Technically, Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights is a sequel to Cake Shop in the Garden but it stands quite well on its own. I actually only realised that it’s a sequel due to the summarised info dump during the first couple of chapters — think throwback highlight reel at the start of new seasons of TV shows. Once that’s done and dusted, it’s back to regular writing and storytelling.
THE PARIS WEDDING by Charlotte Nash
A lot of the time, single people in their late twenties are portrayed as sad, lonely or desperate in the media. I’m glad The Paris Wedding doesn’t go down that road, even if the main character is pining after “the one who got away”. In fact, she’s invited to his destination wedding in Paris, which gives rise to a lot of awkward situations and some humorous ones.
ALL THAT SHE CAN SEE by Carrie Hope Fletcher
All That She Can See is the kind of whimsical that fills you with warmth and puts a smile on your face. In some ways, it reminded me of the TV show Pushing Daisies because (1) pies! and (2) the main character uses her abilities to for intended good. However, the interpretation of “good” is dependent on the larger impact that Cherry isn’t fully aware of. So yes, if like me, you’re a fan of Pushing Daisies, I do recommend giving All That She Can See a go.
MY ITALIAN BULLDOZER by Alexander McCall Smith
Food writer travels through Tuscany on a bulldozer — such a bizarre and hilarious image this premise painted. It sounded so ludicrous and I have to admit, it made me think of The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. That set the bar of absurd humour unfairly high but I couldn’t help it. Perhaps it’s a good thing then, that My Italian Bulldozer wasn’t filled with tall tales, even if that slightly disappointed me.
THE SUMMER SEASIDE KITCHEN by Jenny Colgan
The atmosphere of The Summer Seaside Kitchen was incredible. Even though Mure isn’t a real island but an amalgam of various islands of the Northern Isles, it completely came to life. I could picture the scenic views, the landmarks and houses so perfectly, I very nearly felt as though I had been transported to Mure myself. The more I read, the more I fell in love with the island. That’s how well Jenny Colgan detailed everything!