chasing Dreams

I enjoyed the general style of the book, and was impressed how such a grandiose trip had been covered within one novel. As well as seeing everything from Eva’s (and sometimes Thor’s) point of view, we also get to read the intimate postcards from Eva to her Mum, which help to develop a relationship that is sadly absent now. I wanted to know more about Juliette, her past, and also Eva’s home life and background, though Martin crams in what she can whilst focusing on the tangle of emotions in the present day.

The plot itself is also so good – I’m sure lots of us would appreciate an around the world trip and reading about one made me feel inspired. There’s also so much to love about the characters Eva and Thor, and I really genuinely cared about them and their interesting relationship. It was easy for me to identify with both characters, and I loved experiencing both their silly and heartwarming highlights, such as singing at the top of their voices from the atop the Eiffel Tower, to the deeper, more complex side of their relationship as it goes forward. Martin is good at evoking emotion from the reader, and you’ll find yourself switching between awe, sadness, elatedness, and despair (plus a generous helping of lust).

I was genuinely sad when the book ended, as it brought such an uplifting and positive feeling to the otherwise grey and dreary British weather I’ve been experiencing of late. If you’re looking for a comfy read to pair with a cuppa and a warm blanket then The Summer Of Chasing Dreams is definitely the book for you.

Purchase Links

If you’d like to purchase a copy of The Summer Of Chasing Dreams then please use the following links:

Amazon UK | Amazon US

Author Bio

Holly lives in a little white cottage by the sea. She studied media at university which led to a very glitzy career as a hotel receptionist followed by a even more glamorous two years working in a bank. The moment that one of her colleagues received the much coveted carriage clock for fifteen years’ service was the moment when she knew she had to escape. She quit her job and returned to university to train to be a teacher. Three years later, she emerged wide eyed and terrified that she now had responsibility for the development of thirty young minds. She taught for four years and then escaped the classroom to teach history workshops, dressing up as a Viking one day and an Egyptian High Priestess the next. But the long journeys around the UK and many hours sat on the M25 gave her a lot of time to plan out her stories and she now writes full time, doing what she loves.
Holly has been writing for 8 years. She was shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romance. Her short story won the Sunlounger competition and was published in the Sunlounger anthology. She won the Carina Valentine’s competition at the Festival of Romance 2013 with her novel The Guestbook. She was shortlisted for Best Romantic Read, Best eBook and Innovation in Romantic Fiction at the Festival of Romance 2014. She is the bestselling author of 18 books.
(Taken from Amazon)

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Don’t forget to like, pin, and leave a comment if you enjoyed my review! You can also check my other recent book reviews here:

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
Choosing Me: Love Letters From A Poet – Bill Weber
The Accidental Further Adventures Of The Hundred-Year-Old Man