Little Beach Street Bakery
Book 1 in the Little Beach Street Bakery series
Author Jenny Colgan
Narrated by Veida Dehmlow
Published by Tantor Media
Publication date Sep 16, 2015
Running time 13 hrs
Also available in paperback and e-book formats from William Morrow Paperbacks/Harper Collins
On Sale: 03/31/2015 | Pages: 448
Audiobook provided by Tantor Audio for review purposes. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own, unless otherwise noted.
Polly Waterford is recovering from a toxic relationship. Unable to afford their flat, she has to move miles away from everyone, to a sleepy little seaside resort in Cornwall, where she lives alone above an abandoned shop.
And so Polly takes out her frustrations on her favorite hobby: making bread. But what was previously a weekend diversion suddenly becomes far more important as she pours her emotions into kneading and pounding the dough, and each loaf becomes better and better. With nuts and seeds, olives and chorizo, with local honey (courtesy of local bee keeper, Huckle), and with reserves of determination and creativity Polly never knew she had, she bakes and bakes and bakes . . . and people start to hear about it.
Sometimes, bread really is life . . . and Polly is about to reclaim hers.
This book, thoroughly charmed me, as did most of the recording. There’s a sweetness, a positivity, and “can-do” feeling that the protagonist, Polly, engenders throughout. She doesn’t let things get her down. That’s a feature in a book that can work if the person isn’t perfect, and that is the case here: Polly is not perfect. While she is generally considerate she does make the wrong move, and she might say the wrong thing sometimes.
Another thing that is lovely is the way Colgan describes local traditions. The way centuries old professions and such are shown as a natural part of life. It was respectful. Later, I had the thought that it reminds me of the writing of Jill Shalvis, with less sex, and a British [Cornwall?] accent; it had that small town feel that I love so much in Jill’s books.
The recording is generally excellent, except for the narrators portrayal of an American Southern accent, that of Huckle starts off atrocious. The writer, indeed, has a very skewed idea of Americans. She seems to find the Americans crass – at least one rich American anyway. She gives him a generous heart but makes him a beloved asshat. Towards the end Huckle’s accent becomes, if not Southern, at least bearable. Another small issue is the fluffy way some difficulties, like licensing a bakery, are faced, Other voices like Polly’s, and her boss’s are excellent and I felt she totally nailed it.
The book has comic moments, romantic, but not gratuitously sexual moments, and a few tense and sad ones. There’s more than just a story about two people finding each other, it is about them finding themselves, finding what matters to them, and having the fortitude to stay the course.
An island like this one is much like a “Close quarters/high pressure” situation. It is a small island, although not crowded and the economic issues being faced as well as the emotional and physical issues make the experience more intense — magnified. When something goes wrong, everyone knows it. But then again, unless you have done something heinous, it is a little like having a family that has your back.
At the beginning of the story, Polly saves a wild animal. That becomes one of the most endearing aspects of the book. With everything that is going on in Polly’s life, this little animal depends on her, and by helping it, she takes her focus off her own woes: something trusts her and depends on her. It’s so adorable! It also balances some of the harsher aspects of the story.
If you like charming British romance set on the sea, with a little romance, the tiniest bit of steam, some sad moments,, and American asshats, then this is a must read. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this and would like to start in on SUMMER AT THE BEACH STREET BAKERY!
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Note about the “featured image” above the post. The novel mostly takes place in Mount Polbearne, a fictional location the author based on an actual place called St. Michael’s Mount. You can read about it here: