Oh dear. I really wanted to like this. I've seen Jenny Colgan on the telly a couple of times and she seems so nice, as well as being from my neck of the woods, roughly speaking. However, this book was a hot mess.
The basic gist is that Issy, an HR admin (I think?) in a big property development company gets made redundant, and goes into the former family business of baking. She gets messed around by a skeevy property development dude, and finally ends up finding happiness with some investment banker guy, her cafe, and some new friends. Sounds like a pretty sweet story, right?
Look, I was hardly expecting high literature. And I'm able to tolerate a lot of plot stupidity - I love the Divergent
trilogy for god's sake. But this was just plain stupid
. Issy sometimes seems fairly smart, but then is idiotic enough to run back to Graeme every time he appears on the scene, despite him showing little evidence of having corrected the flaws that she herself has already recognised in him! Austin never goes to his job and is incompetent when he is there, but this doesn't appear to bother anyone! Pearl's behaviour... generally.
The first two thirds of the book is just about good-natured enough to save it from being dull, but the last third became so full of contrivance that I could barely stand it. I began to dislike the characters, and I found the storyline to be trite and irritating. Finally, the ending was just pathetic. The happily ever after part was a complete anti-climax as you'd known for too long exactly how it was going to play out - I mean, the story was overly predictable, but literally every detail of the climax is spelled out about 100 pages before it happens. The bittersweet part with Issy's grandfather's death was probably the best thing about the book as it really brought the story full circle. However, I didn't really believe Issy's reaction to it - I feel like this relationship should have been more central and properly integrated to the book. Finally, the end twist was what really sickened me on the book. Did Issy learn nothing from her experience with the cake shop and her mistakes with Graeme?
So, I'd give this three out of ten.