Fay Merryweather runs her cake shop from her beautiful garden. She whips up airy sponges and scrumptious scones, while her customers enjoy the lovely blossoms and gorgeous blooms. Looking after the cake shop, the garden and her cantankerous mother means Fay is always busy but she accepts her responsibilities because if she doesn’t do all this, who will?
Then Danny Wilde walks into her life and makes Fay question every decision she’s ever made.
When a sudden tragedy strikes, Fay’s entire world is thrown off balance even further and she doesn’t know which way to turn. Can Fay find the strength to make a life-changing decision – even if it means giving up the thing she loves the most? Life, love and family are about to collide in The Cake Shop in the Garden.
I make no apologies for reviewing yet another book by the wonderful Carole Matthews – The Cake Shop In The Garden has been available for kindle and in hardcover since January, but I managed to contain myself until the paperback was published on 23rd April by Sphere. After all, there may be some of you who haven’t discovered her writing – although I do somehow doubt it when this is her 29th novel to delight her legions of fans (I hope I’ve counted right!). I’m usually a greater fan of her Christmas books – if you haven’t read Calling Mrs Christmas (here’s my review), remedy that as soon as the decorations hit the shop – but this is an unashamedly summery read, and I think it’s one of my favourites.
Fay immediately won a place in my heart – heading for middle age in her old lady cardigan, stuck in a boring relationship with bell-ringer Anthony, at the beck and call of her demanding mother, relaxing by watching reruns of Escape To The Country, cherishing memories of her father who so loved the canal and his barge The Maid Of Merryweather. It’s really no surprise when the arrival of gorgeous Danny on his barge The Dreamcatcher throws her life into disarray.
The cafe and cake shop is beautifully drawn – I have such a clear picture of the garden that Fay works in and walks through to sit by the canal. And then there’s the wonderful Lija – Latvian, sassy, emergency shag kit in her handbag for all eventualities, spiky, wonderful baker and very best friend – who repeatedly had me laughing out loud, but who I grew to really care for.
All the characters are fantastic, from impossibly self-centred sister Edie and Fay’s old cow of a mother, to the dog Digger and old Stan who declares every meal he’s served his favourite. The story is excellent too – quite dark at times but never without humour, and quite a page turner as you hope everything will work out as you want it to. Does it? I couldn’t possibly tell you…
So far – I know there will be others! – this is the book I’d recommend you carry in your suitcase or load on your kindle for thoroughly relaxing and enjoyable sun lounger reading. I absolutely loved every page.
Carole Matthews is the Sunday Times bestselling author of twenty-nine novels, including the Top Ten bestseller A Cottage By The Sea. In 2013 Carole was shortlisted for the Melissa Nathan award for Fiction about Life and Love and she was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Romantic Comedy RoNA in 2012 and inducted into the Reader Hall of Fame by the inaugural Festival of Romance. Her novels delight and dazzle readers all over the world. She is published in more than thirty countries and her books have sold to Hollywood.
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