The Little Village Bakery
by Tilly Tennant
Publishing Date: 15th June 2016
Source: Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!
Number of pages: 242
Genre: Women’s Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)
Help yourself to a generous slice of Victoria sponge, a perfect cup of tea and a big dollop of romance. Welcome to the Little Village Bakery.
Meet Millie. Heartbreak has forced her to make a new start and when she arrives at the old bakery in the little village of Honeybourne she is determined that this will be her home sweet home. Her imagination has been captured by the tumbledown bakery but with no running water and dust everywhere, her cosy idea of making cakes in a rural idyll quickly crumbles.
Luckily the locals are a friendly bunch and step in to help Millie. One in particular, Dylan, a laid-back lothario, soon captures her attention.
But just as Millie is beginning to settle in, an unexpected visitor from her past suddenly turns up determined to ruin everything for her. It’s time for Millie to face the skeletons in her closet if she’s going to live the dream of running her little village bakery, and her blossoming romance with Dylan.
A charming heartwarming novel about love, life and new beginnings perfect for fans of Milly Johnson and Debbie Johnson.
I didn’t hesitate long to request „The Little Village Bakery” from Bookouture on NetGalley – it is written by Tilly Tennant, author that is already known to me, whose books I’ve enjoyed before, it has a wonderful, colourful cover and it has the word „bakery” in the title. I love books about food, I love them even more when the synopsis promises a new start for the characters and hints at lovely, helpful locals and some hidden secrets, and if Tilly wanted to try herself in following the trend about writing a foody novel, why not? It is also the fist book in the series taking place in the small village of Honeybourne.
So full of expectations I started to read the book. It started promising and kept me hooked but soon, very soon, the book went only downhill for me. The synopsis tells us mostly about Millie and this is what I’ve expected – Millie and her work with the old bakery to turn it into a new one, with running water and filled with wonderful aroma. However, I had a feeling that this soon became only a sub – plot, as we were introduced to many other characters who quickly took over the scenes. I’m not saying it’s wrong, of course not – it’s just that I felt that synopsis promised us something different to this story. Also, the tagline on the lovely cover suggested it’s going to be „a feel good romantic comedy with plenty of cake” but I found none of those. Maybe there was a cake or two mentioned but for me it was not a romantic comedy. The story was heavy, not at all light or fluffy, full of serious moments, and the writing also didn’t help the case, as I personally missed the lightness and humour that comedy promises. The romance aspect also didn’t work for me, and I couldn’t bother with the characters’ running around themselves in circles and complicating things more than they were worth to complicate. The romance was for sure not the sole focus of the storyline, but neither was the bakery, and I wanted so much more of the bakery! It is what the title suggested, right, and really, I felt robbed of thousand sorts of bread and cakes, getting instead some „magic” potions, and the magic element to the story felt like an afterthought to be honest, like something added hastily to … I don’t know what. Drag our attention away from the bakery or rather lack of it?
I had a feeling that the author wasn’t sure which story she wanted to write, Millie or Jasmine’s, as the book mostly switched between those two characters, and their stories were so different that I had a feeling as if I were reading two different books. Tilly Tennant wanted to add some tension by introducing us to Millie’s nemesis (who was a little too far – fetched for my liking and a little on the not possible – side) and Jasmine’s problems, but both of those subplots seemed either too far – fetched and not at all gripping or too clichéd and annoying. However, I warmed much more to Jasmine than to Millie, that is to the moment when suddenly Jasmine’s marriage went jeopardy, and the way it happened spoiled her story to me very much. It just felt so forced and artificial. There was something in Millie that just didn’t let me like her and warm to her the way I like to with my characters and I’m not sure why to be honest. Maybe it’s because I had a feeling that she didn’t want to give anything about herself and from herself, and even revealing the truth about her (so late. Too late probably?) didn’t make me warm to her. Millie and Jasmine are complete opposites and hats off to Jasmine for always trying with Millie and never giving up on her.
This could be a lovely story about finding friendship, love and a forever place but so very sadly I couldn’t connect with the book and it just didn’t deliver for me. I eventually found myself skipping some passages and skimming through the chapters as it didn’t keep my attention. However, it might of course be only my problem, as I expected something like Alex Brown’s Tindledale series – light and feel good, which I didn’t get here, even though I felt the synopsis promised me, and those are my expectations and disappointment speaking, so whatever you do, please try the book for yourself, you may fell in love with Millie and Honeybourne.