Series: Little Beach Street Bakery #1
Published by William Morrow on March 31, 2015
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In the bestselling tradition of Jojo Moyes and Jennifer Weiner, Jenny Colgan's moving, funny, and unforgettable novel tells the story of a heartbroken young woman who turns a new page in her life . . . by becoming a baker in the town of Cornwall
A quiet seaside resort. An abandoned shop. A small flat. This is what awaits Polly Waterford when she arrives at the Cornish coast, fleeing a ruined relationship.
To keep her mind off her troubles, Polly throws herself into her favorite hobby: making bread. But her relaxing weekend diversion quickly develops into a passion. As she pours her emotions into kneading and pounding the dough, each loaf becomes better than the last. Soon, Polly is working her magic with nuts and seeds, chocolate and sugar, and the local honey--courtesy of a handsome beekeeper. Packed with laughter and emotion, Little Beach Street Bakery is the story of how one woman discovered bright new life where she least expected--a heartwarming, mouthwatering modern-day Chocolat that has already become a massive international bestseller.
Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan is my favorite new find! I tore through it in one day. Love love loved.
Polly is heartbroken after she and her ex-boyfriend lose both their business and their flat. The stress from all of this causes a breakup that devastates Polly, so she ends up leaving Plymouth and the city life that she knows. She needs a break from the bustling noise and pace, and she needs a much cheaper place to live now that she has been left with a ton of debt. Polly decides on Polbearne, a small fishing village that is connected to the mainland only by a causeway that is submerged some of the time, depending on the tide. The best that she can afford is a crumbling apartment above an abandoned shop, but she takes it and makes it her own.
Polly begins to make bread because baking is what she knows. She loves baking, the push and pull of the dough, the feel of her muscles straining against the work. She throws her heartache into the task; she throws her hopes for her future into it as well. As she bakes bread, the locals begin to notice – bread smells nice when it bakes, right? They come around to say hello, and she slowly makes friends. Soon she is feeding the local fishermen their lunches and bartering loaves of bread for things like more flour and honey from the local beekeeper. Polly is making a life for herself.
She’s also making a teensy bit of trouble for herself, as the already-established local baker (who is also Polly’s landlord) doesn’t take kindly to someone that can bake bread and draw a crowd better than she can…
Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan felt like sunshine and happiness for me from the first page until the end. I just know that I was smiling from ear-to-ear while I was reading it. When I picked the book up, I wasn’t expecting that really, because I’ve never read Ms. Colgan before. I’m so thrilled and excited that I have her entire backlist as well as more in this series to keep me company and make me smile more. I can’t even tell you how good I felt when I finished this book.
Polbearne’s island village setting here is so neat. Having the town only accessible when the tide is out, leaving the causeway uncovered, is such a neat thing for me to read about because it is something that I personally can only really imagine. Ms. Colgan made this place come to life for me and made it easy for me to visualize with her descriptions and imagery. The charm of the community that wants to thrive yet also not fall victim to the traffic and commercialization of tourism: I loved that! I also loved everything that Polly was able to bring to the community as an “outsider” from the bigger city of Plymouth. She had great ideas on revitalization and growth that didn’t put the integrity of Polbearne at risk. The locals grew to love her as one of their own and she eventually was able to find herself again after the “failure” in her previous relationship and business venture, which was quite a blow for her.
I ALWAYS love reading about characters that flail-yet-succeed in their coming-back.
The secondary characters are fantastic – a unique and varied group of people (and a pet puffin) that made me feel like I was a part of their community. They laid out the feel of a small fishing village so neatly: the ins and outs, the good and the bad, the joyous parts and the parts that are really hard about that type of life. I particularly loved Huckle, the American beekeeper that became a friend to Polly as the other outsider on the island, but eventually grew to be more.
I’m seeing people call this book a romance, and there is romance in it, but this story is so much more than that. This is the story of a person bouncing back after life’s curveballs, and part of the bouncing back includes a romance. As I see it, the romance is not the biggest part of the story, at least for a good while, and I really liked it that way.
I’m crazy-eager to start the second book. I want more from Polly and the rest of this island, including Neil, the pet puffin. I’m telling you, if all of Jenny Colgan’s books are like this, just clear my TBR and shelves, because this is pretty much all that I want to read.