Wednesday 6 September 2017

Guest Review: The Little Bakery on Rosemary Lane by Ellen Berry

**Take a trip to the Yorkshire village of Burley Bridge, where a new arrival is going to shake things up…**
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?

Review: This book follows on from The Bookshop on Rosemary Lane, which I read with great enjoyment last year. I have been looking forward to reading this sequel ever since, and am delighted that it has appeared at last. Although this is a follow on story, it can be read on its own. Points referring to events happening in the first book are explained as we go along. 

The central character in this story is, in fact, one that we met briefly in the first book about Rosemary Lane. She is Roxanne, sister of Della, who runs the bookshop. Although Roxanne lives and works in London as fashion director of a glossy magazine, she feels that the time has come to visit her sister and take some time away from the hustle and bustle of her busy life and a career that seems to be turning in a direction she doesn't relish. She is also beginning to have doubts about boyfriend Sean. On her return to Burley Bridge, the Yorkshire village where she was brought up, she finds that things are different from how she remembered them, and she soon finds herself relaxing into the much quieter life there. As well as meeting up again with people she knew when growing up, Roxanne gets to know divorcee Michael, who owns and runs the bakery on Rosemary Lane along with his teenage children.

I have enjoyed reading this book just as much as I did the first one. I always enjoy reading stories containing characters I have met before and find out what is happening with them. There are some lovely new characters in this story as well. I particularly enjoyed reading about Roxanne's elderly neighbour in London, Isabelle, who had obviously led a really interesting life; I would really like to hear more about her. Some of the other characters from Roxanne's life in London are not quite so likeable, living strange, almost false lives. The contrast between the two locations in the story is marked; the author makes the little village of Burley Bridge sound so appealing that I would love to visit. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good read to curl up with. 

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