Polly Waterford is recovering from a toxic relationship. Unable to afford their townhouse, she has to move miles away from everyone, to the sleepy little seaside resort of Polbearne, where she lives alone above an abandoned shop.
And so Polly takes out her frustrations on her favourite hobby: making bread. But what was previously a weekend diversion suddenly becomes far more important as she pours her emotions into kneading and pounding the dough, and each loaf becomes better and better. With nuts and seeds, olives and chorizo, with local honey (courtesy of local bee keeper, Huckle), and with reserves of determination and creativity Polly never knew she had, she bakes and bakes and bakes . . . And people start to hear about it.
Sometimes, bread really is life . . . And Polly is about to reclaim hers. (Goodreads)
My rating: 4/5
I’m going to keep this one fairly brief, folks.
Little Beach Street Bakery is a book I bought on impulse one day at our local bookstore (we have quite a good selection of English books for a non-English speaking country in our largest bookstore), just as I finished with one of the last work assignments before the summer vacation. I browsed the fantasy section and nothing jumped out at me and then I saw a lovely cover winking up at me from the romance section and I went for it, wanting a diverting, cute, positive read that would make me feel good and fuzzy and relaxed.
Jenny Colgan did not disappoint! This book has everything I craved: a slightly lost, but very loveable heroine, Polly, a seemingly-hopeless situation she finds herself in (she impulsively moves to this tiny village and starts a baking business), an American bee-keeper, fishermen, a gutsy best friend and a grumpy landlady. All in all, fabulousness. Living in a decrepit appartment, Polly starts making friends despite the fact that her move to this village is “temporary” and works her way through the complex world of small-town relations.
The story is peppered with delicious recipes – which is a specialty of Colgan’s, apparently, as all her books seem to include an appendix of recipes that her heroines make in the course of the novel! This time, it’s mostly bread – crusty foccaccia, bagels, cheese straws, cinnamon rolls… you name it. I love that this is actually an insight into the author’s life: Colgan says she’s tested all the recipes herself. As chewing on the paperback brought no satisfaction (kidding…), I’ll have to try out making the goodies in real life someday.
There’s a quote from Sophie Kinsella on the cover, though, which does the book a disservice in my opinion, as Colgan’s heroines never struck me as stupid – and I think Kinsella’s are usually quite dumb. I’ve previously read Colgan’s Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe and I liked Issy, the heroine, just as much as Polly. Kinsella’s Shopaholic series and her The Undomestic Goddess all featured women who were supposed to be smart but made frightfully moronic decisions… Well. I think that fans of Jenny Colgan would appreciate smarter heroines – Katie Fforde’s independent women come to mind (check out Wedding Season or Practically Perfect if you’re looking for something light but witty).
Have you read any books by Jenny Colgan?
Do you like food-related books as much as I do? :)