Issy Randall can bake. No, Issy can create stunning, mouthwateringly divine cakes. After a childhood spent in her beloved Grampa Joe's bakery, she has undoubtedly inherited his talent. She's much better at baking than she is a filing so when she's laid off from her desk job, Issy decides to open her own little café. But she soon learns that her piece-of-cake plan will take all of her courage and confectionary talent to avert disaster.
Funny and sharp, Meet Me at the Cupcake Café is about how life might not always taste like you expect, but there's always room for dessert!
Like the "about" says...it's a story about what happens when life is, well...life and reminds us that it;s what we do with the changes, twists and turns in the end that really matters. Well, that and good friends, family, and a satisfyingly delicious piece of cake every now and then. Aww, yes; a recipe for success indeed.
When we meet Issy, she's just like many of us...30+ years old, trying to find the silver lining in a life that's not quite measuring up to all we really want it to be and knowing that despite the possibility of gold at the end of our current rainbow, we really wish for something more. Enter in a business shake up, a relationship wake up and a chance to chase a dream she didn't even know she had and you've got the ground work laid for a story that will keep many on their toes...but that's not even the half of it. You see, it's not simply about the path her life is currently on or that which it turns into, but also about the relationships in her life for better or worse.
There's Graeme, the arse that is more metro than man and can't keep his head out of his bum long enough to see what's in front of him. Yep, I said it....and yet like many a love blinded heart, Issy falls again and again for him. Will this last time stick or will she finally stick it to HIM? You'll have to read it to find out, but expect a few fireworks one way or the other. Then we have Austin...her investment banker/loan officer/big brother extraordinare/potential love interest if they could simply communicate gosh darn it but words seem to fail this determined pair time after time. Don't go looking for a sweet romantic comedy here folks....though there are aspects of it, it's not the point so any love story type angle plays second fiddle to all else....but it's so sweet regardless. ^_^ Since we're on the male character train right now, on the other end of the spectrum is Issy's Gramps. He is a sweet gentleman indeed but alas caught in the clutches of time so he has his good days and his bad, providing for many sweet moments and a few sad. *sigh* Oh life, you are a cruel mistress sometimes. Still on the male spectrum (what? You didn't think there would be yet more male influences in a story pink as cotton candy and filled with cupcake delight? Think again...), we have Ben, sometimes father sometimes "ghost", Doti the interested mailman, the ironmonger next door, the...well, the list continues but I'll sum it up by saying don't discount the lads in this one. Everyone introduced is worth a nod...or a scowl. (hehe) Moving forward....
The ladies are definitely a large group in this read as well and all worth their weight in salt, sugar, flour or eggs. Issy, our leading lady, is a wonderful character and as you get to know her, you appreciate her quirks, ideals, and open heart to boot. Helena, her besty and one hey of a nurse, provides the tough love Issy needs at times as well as the ribbing that only a close friend can truly provide. They made a great pair whether joshing each other about their new love interest or coming to words over who's actually putting in the time for the other with life banging at their door. Let's see, then we've got Pearl (with her sweet lad Louis) who is the spicy addition they needed to kick things into gear, Caroline, whom we never saw coming, even Jane, Austin's assistant, is a person worth notice and someone who plays a role in the story that helps it spin the proper way. Like I said, nary a character to ignore and a point worth celebrating on behalf of the author.
Now, speaking of cakes, sweet treats and surprises, guess what? I had the chance to pose a few questions to our esteemed author and the results are yours to devour....including a recipe! Ready to meet our guest? Here we go. Join me in a BIG SFIR welcome to author Jenny Colgan!
Lightly toast 2 tspns of oatmeal (lightly, it burns really fast)
Mix in with one and a half cups heavy cream
2 cups raspberries
2 tspns honey
2 or 3 teaspoons whisky to taste (cough- I am Scottish).
Mix, and chill for one hour. Serve in shot glasses.
For my readers with a short attention span either by choice or by schedule (hey, life gets busy...I hear you!), DESCRIBE YOUR BOOK IN TEN WORDS....
According to your book, Issy believes any day can be made better by pastry. A shared belief of yours? If so, what's your "go to" baked good of choice and why?
Your biography shares that you're not the most talented in the kitchen. *ahem* No worries, I tend to burn a lot of stuff too. With that in mind though, why choose cooking as a central point for your story?
About the author...
A former columnist for The Guardian, Jenny Colgan contributes regularly to national BBC radio and is the bestselling author of more than eleven novels, including Welcome To Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop of Dreams, which won the 2013 Romantic Novel of the Year award from the Romantic Novelists Association, and The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris, both international bestsellers. She is married with three children and lives in London and France. For more information, please visit http://www.jennycolgan.com/, follow her on Twitter, @JennyColgan, and Like her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jennycolganbooks.
Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe now available at these retailers....Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Indiebound, Chapters/Indigo...and on a bookstore shelf near you.
(Open to US residents only, no PO Boxes please. Entries accepted through midnight 07/26/13.)
ARC for review courtesy of Danielle at Sourcebooks. (THANKS!) Fore more information about this title as well as their full catalog, be sure to stop by their official site, like them on Facebook, or follow along on Twitter. To discover more of Ms. Colgan's works, check her out online. She's a slew of works already out in the UK with several planned to debut stateside in the near future. In the mean time, this title is available now so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf near you.