The Little Bakery on Rosemary Lane by Ellen Berry

The Little Bakery on Rosemary Lane by Ellen Berry

 

33939393Publisher: Avon

Publishing Date: 7th September 2017

Series: Rosemary Lane #2 (read my review of Book 1 here)

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 368

Genre:  Women’s Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

If you want to move forward, sometimes you have to go back …
Prepare to fall in love with beautiful village of Burley Bridge.

Growing up in a quiet Yorkshire village, Roxanne couldn’t wait to escape and find her place in the world in London. As a high-powered fashion editor she lives a glamorous life of perennial singlehood – or so it seems to her sister Della. But when Roxanne gets her heart broken by a fashion photographer, she runs away, back to Della’s welcoming home above her bookshop in Burley Bridge.

But Burley Bridge, Roxanne discovers, is even quieter than she remembered. There’s nothing to do, so Roxanne agrees to walk Della’s dog Stanley. It’s on these walks that Roxanne makes a startling discovery: the people who live in Burley Bridge are, well, just people – different from the fashion set she’s used to, but kind and even interesting. Michael, a widower trying to make a go of a small bakery, particularly so. Little by little, cupcake by cupcake, Roxanne and Michael fall into a comforting friendship.

Could there be a life for Roxanne after all, in the place she’s spent 46 years trying to escape?

Rating: three-stars

 

“The Little Bakery on Rosemary Lane” is the second book in the Rosemary Lane by Ellen Berry series but it can easily be read as a stand – alone. The book mentions some of the characters from the previous novel but it entirely focuses on a new character, Roxanne. She has left Yorkshire as a teenager, and now she’s in her late forties and loves her work as a fashion editor. She’s passionate about her job, and she’s also successful, she has great ideas and she knows what it is the readers of the magazine want to see. However, there are some changes to come in the magazine and it’s a little unsettling – as well as her relationship she’s in starts to shake the foundations. So Roxanne decides to go back to Yorkshire where her sister Della still lives – Della, the one who owns the cookbook shop from the previous book.

This story started so, so well! I was doing the virtual high – fives because it was feeling like reading the good, old Fiona Gibson again – the writing was so warm and engaging, the story was flowing and I was incredibly caught up in the story. However, the more I got into the book, the slower and flatter it felt. There was not much happening and I had a feeling it is very repetitive and in the end I found myself skipping some of the passages and even a chapter or two – I am very sorry for this but it just didn’t keep my attention. Then there is the same thing as with the first book in the series, “The Bookshop on Rosemary Lane” – the bookshop is in the title, as is the bakery in this book, but they are not the huge part of the story, the bakery hardly features in this story and it’s just misleading.

I did like Roxanne. She was a great leading character. She was very passionate about her job, you could really feel she loves what she does and that she feels comfortable in her own skin. She was creative, and I always love this in characters. However, she finds herself at the crossroads right now, what with big changes at work and some troubles in love paradise, and we accompany her on her journey to find out what she really wants.
I really liked how Roxanne started to see that she really likes the countryside and that there is much more to living there as she thought, even though she sometimes learn to like it in the hard way, like going for a walk with the dog totally unprepared and dressed in very unsuitable clothes. It was nice to see her changing, making new friends, helping at the shop and feeling well in her own skin.

The London part of the book was really good, fast – paced and I totally enjoyed it. However, the Yorkshire part, while really important, as it was the time that Roxanne – of course! – started to change and see what she wants, was for me a little too flat, too slow, too meh. It was a tad predictable and some things, such like the later changes at Roxanne’s magazine, felt much too rushed and much too clichéd and obvious.

Altogether, “The Little Bakery on the Rosemary Lane” was a warm, lovely story. It felt modern and up – to – date and it lovely mixed the world of fashion with cookbooks and fresh, tasty bread. It was about making your own choices, about not letting others to influence you, seeing you can really take the risk. It was an easy, pleasant read with a low – key romance and even though I maybe didn’t love it as much as I initially thought, it was still pleasant enough and I am looking forward the third book in the series.

