I have to confess I became attracted to Cornwall when I watched the first Poldark series on PBS. The remake stirred up those feelings all over again. Jenny Colgan’s new book Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery is set off the Cornish coast, so that was point one in its favor.
Point two is that the story actually takes place on an island that can be reached by a causeway only at low tide. I live on an island off the coast of Florida, but fortunately you can get here via a bridge.
Point three, of course, is the word bakery in the title.
I am also quite fond of books set in small towns, and this one is particularly charming. The townsfolk are quirky. The spunky, artisan-bread-making heroine lives in a lighthouse and has a pet sea bird . And an appealing boyfriend who would rather tend to beehives than make a fortune in corporate America. It’s veddy, veddy British, so even the slang is fun.
When Mother Nature throws a spanner into the works, the scenes that follow are riveting. As we know here in Florida, living on an island can sometimes make heavy demands. It is heartwarming to read about how this brings a community together. Well done.
I haven’t read any books by Mary Balogh lately, and I don’t really know why that is. I have always liked her work. I’m glad I happened on her latest Only a Kiss and will not be so remiss in the future.
Percy is the poster boy for dissolute man about town, too rich and far too handsome for his own good. He is so bored he decides to hie himself off to Cornwall to see for the first time the estate he inherited two years back.
He finds the house is not in the disrepair he assumed although it is rather overrun by every stray cat and dog in the neighborhood. He also finds Imogen, the widow of the man who should have become the earl, had he survived the Napoleonic Wars. His internal monologues are both charming and very revealing.
Has Balogh been watching Poldark redux as I have? Mayhaps, since the plot also includes smuggling which seems to be a cottage industry in Cornwall. But I digress.
Imogen is a member of the otherwise male Survivors’ Club. Eventually, we and Percy find out why. And it’s not at all what one would assume.
The supporting cast is filled with well-drawn characters—townspeople, lots of family, and finally the other “Survivors.”
I’ll be waiting eagerly for the final book of this series, Only Beloved, due out in May 2016.