The Beachside Sweet Shop by Karen Clarke
Publishing Date: 2nd March 2017
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review!
Number of pages: 267
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance
Chocolate fudge, butterscotch and raspberry bonbons… treat yourself to some sugary treats, a big slice of friendship and a sprinkling of romance at The Beachside Sweet Shop.
When Marnie Appleton inherited a sweet shop from her grandfather she was determined to do his legacy proud. The shop has been a much-loved feature of the little seaside town of Shipley for years, but now Marnie needs to bring it up to date, and she’s recruited gorgeous new assistant Josh to help.
Marnie gets busy redecorating the shop and choosing delicious new sweets to stock, but things are never that simple: new neighbour Isobel, a fame-hungry blogger, is on a crusade against sugar, and she’ll go to any lengths to secure bad publicity for Marnie’s shop.
Marnie fights back with homemade sugar-free treats, but with her best friend Beth heavily pregnant, her grandmother Celia recovering from an operation, and her very recently ex-boyfriend Alex returning to Shipley with a new love, Marnie has a lot on her plate.
And then there’s Josh, with whom Marnie is struggling to keep her relationship strictly professional…Will both the sweet shop and love flourish?
A deliciously heartwarming read about family, friends and handmade coconut ice. Perfect for fans of Cressida McLaughlin, Debbie Johnson, and Tilly Tennant.
As soon as I spotted “The Beachside Sweet Shop” on NetGalley I was immediately drawn to it – this cover is adorably gorgeous and even though I am more a chocolate girl myself only looking at this glass filled with candies makes my mouth water. Yes, I had some doubts before I started reading it as I was scared that it’s going to be the next in the popular formula of books set at the seaside and in a sweet shop with nothing more to offer, but no worries, guys – it turned out to be a hilarious, light – hearted, wonderfully enjoyable story that will allow you to put your mind to rest.
There is a lot going on in Marnie’s life, especially when the shop is considered. Winning the prize (because the shop has won a prize for the best local business!), instead of bringing joy, brings commotion and troubles, as one of the new neighbours, ex – model, starts a campaign against sweet shop and sugar in general. Then Marnie looks after her grandmother who has broken her leg, and this accident has actually made Marnie to break up with her boyfriend Alex, but our Marnie – of course – still has feelings to Alex. But did Alex move on in New York or is he still waiting for Marnie? Then there are troubles with the regular supplier of the sweets, and Marnie’s best friend Beth, who also helps at the shop is heavily pregnant so she is in a need for a substitute, and then suddenly the gorgeous Josh appears, and does Marnie feel attracted to him? You see what I mean, right? Not a single flat moment, and this all topped with brilliant one – liners and fantastic sense of humour.
The characters were larger than life and so colourful, and it was so easy to fell in love with them. Josh is not only a skateboarding sexy god but he also does magic, ha! There is also Doris Day, a wannabe detective, neighbour of Marnie’s grandmother and she is really the one that knows everything, but not in this bad, prying way. The weakest character was, I think, Isobel – the way she acted just didn’t sit with me, you couldn’t take her and her reasoning seriously. Marnie herself was not too bad. However, her best friend Beth was the most colourful, engaging character of all, I think. She was shining through the pages and I so want a book about Beth! Actually, those were the scenes with Beth that made me laugh out loud, especially the ones when she got into labour. Hilarious!
Now, guys. I would be myself if I haven’t had some issues, right? There were some things that didn’t sit with me about Marnie, as much as I loved her, her indecision made me feel so, so frustrated! I was thinking she’s only looking for excuses because if she was so desperate to leave Shipley then nothing would keep her, and the only thing she did was moaning how much she wants to leave and making a martyr of herself when staying because of her grandmother breaking a leg or nobody from the family wanting to take care of the shop. I also didn’t get the issue with Alex. Why did she tell him in the first place he should go to America? Again, to feel like a martyr? Then, the thing with Isobel and her campaign to close the sweet shop. I was like, what, closing one little sweet shop will solve all the problems? And who the hell did she think she is to decide she has the power to do what she wants? Because she’s a yummy – mummy?
The Beachside Sweet Shop itself reminded me of the old – school sweet shops, painted in pastels, with black and white photos on the walls and yellow awning. The novel was mostly set there and it’s only a pity that there was not more about its interior and that it took Marnie so long to change it. However, I liked that it had its own group of customers and that it had a history and that people appreciated it as much as the sweets themselves. I think the shop just reminded those people of their own childhood and Marnie did her best to stock all kind of candies possible. But not the willies (ha! Read for yourself! Hilarious!).
“The Beachside Sweet Shop” is the first book in the series and I am already looking forward to “The Beachside Flower Stall”. It was light – hearted and witty and it kept me entertained, and it was written in a way that kept me glued to the pages – I’ve finished this lovely novel about being unhappy in life but eventually changing it, taking control in your own hands in one day. It is not a story that is going to change lives but it is destined to make you feel happy and warm inside. Recommended!