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The Bookshop on Rosemary Lane by Ellen Berry

The Bookshop on Rosemary Lane

by Ellen Berry

 

 

28595322Publisher: Avon

Publishing Date: 14th July 2016

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 384

Genre: Women’s Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

**Take a trip to the Yorkshire village of Burley Bridge, where a very special little cookbook shop is about to open its doors…**

In the beginning…

Kitty Cartwright has always solved her problems in the kitchen. Her cookbooks are her life, and there isn’t an issue that ‘Cooking with Aspic’ can’t fix. Her only wish is that she had a book entitled ‘Rustling Up Dinner When Your Husband Has Left You’.

Forty years later…

On Rosemary Lane, Della Cartwright plans to open a very special little bookshop. Not knowing what to do with the hundreds of cookbooks her mother left her, she now wants to share their recipes with the world – and no amount of aspic will stand in her way.

But with her family convinced it’s a hare-brained scheme, Della starts to wonder if she’s made a terrible decision. One thing’s for sure: she’s about to find out…

Lose yourself in Della’s world of food, family and friends. The perfect read for fans of Trisha Ashley and Carole Matthews.

Rating: 3/5

Novels with the word “Booskhop” in their titles are trending guys, trending, and it is lovely, because can there be a greater setting to a book then a bookshop? That is, if the above mentioned bookshop appears in the story at all! Ellen Berry, or rather as we know her better, Fiona Gibson, has decided to locate her latest release in a bookshop as well. In fact, this book is the first in the planned for three novels series, and it is a very promising beginning. I hope that the next books are going to introduce us to new characters – I’d hate to see that Della’s business failed.

However, I had a feeling that nothing actually happens in this book, especially about the above mentioned bookshop. I was hoping for so much more about the shop itself but it actually appears only a few times in the story, when Della wonders if to open or not to open, and it’s opening is at the end of the story, so we really don’t know if she’s succeeded or not. I was also incredibly intrigued by the idea of a cook – books shop only (because Della has inherited hundreds of her mother’s cookbooks. Hundreds. Like, almost thousand!) and I was desperate to know how it turned out – unfortunately, I was not to know it. The story instead concentrates on the problems between Della and her husband Mark. It just seemed to take forever for the story to eventually mention the shop but in the end it was as if it was a very secondary subplot, an afterthought and I just found it a little misleading and I felt a little deceived. It is just that you are waiting and waiting for something and it doesn’t come and when it eventually appears you are so annoyed and disappointed.

As much as I liked Della – because I think she was worth liking, yes, she was naive but she was also good – natured and she wanted only good – I hated how short – sighted she was when it came to Mark. He was so distant and moody and behaved in such an obvious way but I think Della wouldn’t see the truth if it came and slapped her on the face. What I liked so much in Della was the fact that she allowed herself to have dreams, and she also was so determined to make those dreams come true. She wasn’t afraid to take risks to follow her heart and I applauded her loud on this, heck, I was giving her standing ovations! Things often didn’t go as well as she’d like them to, and it also made her feel more down – to – earth and realistic, and in these moments yes, she felt depressed and dispirited but she kept going. I only had a feeling, and I didn’t like it at all, that Della is more like everybody’s servant. She looked at the world through rose – tinted spectacles and saw her marriage, business in the same light and it was a tad annoying. But Della’s daughter Sophie was truly a great character and I’d love to see more of her, though due to her leaving for University it wasn’t possible.

What I also liked is the fact that the characters were so normal and not at all perfect. Della’s life could be probably a carbon copy of so many lives of real people, as she was the one out of three siblings taking care of their mother when she was dying of cancer, yet there is almost no gratitude from them towards Della, on the contrary, her brother can only find faults in everything she did for their mother. The characters have the same problems and they were wrestling with them just like we must to. What bothered me however in all those situations was that Della never seemed to pick up a fight, to stand up for herself – I so wanted her to show all those patronizing people in her life that she’s worth as much as they are or even more.

So yes, the book was a nice, easy, light – hearted read but it didn’t deliver for me. It was about things that I didn’t expect, and not mentioning things that I’d love to see more. I had a feeling that the author stretches the events unnecessary. The story was also a tad too predictable, there were chapters that were much too clichéd and far – fetched for my liking. But it is written in a lovely, warm and inviting writing style and there are plenty of humorous moments but also the author proves that she can write more poignant scenes as well. I will be for sure reading the next story in the series, I am truly intrigued and I’d love to see if it continues the story about Della or is going to introduce us to a new set of characters.

The Bookshop on Rosemary Lane by Ellen Berry – Extract

Today I am thrilled to be kicking off blog tour for Ellen Berry‚s delicious novel „The Bookshop on Rosemary Lane„. It’s not a secret that Ellen Berry is in fact the highly acclaimed Fiona Gibson, so if you are a fan you know you can expect a lovely, hilarious but also down – to – earth read. And if you don’t know her yet – which I can’t believe! – it’s a great moment to treat yourself to this book. But before you do this, here is a small extract.

 

EXTRACT

In The Beginning …

Of the hundreds of cookbooks in Kitty’s collection, an extraordinary number were dedicated to cooking under difficult circumstances. Meals With One Pan, Dinner For Pennies, The Frugal Hostess, even Cooking Without a Kitchen. At ten years old, Della Cartwright was intimately familiar with her mother’s personal library; she could instantly locate Blancmanges, Jellies and Other Set Desserts, and lay a finger upon Rescuing Kitchen Disasters with no problem at all. She knew, however, that there was no book in the house entitled Rustling Up Dinner When Your Husband Has Left You For Another Woman. Which was precisely what Kitty Cartwright needed right now.

Stillness had settled over the kitchen in Rosemary Cottage. Even the books, which entirely lined every inch of available wall space – promising infinite culinary adventures – looked forlorn. Usually the hub of the house, filled with delicious aromas as Kitty chopped and stirred, the room felt cold and uninviting now. A few shrivelled potatoes sat in the wire rack, and tiny flies drifted around them. The milk was sour in the fridge, and the Victoria sponge Kitty had made over a week ago sat, hard and uninviting, beneath its fluted glass dome. Still in pyjamas at 2.30 p.m., Della skimmed her gaze over the books. They no longer promised treats. They overwhelmed her.

Della’s stomach growled hollowly. Hunger had driven Jeff, her big brother, to his best friend Mick’s house at the end of the lane, whilst Roxanne, the youngest, would occasionally emerge from her bedroom to snatch a Jacob’s cracker or a handful of dry Sugar Puffs from the cupboard. Mostly, though, she remained in her room, styling the synthetic blonde hair of her army of Barbies.

Della, the middle child, had no interest in dolls. She owned a battered old Chopper bike – the one Jeff had outgrown – that she’d cycle through the mushy fallen leaves entirely covering the winding lanes of the small Yorkshire village of Burley Bridge. Mostly, though, she loved to stay indoors and cook. Kitty had never given the impression that she knew what to do with her children – it was as if they had been foisted upon her, forever requiring name tapes to be sewn into clothes, or to be driven en masse to Clark’s in Heathfield for school shoes – but she did seem to appreciate a kitchen assistant. Della had made this her job. Together, mother and daughter would pore over the books. Whilst Kitty took charge in her rather flappy manner, Della would undertake menial tasks: peeling carrots, trimming green beans, and gathering up the eggshells her mother left strewn around in her wake. She felt useful then, as if she belonged.

Della ran her fingers along the spines of the books. What to Cook Today was where her hand stopped. Perhaps she hadn’t known the whole collection after all. She didn’t remember seeing that one before. She pulled it from the shelf and studied its plain brown fabric cover. It was slightly stained and smelled musty, its title almost faded away. There were no pictures inside: just tiny type on mottled yellowing pages and a few scribbled notes in the margins. Della fetched a notebook and pencil and, installed at the well-worn kitchen table, she started to flick through the book.

Potato Soup, she wrote in rounded childish lettering. Roast Chicken. Semolina Pudding. Warm, comforting foods to coax Jeff back from Mick’s and Roxanne away from her Barbies and, most importantly, their mother away from her glass of gin. Della was sensible enough to know Kitty needed to eat, and that gin and tonic didn’t count as real food, even with ice and lemon.

Getting up from the wobbly kitchen chair, Della took an elastic band from the rubbery ball which Kitty, frugal to the last, had made by collecting the ones dropped by the postman, and used it to secure her thick brown hair in a ponytail. Then she lifted her own navy blue apron from the hook on the kitchen door and, aware of the distant chink of ice cubes in a glass, turned back to the chapter entitled Soups and Starters.

And so she began…

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