Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Review: The Little Bakery on Rosemary Lane by Ellen Berry

Prepare to fall in love with beautiful village of Burley Bridge.

Growing up in a quiet Yorkshire village, Roxanne couldn’t wait to escape and find her place in the world in London. As a high-powered fashion editor she lives a glamorous life of perennial singlehood – or so it seems to her sister Della. But when Roxanne gets her heart broken by a fashion photographer, she runs away, back to Della’s welcoming home above her bookshop in Burley Bridge.
But Burley Bridge, Roxanne discovers, is even quieter than she remembered. There’s nothing to do, so Roxanne agrees to walk Della’s dog Stanley. It’s on these walks that Roxanne makes a startling 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 widower trying to make a go of a small bakery, particularly so. Little by little, cupcake by cupcake, Roxanne and Michael fall into a comforting friendship.
Could there be a life for Roxanne after all, in the place she’s spent 46 years trying to escape?

Roxanne Cartwright, fashion editor for a glossy London magazine appears to have a perfect life. If you fancy single(ish), child free and living in central London mixing with glamorous models and styling dazzling fashion shoots (you may guess this was once my dream...) but changes being implemented within the magazine by a know-nothing editor start to crumble Roxanne's perfect job and make her seek refuge with older sister, Della, who runs a cook book shop in her home town of Burley Bridge in rural Yorkshire. Somewhere that Roxanne had been trying to run from all her adult life.

We first met Roxanne, but mainly Della, in Berry's first book (one of my favourites, Fiona Gibson writes under Ellen Berry for these Burley Bridge novels). We didn't get to know too much about Roxanne but she did come across a bit selfish and caught up in her glamorous London life to help Della when their mother died. I must admit I wasn't keen on her character when we met her in The Little Bookshop on Rosemary Lane, but getting to know her properly I really did like her in this book.

So with her sabbatical in the country well underway she begins slowly to reacquaint herself with the village and the natives, and begins to realise they're not all Cath Kidston wellies and pots of homemade jam (although IMHO nothing is wrong with either of these), and friendships begin to blossom.

Her relationship slightly cool - on/off boyfriend Sean (a bit of a creep) plays on her mind a lot while in Burley, she knows something is amiss but still tries her hardest to make it work, so keeps the lovely Michael from the quaint and gorgeous sounding bakery at arms length when it's clear they both like each other, and the friendship that is sparked between Roxanne and Michael's teenage daughter, Ella is charming and probably my favourite aspect of the book.

The book itself is beautiful, the writing superb and the descriptions charming, how I'd love to live in Burley Bridge, I quite fancy opening up my own boutique there, or perhaps a chocolate shop? Anyway, I did love the book but it fell slightly away from getting 5* as I would have liked it to have been a little bit more about the bakery - which really did play quite a small part? I seemed to be waiting throughout a lot of the story, then realised by 90% it wasn't coming. But don't let this put you off unless you want a blow-by-blow account of how many cream horns Michael sells throughout the week, because it really is a lovely, charming, witty and well written book. I'd love to see, and am sure there will be, another Burley Bridge outing to come.

Review copy provided via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

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