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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!
Author: Jenny Colgan
Genre: Romance/women’s fiction
Published: October 2016
It’s Christmas in the Cornish coastal village of Mount Polbearne – a time for family, friends and feasting.
Polly Waterford loves running the Little Beach Street Bakery. She’s at her happiest when she’s creating delicious treats and the festive season always inspires her to bake and knead something extra special for the village residents. In fact, the only thing she loves more than her bakery is curling up with her gorgeous boyfriend, Huckle. She’s determined that this Christmas is going to be their best one yet, but life doesn’t always work out as planned…
When Polly’s best friend Kerensa turns up with a secret that threatens the life Polly and Huckle have built together, the future begins to look uncertain. And then a face from Polly’s past reappears and things become even more complicated. Polly can usually find solace in baking but she has a feeling that’s not going to be enough this time. Can she get things back on track so that everyone has a merry Christmas?
(Taken from Goodreads)
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.
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 via Amazon then you can do so here:
Jenny Colgan is the author of numerous bestselling novels, including ‘The Little Shop of Happy Ever After’ and ‘Summer at the Little Beach Street Bakery’, which are also published by Sphere.’ Meet Me at the Cupcake Café’ won the 2012 Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance and was a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller, as was ‘Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop of Dreams’, which won the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2013.
Jenny Colgan has also been published under the name Jenny T. Colgan.
(Taken from Goodreads)
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: