An Island Christmas by Jenny Colgan

An Island Christmas by Jenny Colgan

 

 

39704349Publisher: Sphere

Publishing Date: 18th October 2018

Series: Summer Seaside Kitchen #3 (read my review of Book 1 here and Book 2 here)

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

Christmas on the remote Scottish island of Mure is bleak, stark – and incredibly beautiful.

It’s a time for hunkering down, getting cosy in front of whisky barrel wood fires, and enjoying a dram with the people you love – unless, of course, you’re accidentally pregnant to your ex-boss, and don’t know how to tell him. In what should be the season of peace and goodwill on earth, will Joel think Flora is a bearer of glad tidings?

Meanwhile Saif, the doctor and refugee from war-torn Syria is trying to enjoy his first western Christmas with his sons – but without his missing wife. Can the little family possibly find comfort and joy?

Travel to the beautiful northern edge of the world and join the welcoming community of Mure for an unforgettable Christmas.

Rating: five-stars

Flora lives on Mure and she runs the Seaside Kitchen, the most beloved cafe that offers the most delicious things ever. Her boyfriend Joel, the one who’s American, a high – flying lawyer with quite a few issues from his childhood finally start to open and feel happy. But then something happens – how are they going to cope with it?
Dr Seif and his two boys are still trying to settle into their new family life on the island, and even though the villagers are so welcoming, do they feel like at home? Maybe the school nativity play is going to help? Or not? Will the lovely doctor finally find peace and happiness on Mure?
And Fintan and Colton, who’s terminally ill, and then a very unexpected guest arrive – how are they going to cope with all the things that fate and life thro at them?

The Summer Seaside Kitchen series by Jenny Costello must be one of my favourite series ever and I would love to see more and more of them – and after reading the newest book “An Island Christmas” I see a lot of place and potential for another story. Or two. This book could be read as a stand alone but only just, and I would really heartily recommend reading all the other previous stories – they’re simply gorgeous, you’d miss beautiful stories and to get the characters and what make them tick it’s just better to read them in order.

It was brilliant to be back on Mure, this beautiful and wild island and this being December it showed us also the other face of it – darkness, never ending winds but still there was such a beauty to it, but the author so lovely and lovingly brings it to life and the descriptions of it, and the weather, and how it was like living there were atmospheric, vivid and it was such a great thing to see that the island somehow adjust to the things and events that happen to the characters.

Next to the characters that I know are going to stay with me for ever, I think, they all truly have place in my heart and that I adored to see again, the author introduces us to some new ones. I love how Jenny Colgan creates her characters – they may seem horrible and unpleasant but she still lets them open and blossom and in the end you’re going to love all of them, no matter what. I adored how they all seem rough and as if they don’t give a damn but in fact they all have hearts in the right places, they’re warm and quirky and genuine. I think I have already said it in my reviews of the previous books but the characters are exceptional – realistic, so different to each other, they represent different views and ideas, they have different life goals and this all makes the reading so much more interesting and deep.

Of course, I ended reading in tears. Jenny Colgan has such incredible way with words that they simply touch at your heartstrings and strike in all the right places.
As in the previous books in the series, here the author also touches upon heavier issues, and the way she writes about them, guys, it’s indescribable. She mixes lightness and sadness and seriousness in such a way that you would never expect. It was a special book, in many ways, poignant and cleverly funny, heartbreaking and heart – warming and I literally couldn’t put it down. Full of Christmas and festive mood, wonderful and full of heart characters, and not only the main ones but also the villagers of Mure have made me cry, as they’re simply amazing. It was one great rollercoaster of emotions and it’s really hard to do this book justice with a short review. Just treat yourself to it, you’re going to love it!

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The Endless Beach by Jenny Colgan

The Endless Beach by Jenny Colgan

 

35890882Publisher: Sphere

Publishing Date: 11th January 2018

Series: The Island of Mure #2

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

Number of pages: 412

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Dreams start here…

‘Charming, made me long to escape to Mure. Total joy.’ – Sophie Kinsella

On the quayside next to the Endless Beach sits the Summer Seaside Kitchen. It’s a haven for tourists and locals alike, who all come to eat the freshest local produce on the island and catch up with the gossip. Flora, who runs the cafe, feels safe and content – unless she thinks too hard about her relationship with Joel, her gorgeous but emotionally (and physically) distant boyfriend.

While Flora is in turmoil about her relationship. her best friend Lorna is pining after the local doctor. Saif came to the island as a refugee, having lost all of his family. But he’s about to get some shocking news which will change everything for him.

As cold winter nights shift to long summer days, can Flora find her happy-ever-after with Joel?

Rating: five-stars

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Lately Jenny Colgan was proving with her every new release what a brilliant author she is, and each of her book was better than the previous one. However, with “The Endless Beach”, she has probably outdone herself – this book is perfect in every way. I would go that far and say that it’s probably Jenny Colgan’s best yet. This book has fulfilled all of my expectations and more. It is heart – warming, uplifting, emotional and incredibly realistic, and written in this brilliant and unmatchable Jenny Colgan’s writing style.
This is a sequel to “The Summer Seaside Kitchen” that can be read as a standalone, but I personally would recommend to read the first book as well – even though there is a reminder in the letter from Jenny at the beginning of “The Endless Beach”, which is very helpful btw, the first book was equally gorgeous and I think it will let you to understand the characters and their actions much better.

In “The Endless Beach” we’re back to the island of Mure and the characters that I already love plus some of the new ones, that are equally adoring. Flora’s storyline was supposed to be the main one, and well, yes it was, but she shared the book pages equally with the other characters, whose stories and backgrounds and present were as intriguing and hooking as hers. To be honest, I have a feeling that this time the male characters’ subplots were more prominent in this story, which only made it feel refreshing and even more interesting (as if it were possible!). This time it were the men that were hiding something, not the women! The story of Saif was heart – breaking. It was very actual and even though I may think it is a topic that doesn’t necessarily belong in fiction, I could give the author a standing ovation for writing it this way and for finding the courage to make one of her lead character a refugee. It was brilliant to see that the islanders – of course, after initial reservations – accepted him with open arms and what they did later when he brought someone to the island was absolutely gorgeous. His story was such an eye – opener, too, and I fell for him immediately, and I could cry when reading about his past. It was great to be back with Fintan, who can finally be himself and I loved his relationship with Colton, how much in love they were with each other, how they were around each other. There was of course a secret involved and even though I might have started to suspect something, the reveal has totally took me by surprise, took my breath away and made my cry because it was written in such a beautiful, sweet, gentle way, and you could feel through the pages the love and desperation there. Joel… I really don’t know how it is possible to write such raw emotions, I think Jenny Colgan has just got into his head.
The author didn’t forget about our girls, of course. Flora and Lorna’s feelings and emotions are true to life. It was brilliant to see what’s happening in their lives after we have left them behind, closing “The Summer Seaside Kitchen”. I must admit, I have expected that Flora’s life and her relationship with Joel would be plain sailing but it turned out it is far from this. They had their ups and downs and there were some moments that I got a headache as it seemed they just can’t communicate with each other in a normal way. I so wanted to bang their heads together because I so wanted this relationship to work and it just seemed that they rub each other up the wrong way, they’re getting hot and cold with each other all the time. This relationship was so genuine and so raw, they both felt so vulnerable in it because they loved so much but didn’t know how to show this, and it made me feel so, so desperate! Flora has such a big heart, and not only when it comes to be generous when running her own business, no, she’s just a wonderful, good natured person. There is so much passion in her in all aspects of her life, she doesn’t do things halfway through and I just kept everything crossed for her and for Joel. He was distant and sometimes I wanted to shake him but I also knew that there is a reason to his behaviour, and even though we don’t know till almost the end what it is, there was something in Joel that made you fell for him immediately and to understand him without knowing more.
But one of the best characters must be AGOT, and when you read the book you’ll know why I write her in capitals.

The way the story went and the many subplots took me by surprise, I must admit, I think I have expected something different. Not sure what but whatever it was, this story just tug at my heart strings, it was full of emotions and feelings. There was this magic that you always look for in the book that you read, there were brilliant storylines and characters that you could die for, as they so got under your skin. This writing was just one and only. It was beautiful, it enveloped you and you just didn’t want to put this book down.

The setting in this story couldn’t be more perfect! I fell in love with the wild island of Mure when reading the first book, and this story only reinforced me in this feeling. I think I would feel completely contended there. There was a brilliant community feeling that was especially visible at one of the weddings when the author so beautifully put it into words that it is the most important thing for the islanders and even though they’re not officially invited, they are invited, they can come and feel at home, and it was brilliant. The author lets us know the ins and outs of the little school run by Lorna, the island living and its villagers, when they know your comes and goes better than you yourself but they only mean well.

“The Endless Beach” was a real escapism and it is really so hard to put into words how great this book was. There was everything I was looking for from Jenny Colgan and even more. It was full of laugh out loud moments, as well as many poignant ones, it was full of heart and understanding and with incredible depth. It made me hold my breath and then start to hope again. There was the lovely mention of the mystery of myth, that I simply adored, there was this close knit community, it brought to us some new and fresh perspectives of characters that usually are not introduced in such stories. I really didn’t want this book to come to an end and if you haven’t read this enchanting story yet, drop everything and treat yourself – but be warned that you’re going to disappear for a few hours, as it’s just unputdownable.

The Summer Seaside Kitchen by Jenny Colgan

The Summer Seaside Kitchen by Jenny Colgan

 

34267172Publisher: Sphere

Publishing Date: 9th February 2016

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

Number of pages: 384

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Flora is forced to move back to the tiny island of Mure from the bright lights of London.
It’s tough: even the beautiful landscapes and bright blue sea can’t lift her spirits – she’s too busy looking after her dad and her feckless brothers. Then she chances upon her mum’s collection of recipes and begins to cook her way through it. As she she reconnects with her family, and the place she was born- might she also find herself?

Rating: 4/5

Ah yes, there is nothing better than a new Jenny Colgan’s book, right? When starting her novels I know that I am for some really delicious recipes, mouth – watering descriptions of food, brilliant, warm characters and this special writing style that is already becoming Ms Colgan’s hallmark – nobody writes like she does, I think you must agree with it. Her stories always make me smile and make me feel warm, they are uplifting and even if they are full of obstacles and troubles, the sun is always shining at the end. And it was the same with “The Summer Seaside Kitchen”!

The whole bunch of the characters in this novel is perfect. They are so different to each other, they represent different views and ideas, they have different life goals and this all makes the reading so much more interesting and different. Next to the down to earth villagers we have a controversial millionaire, then we have the issue of being a homosexual in such a small and traditional community – but a community that can take you by surprise more than once, as they are people who are more open than we can expect and more clever than we suspect! It is incredible how well Jenny Colgan can capture all the differences and how well she can get into the characters’ heads and make them so realistic and genuine – they are all so well drawn, so honest in the way they are and talk.
I loved the two sides to Flora. The one who wanted to live in London, lead the life just like many other young people, go to the cinema or the bar. Then the other one, who she wanted to forget about, but that was so strongly rooted in her – that she comes from a remote island where everyone knows everyone, where there is no anonymity of London. They were so brilliantly captured by the author, you could feel Flora’s indecision and I really wanted to see which way she’s going to go. She feared so much to come back to Mure, to see her family but you can take a girl out of the village but you can’t take the village out of the girl, right? I loved Flora, she was sensitive and she had heart in the right place. She was funny and sharp and clever and all her feelings and emotions were brought to us in such a genuine, honest way that I had a feeling I’m just sitting in her head, so well I could understand her.
The interactions in Flora’s family were so brilliantly captured! The troubles, the misunderstandings, the typical banter between the siblings, it just felt so natural and so true. You can’t help but fall for all of them, even with their harshness but you just can’t not like them and wish them all best. I would love to catch up with Flora, her brothers, little niece and to see how her relationship is going on!

This story is set on a Scottish Island, and Jenny Colgan couldn’t have think of a better setting. The descriptions of the fierceness of the island, of it being so natural were so vivid and so beautiful, and you know what, I could fully understand the reluctance to the wind farm, as lately there are five such monstrosities standing almost at my doorstep, and I always thought that oh well, a windmill here or there, it’s just there, but that’s not true – I can’t get used to them and they are spoiling my beautiful views, so I really just could imagine how they would look like on this remote island. Jenny Colgan has a real talent to capture the beauty of the landscape, of nature, and also she must be the queen of capturing the essence of people living on Mure, their solitude, their way of thinking, them being so proud of their background, parentage. This all has just made reading this much more special. The way Jenny Colgan writes about the island just brings it to life, the descriptions of the sea, of seals popping their heads above the water, about the weather that can change in one second, the landscape are so brilliantly vivid and I loved them.

But guys. As much as I love Jenny Colgan and loved “The Summer Seaside Kitchen” I can’t help thinking that it’s slowly time for a change. I mean, this author follows one formula and even if it’s OK because it’s working wonders and I also fell for it, sometimes there comes this niggling feeling that I’ve been there, I’ve seen it, that it feels like reading a copy of a copy of a copy of a book. I would love to see something a little different, something that doesn’t feel exactly like the previous book. But apart of this – the story was really well plotted and constructed and I enjoyed the various subplots – it was not only about Flora but also about her bothers, about the island, about the outdoor – experience guides, about local businesses, about family bonds. There is also this little bit of romance and Flora has really predispositions to complicate her love life, and to be honest this time I personally didn’t know which one of the guys would be better for her, and also it wasn’t clear till the end, and I enjoyed that this aspect of the story was not so predictable.

“The Summer Seaside Kitchen” is really a wonderful, welcoming read and it is so easy to get wrapped up in this story. The characters got under your skin and you fell for them so very quickly. It is impossible not to love the setting, and all the pagan mythology elements that Jenny describes were brilliant, as well as the names of the characters – it just made the reading so much more authentic, keeping up with the traditions, feeling the atmosphere and community spirit. A lovely read and I will be getting back to this book for sure! Highly recommended!

 

Christmas at the Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

Christmas at the Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

 

31024492Publisher: Sphere

Publishing Date: 20th October 2016

Series: Little Beach Street Bakery #3

Source:  Purchased.

Number of pages: 354

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Welcome back to Mount Polbearne! The new book from Top Ten bestseller Jenny Colgan is full of festive joy, warmth and the best hot chocolate you can imagine…

It’s Christmas in the Cornish coastal village of Mount Polbearne – a time for family, friends and feasting.

Polly Waterford loves running the Little Beach Street Bakery. She’s at her happiest when she’s creating delicious treats and the festive season always inspires her to bake and knead something extra special for the village residents. In fact, the only thing she loves more than her bakery is curling up with her gorgeous boyfriend, Huckle. She’s determined that this Christmas is going to be their best one yet, but life doesn’t always work out as planned…

When Polly’s best friend Kerensa turns up with a secret that threatens the life Polly and Huckle have built together, the future begins to look uncertain. And then a face from Polly’s past reappears and things become even more complicated. Polly can usually find solace in baking but she has a feeling that’s not going to be enough this time. Can she get things back on track so that everyone has a merry Christmas?

Rating: 5/5

 

Guys, really, I love Jenny Colgan more and more, and her every new release is better than the last one, and soon I will have to rate the books with 10 stars or more. Even though I wasn’t the lucky one to receive a review copy of “Christmas at the Little Beach Street Bakery”, without hesitation I clicked the “buy” button on Amazon because I knew that with this novel the author is for sure going to take me back to a lovely, full of warmth place and larger – than – life, cordial and sincere characters, and this is what I needed so much!

There was a basic introduction to the book at the beginning of this story, or a quick reminder to those who read the previous novels, and also the author mentions things that happened before, so yes, I would say you could read “Christmas at the Little Beach Street Bakery” as a stand – alone novel but please do read the first two books! You can’t imagine how much you’d be missing without reading them! And as I not only love Jenny Colgan but I love the Little Beach Street Bakery books so much it breaks my heart to see that it is the last book in the series (though the author herself says “probably the last one” – so maybe there is hope!!!) – there is so much potential in the characters and I would love to see more about Polly and Huckle. These two are the perfect couple, don’t you think? Their relationship is so honest and so genuine, with all the awkward moments, the problems and the way they act and react, and the dialogues are just so spot on!

Polly is still working at her bakery, baking all sorts of incredibly sounding breads and cakes, and you know, I read a lot of books that centre around food, but Jenny Colgan always manages to make my mouth literally water and she makes me to long to transform myself into a domestic goddess baking ciabatta or spelt bread like crazy. I already have a Jenny Colgan apron, so actually nothing prevents it, right? Polly lives in a lighthouse with Huckle and, of course, we can’t forget about the most important character in the story – namely Neil the Puffin! This book just wouldn’t be the same without Neil – this time slightly overweight and behaving probably like a dog, but that’s just Neil and guys, there is going to be a third children’s book featuring Neil! I personally can’t wait. Neil and his “eeeps” just made me go weak at the knees and he’s not only funny, but he’s Polly’s real solace and he always knows when she’s sad. Huckle wants to take their relationship (I mean, Polly and Huckle’s, not Neil and Huckle’s) this one step further but there is something holding Polly back – what is it? Cold feet or something more? And is Huckle going to wait until she eventually decides?
This book also centres around Polly’s friend Kerensa and her eccentric but – please let me say this – with a golden heart – husband Reuben. Kerensa might have made a mistake that can turn to be a real problem with huge consequences. She needs Polly more than ever, but can Polly keep Kerensa’s secret, as she and Huckle don’t have any?

You know what, I think that if you showed me the book without telling me who’s the author, I’d immediately be able to tell that it’s Jenny Colgan – her writing style is so special and it’s her hallmark and she can really put into words feelings and emotions that I’ve no idea you can at all describe! There is a spark, a flair in Jenny Colgan’s writing. It is warm and so descriptive without being too patronising or without focusing too much on things that are significant but overdoing them. The writing style and the storytelling make you feel welcome and keep you glued to the pages and in the end “Christmas at the Little Beach Street Bakery” is this kind of book that you want to read for ever and ever but finds yourself finishing it in a few sittings. I was completely absorbed in this story and I desperately wanted to know how it’s all going to end – the many subplots that added so much charm were truly hooking, and it was funny and poignant at the same time. The characters are facing many, many problems, nothing runs smoothly to be honest, but the way they deal with those problems is not only realistic but also convincing and I often found myself nodding my head and feeling I’d do the same.

It was absolutely brilliant to catch up with the Mount Polbearne characters and with this island village itself. I didn’t have any problems to catch up with all the characters, it truly felt as if I was back with good, old friends of mine. Polly was always there for her friends, and it was a lovely aspect of her – even when she put all of them before herself. But it was also great to see that those friends were also there for Polly. This story mentions probably all of the characters that have ever entered the scenes of the Little Beach Street Bakery series, and even the puffin sanctuary has a problem this time! We, of course, keep to see Jayden who’s baking with Polly, there is Serena, who now lives in a flat above the bakery and somehow this really felt as if Jenny Colgan is tying up all the loose ends. This time also the author gives a deeper insight into Polly’s background and even though it somehow didn’t sit with me so well, as it felt so sudden, it was also poignant and made me feel the history has just went round in circles.

Jenny Colgan can also wonderfully put into words her love to Cornwall and its wild and moody beauty. And Mount Polbearne itself, where the tide can prevent you from leaving the island or coming back home – hard but it has its appeal!

One of the subplots in the book was the fact that Polly wasn’t too willing to take the next step and marry Huckle, and I must admit that it was probably the only thing that made me feel a little frustrated – with Polly. Because, to be absolutely honest, I couldn’t so much understand her dilemmas and indecision, especially as it was crystal clear that she loved Huckle to the moon and back and their love has already weathered many testing times. Yes, she explained, and I could see where she was coming from but still it was incomprehensive to me. And there came a moment that I was so, so scared! I was scared that Polly will drive Huckle away and that he won’t come back and that there won’t be happy ever after after all… It was, however, of course brilliantly written and the moments when she realised she can’t live without Huckle were so beautiful, and yes, I wanted to bang her head then but I also respected her fears.

Little Beach Street Bakery is one of my favourite series – all the books have the feel good factor to them and brought me tons of happiness. And really, guys, I adored “Christmas at the Little Beach Street Bakery”. Simply, I adored it. It had all what I’m looking for in books and much, much more. You can easily feel that Jenny Colgan has poured her soul and heart into writing this book, it is detectable – the characters are unforgettable, lovely people that found a place in my heart, the setting is described with lots of love and events are so close to life. It is a perfect winter read, a MUST HAVE this winter, and please, make your friends and family happy by giving them a copy of this beautiful novel for Christmas – they’ll be delighted with this lovely and festive story about love, friendship, troubles, worries and secrets but also about hope and forgiving. Highly, highly recommended!

Sophie’s Shelf: Polly and the Puffin 2 by Jenny Colgan

Polly and the Puffin: 02 The Stormy Days

by Jenny Colgan

 

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Publishing Date: 11th February 2016

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 96

Genre: Children’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 Synopsis:

The boat masts jangled louder and louder. Above their heads, black clouds gathered. Polly shivered, and then the rain started to fall: plop, plop, plop.

Polly is waiting for something important to happen. But waiting is hard. It’s even harder when it’s raining and you can’t go outside…

Can Polly find enough to do to keep busy ALL day? And what will happen when her puffin friend, Neil, decides to fly off into the storm?

 

Perfect for bedtime stories and early readers. From the author of The Little Beach Street Bakery.

Contains recipies, activities and rhymes in addition to the story.

Rating: 5/5

 

We – it means yours truly and my daughter Sophie – are great fans of Neil. I’ve started to adore him reading Jenny Colgan’s „adult” novels and Sophie totally fell in love with him after reading the first book about him, „Polly and the Puffin”, so we were both really excited when our copy of „Polly and the Puffin: 02 The stormy Days” arrived. I think I don’t have to mention that after opening the envelope I was forced to drop everything, forget everything I planned to do and read the book to Sophie. Not once. And not twice… Let’s not start the counting, let me tell you that you can see our book was read. Often.

We both loved to see Neil and Polly again, and also the very patient Mummy, too. It was easy enough for my 4 – year – old to understand it and the beautiful illustrations really help. There are also, like in the first book, some activities at the end of the book and we’ve already made the little boat. It is written in such a warm, adorable way that the pages turn themselves, and reading it loud to your child is a real fun, as it is so rhythmic. What I, as mum, totally adored, is the fact that Jenny Colgan „smuggles” here some important and strong messages and the way how beautifully and effortlessly she captures the relationship between mum and daughter.
It is again a charming, sweet story that I myself am reading with a pleasure, and my daughter loves – so really a perfect little book!

The Little Shop of Happy Ever After by Jenny Colgan

The Little Shop of Happy Ever After

by Jenny Colgan

 

Publisher: Sphere

Publishing Date: 11th February 2016

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 384

Genre: Literature/Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 Synopsis:

Given a back-room computer job when the beloved Birmingham library she works in turns into a downsized retail complex, Nina misses her old role terribly – dealing with people, greeting her regulars, making sure everyone gets the right books for their needs. Then a new business nobody else wants catches her eye: owning a tiny little bookshop bus up in the Scottish highlands. No computers. Shortages. Out all hours in the freezing cold; driving with a tiny stock of books… not to mention how the little community is going to take to her, particularly when she stalls the bus on a level crossing…

Rating: 5/5

 

As soon as I’ve seen that Jenny Colgan was writing a new novel, I started to count the days to its release – having read Jenny’s last book almost one year ago I was already missing her writing and her lovely stories. But if the book was written by any other author and had the same title, I would also love to read it, for sure. I mean, „The Little Shop of Happy Ever After” – isn’t it what we all are dreaming about? And after reading the note from the author on the cover of the book and learning that it’s going to be about books and love to books, I started to read it almost immediately after it arrived. I mean, book about books! Hello????

What already had me in a great mood was the list of places where the author reads her books at the beginning of the novel, and believe me, there are some most unusual ones! Nevertheless, I’m very glad to report that I use to read my books in almost all the same places as Ms Colgan, and yes, I perfected the act of reading while breastfeeding my daughter as well! (I probably had the best breastfeeding pillow in the world.)

But, to be honest, the book started very slowly for me and I was already panicking if it’s going to change or not, if it’s going to speed up. And what a relief it was when relatively quickly it turned upside down and I raced through the story, not wanting to put it down for a single second. The main reason for this were the characters. I loved Nina from the very beginning, and it has only a little to do with the fact that she’s as obsessed with books as I am. I would love her even if she wasn’t because she was just brilliant. Believable, totally normal in the ways she was, often living in a la – la land of fantasy and when she embarked on the new adventures I wanted to cheer her on, and I kept my fingers crossed for her. She was really so normal, not sure what she should do, afraid of loosing her job, and I really, really loved how Jenny Colgan brilliantly pictured her, not completely understanding the times that she must have to live in, not so up – to – date with all the modern technology, and yet a totally normal, young girl. She was just a girl after my own heart and I could easily imagine her being my friend. While Surinder was her totally opposite and, to be frank, at the beginning I had some problems to warm to her. She was the voice of reason as opposed to the dreamy Nina, she was the one down – to – earth in contrast to Nina’s flying in the clouds but altogether, she just wanted her best friend to be happy, and in the end I loved her almost the same as Nina. She was uncompromising and she said the things as they were, no beating about the bush.

There were also some male characters in the story and boy, can Jenny Colgan write a male character, mmm, you could really choose from many of them. And sure, there was a little romance in the book here and there, and I loved all of them, but the author has made it SO unpredictable that for a long time I really didn’t know how this part of the story is going to end and if Nina is going to find her happy – ever – after, and if so, with whom. Finally a book that is not so straight – forward on the love – front! But as we are already speaking about guys in the story, please just let me mention Lennox, the sturdy, moody Scottish farmer, and please let me tell you that I’d take him with all his moods, like right now. Even with him not understanding about books and reading (but he will get it eventually) – really, his comments about reading made me cry with laughter, and his dry sense of humour is just my favourite kind.

Then there was the writing style and the language – the story was written in a brilliant, brilliant way, with a great dose of a fantastic humour and laugh – out – loud one – liners. I just couldn’t help but giggled at some of the descriptions and dialogues, sharp and clever and oh so funny, the author was able to drop a word or line here or there that put the whole situation in a different light, and change the whole atmosphere with only one word, and it was fantastic. The sarcastic one – liners, and that you must also be able to read the humour between the lines – it just made the book for me.
But Jenny Colgan champions not only humour in this novel, oh no. No matter what she writes about, if those are dilemmas, uncertainty about the future, or descriptions of the party for the longest night of the year (it was brilliant, BTW, I so loved the feeling of friendship, companionship, and that well, you needed to come with pockets full of money to this party as well, ha ha, and how wonderfully she described the music – I could really hear it!) – they are all beautiful, vivid, colourful pictures that I didn’t have any problems to see in my mind. I also adored how the author was able to capture the feelings of uncertainty that Nina felt, no matter if it was about her love life or her deciding to put all her eggs in one basket and leave everything she knew behind and start afresh – they were absolutely genuine and honest, and nothing in those descriptions felt too pushed, too forced or too far – fetched. Well, maybe the scenes including the train were a tad too unbelievable for my liking and I still can’t imagine how they were able to leave all the things on the tree but I can live with it :)

„The Little Shop of Happy Ever After” is a wonderful, perfect book, not only for such book – worms as we are – everybody is for sure going to find something to love there. It has believable characters that, sooner or later, we root for, laugh – out – loud dialogues, fantastic descriptions and this overwhelming feel – good factor, and when reading it I didn’t need any blanket or chocolate – the book itself felt like this. No matter if the story deals with more important issues, such like illness or children not going to school, or makes us laugh, it is all done with subtlety and gentleness, and after this slow start I really couldn’t (and didn’t want) to put it down. It made me feel so happy inside and made me believe that there might be a happy ever after for all of us. Thank you, Jenny, for this lovely story!