HI guys and gals!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.
Today, we're celebrating (stateside) the 4th of July, otherwise known as Independence Day. It's the day that we throw our hands in the air like we just don't care, cook out until the air is heavy with the scent of barbecued goods, and don our red, white, and blue colors with more pride than usual because all of these liberties and more are ours for the indulging in this land of the free BECAUSE of the brave. While we're celebrating in any way we know how, let us be sure to take a moment to remember how this came to pass and all the lives that were given in some fashion for it to be this way today and continue to be so for generations to come.
Now, while you're filling your belly with good food, your heart with laughter, and your mind with memories, let me fill your READING LIST with a pair of delightful reads perfect for a summer escape. They come to us via William Morrow and feature the work of author Jenny Colgan. Perhaps you've heard of her, sampled her writing, or indulged in her recipes included within each book? If so, you know a bit about the upcoming post; if not, you're in for a surprise treat to wile away some reading time this weekend. Ready or not, today's double book spotlight is shining on...
First off, let's dish about those covers.
Aren't they just luscious? I mean, I wish I could just reach out and pluck the goodies out of the images and indulge in an afternoon treat. They just look that scrumptious. Good thing the book has recipes in the back to actually make some of the items mentioned, otherwise we'd be left drooling for something just out of reach. I do have ONE ponderance though. Our leading lady, Polly, is not primarily a sweets baker, so though these are simply divine pics, I can't help but wonder if a more fitting image would have included some of her fresh baked bread concoctions. Perhaps a fresh slice of lightly toasted something with a drizzle of Huckle's fresh honey? Yum! *ahem* Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, the books!
So, book one introduces us to Polly Waterford and Polly to Mount Polbearne, a lovely little place that time forgot...until now. It seems that our heartbroken-needing-a-new-start Polly was just the thing the little place needed to pick its collective head out of the sand and say WE'RE HERE, WE'RE LOVELY, and WE'RE NOT CHANGING FOR ANYONE. Okay, so maybe the town is a bit stuck in their ways but so long as they are good, traditional ways, what's the harm? Um, yeah...about that. Polly may be having a VERY rough patch, but even she can't stomach the gastrointestinal mess that the local bakery is serving out. Really and truly calling it a bakery is a misnomer because the Mrs. Manse, the proprietor, gave up on the real thing a LONG time ago. True, she had good reasons behind the letting go, but that's a tale to emerge over time.
The point is, the heart may not always be most clear, but the stomach knows when revolt is better than digestion. Fast forward through a battle of wits, an injured puffin turned pet (Neil! Love him!), an ill fated coupling (Tarnie...don't ask), the potential for a studly American boyfriend (Huckle...sweet but dense sometimes), friends both old and new, and we've a semblance of a life turned round from falling apart to full of potential...with a suitably dramatic close that will warm your heart. Yes, there was much going on and many to meet in this first venture over the land bridge at the appropriate low tide hour, but just as much to love. Now, on to book two...
Our second visit to the quaint tiny town finds our Polly running her own bakery (well, essentially Mrs. Manse's just with better products by far and a very loose set of rules), living in a lighthouse with her beau (Huckle), and her lovely pet puffin (Neil!). She's said goodbye to some things along the way but overall, she's in a pretty good spot...and then the other shoe falls. It seems that the long term tenants of Mount Polbearne don't like to leave on their own, and not so long after we've said farewell to one, another passes away. This time though, the repercussions of that passing aren't felt truly at heart level (though admittedly, Polly had a soft spot for the brioche of a woman), but at life level.
You see, it was Mrs. Manse and that means the her family is left in charge of all her worldly goods, including the fate of the little bakery that a certain someone has turned from just another place into a small culinary wonder. Oh and it looks like as rough as Mrs. Manse was, her sister is even less inclined to allow kindness or sentiment to guide her ways. Poor Polly. Her future is not looking so bright at the moment, but the same can be said for the rest of the gang. Her bestie Kerensa is experiencing the "for worse" part of her marriage (seriously...knock-off Star Wars spin-offs? Gheesh!), Huckle may have to go stateside to secure he and Polly's financial future (long distance relationship...uh-oh), Neil has some trauma of his own that may mean a permanent farewell (eek!), and the ghost of one-night-stand past's wife, now widow, makes an appearance, intent on staying for a spell in Polly's little safe harbor. My oh my oh my...what's a girl to do?
|Apparently, the ACTUAL inspiration for |
Mount Polbearne was St Michael's Mount!
In the end, I fell in love with Mount Polbearne as much for the location as the characters. They are a varied bunch and their differences vary as much as the weather or waves, but they stick together and make their mark on their little corner of the world. I will admit, I enjoyed book one slightly more so than book two, simply because so much is happening, all the introductions, and journeys of the heart keep things moving. A good portion of the second book deals with their lives separately as things unravel at a snail pace...but if you stick with it, you'll be delightfully rewarded in the end. Recommended read for eager fans of this author's previous works as well as those looking for a great summer reading escape.
About the author....
Jenny Colgan is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous novels, including Little Beach Street Bakery, Christmas at Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop, and Christmas at the Cupcake Café, all international bestsellers. Jenny is married with three children and lives in London and Scotland.
Special thanks to Michelle, Amelia, and Onalee at William Morrow for the review copies. (THANKS!) For more information on these titles, the author, or the publisher, feel free to click through the links provided above. Both books are available now via William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf or virtual retailer of your choosing.
Until next time...happy reading!