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…
The book opens with a snippet of Della's childhood; her father had left and Della clearly needed to take the reigns to feed their family. It was okay though as her mother had an extraordinary amount of cookery books to choose from, so she knew just where to begin.
Forward forty years and Della's mother is about to take her last breath, and Della feels she'll even mess that up by missing it. She's hitting mid life, her daughter is growing up fast and on the verge of starting uni and her husband, Mark, seems far more interested in his job caring for other people's scabby feet than her.
Things in Della's mind seem to change though when she inherits her mother's seemingly endless supply of cookbooks and it causes tension around the home, with the question keeping cropping up - 'Just what was she going to do with them?'
She decides to inject some purpose into her life and transform a little shop in the village she grew up in into a specialist shop for cookery books, and she has all the romantic notions of how it will look, and who will shop there - just not that much idea how to run it!
But in seemingly the style of capable Della, she formulates a plan and does not let the way her life is panning out get in her way.
I found Mark deplorable from the off - bad husband he was, and the rest of her family didn't offer much support to her but that just went to illuminate what a strong woman Della was. I was so pleased the way her life worked out and was surprised by the curve ball that delving into her mother's past threw her.
I loved the characters, especially Della (of course) and Monica, the older lady Della befriended in unusual circumstances.
All in all I found this first offering from Ellen Berry a lovely, feel good story and I really can't wait for the next two books out in this series.
A well deserved 5/5!