Delighted today to be joining the blog tour for The Little Bakery on Rosemary Lane by Ellen Berry (I suspect you might already know Ellen under another name – but my lips are sealed!), published by Avon Books on 7th September in paperback and for kindle.
If you want to move forward, sometimes you have to go back …
Growing up in a Yorkshire village, Roxanne Cartwright couldn’t wait to escape and make her place in the world. Now, thirty years later, she’s a fashion editor living a glamorous life of perennial singlehood in London – or so it seems to her sister Della. But when Roxanne finds her career under threat, she feels herself pulled back to the quiet village she’d been so desperate to leave.
As Roxanne reacquaints herself with life on Rosemary Lane, she slowly makes a surprising 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 single dad trying to make a go of a small bakery, particularly so. Little by little, cupcake by cupcake, Roxanne and Michael fall into an unexpected friendship.
Could there be a life for Roxanne after all, in the place she’s spent years trying to escape.
This book has everything you could want – food, family, friends and feuds, and is the perfect read for fans of Trisha Ashley, Katie Fforde and Carole Matthews.
Yorkshire, cupcakes and romance – that really sounds like one I must catch up with later! Let’s take a look at an extract…
As she blotted her lips on a tissue, the intercom buzzer sounded. Was that Sean already? Roxanne frowned and checked her phone. Time had run away with her; it was 8.26 p.m. and their table was booked for 8.30. She scampered through to her hallway to buzz him in. She had seen him two days ago but still, her spirits rose like champagne bubbles as she heard the front door close behind him two floors down. No one else had ever had that effect on her. All the terrible boyfriends, the compulsive liars, drunks and narcissists (impressively, some of Roxanne’s lovers had combined all three qualities): how joyful to be free of all that.
Once, her sister Della had joked that she had a talent for choosing men whose job titles required quotation marks: ‘DJ’, ‘record producer’, ‘design consultant’ – and, at one particularly unhappy point, ‘socialite’, which just meant he went out every night and could often be seen with cocaine-speckled nostrils, draped over models. Still, Roxanne had reassured herself: at least these men made life interesting – and what was so great about feeling safe and cared for and loved? Who really wanted a man who would cook for you and cuddle you when you were feeling down? Who’d show up when he’d promised to and didn’t sleep with anyone else? What was so great about that?
Roxanne’s own father, William, had plodded along, finally leaving her mother years after it had come to light that she’d had an affair with an artist from Mallorca. In fact, just a couple of years ago it had transpired that this artist, a man named Rafael, was Della’s real father. Although shocking, the revelation had explained the perpetual tensions between their mother and William at Rosemary Cottage when the three Cartwright children were young, and the simple fact that Della, with her dramatic dark colouring, looked strikingly different to the fair-skinned and blue-eyed Roxanne and their brother Jeff.
For Roxanne, the most baffling aspect had been the fact that William had known about Della’s parentage all along – and chosen to bury his head in the sand. Roxanne never wanted a man like that. She was attracted to fiery, irresponsible types; like Ned Tallow – a ‘party organiser’ – who had once ‘lost’ a ready meal in his oven, having flung it in with such force, it had tipped over and gummed itself to the back. She had always found it almost impossible to resist the charms of the glamorous, the unhinged and frequently out of it – men whom she had supposed epitomised thrilling London life, in contrast to the rather safe and reliable Yorkshire lads she had known back home in Burley Bridge.
However, with Sean she had finally discovered how wonderful it was to be with a properly grown-up man who thrilled her yet still cared. He was cool, sorted and hugely successful as a freelance fashion photographer (in other words, he had a proper profession that needed no quotation marks). Clever, funny and charming, he looked as good in bespoke suits as he did in old, faded jeans, and the only Coke he acquainted himself with came out of a red can.
Sean’s smiling, handsome face appeared as he hurried up the last flight of stairs towards her. It was his fiftieth birthday today, and Roxanne was determined it would be one he would never forget.
My thanks to Sabah Khan at Avon for my reading copy – to catch up with later – and for including me in the blog tour. Here are all the other stops…
About The Author
Ellen Berry is an author and magazine journalist. Originally from rural West Yorkshire, she has three teenage children and lives with her husband and their daughter in Glasgow. When she’s not writing, she loves to cook and browse her vast collection of cookbooks, which is how the idea for this story came about. However, she remains the world’s worst baker but tends to blame her failures on ‘the oven’.