Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Guest Review: The Little Christmas Kitchen by Jenny Oliver

Ella Davenport is turning her world upside down. She’s ditching her cheating ex, swapping Carnaby Street for Corfu and heading back to the bustling family restaurant of her childhood. but returning home won’t be as easy as she thought…
Meanwhile, her sister Maddy has always loved the quiet pace of island life but now she’s longing to escape. So when Ella arrives in Corfu, she jumps at the chance to trade places and soon she’s exploring the snowy streets of London in search of her own adventure.
But thousands of miles apart and struggling to adjust to their new lives, Ella and Maddy are about to find out that all they want for Christmas is each other…
Combining Jenny Oliver’s trademark warmth and mouth-watering bakes, you’ll devour this is one sitting.


Review: First of all, I must admit that this book has been sitting on my bookshelf for some time, waiting for me to give it the attention it deserved. It was well worth the wait; what a lovely story this is. The striking, Christmassy cover gave me no clue that I was about to be transported to the sun-drenched island of Corfu or experience a Christmas like no other. I was completely spellbound by this tale of a troubled family coming together at this special time of year.


The story revolves around sisters Ella and Maddy Davenport, who were separated when their parents divorced, Ella living with her father and his new wife in London and Maddy with her mother who moved to Corfu, where she runs a taverna. When Ella finds that her long-term partner has been cheating on her, she flees her successful life in London and runs to the arms of the mum she has not visited for years. At the same time, Maddy has found a job singing in a London club and promptly goes off to live in Ella’s flat. Each girl learns a lot about themselves and about their sibling. Ella relives memories of holidays in Corfu, and meets up again with Dimitri, embarrassed when she remembers the crush she had on him as a teenager, but starting to wonder if there is the promise of romance there. She begins to enjoy working in the taverna and cooking alongside her mother as she used to. For Maddy, things don’t work out quite as planned, but she enjoys the insight into Ella’s life, at the same time marvelling at how different life is in London from what she has become used to in Greece. She meets up with her father again and, as an adult, sees that relationship from a different perspective. After such a long time and a great distance apart, will the sisters eventually realise the importance of each for the other?

I have really enjoyed this engaging and heart-warming story, and would recommend it highly to others, and not just as a Christmas book. It is a tale about a family that has been shattered and how healing can be achieved with time. It is also about achieving hopes and dreams and discovering what we really want out of life. There are no ‘baddies’ in the story, just ordinary people experiencing all too familiar problems. I liked that the story was told from the point of view of each sister in turn, allowing the reader to get to know them. Maddy’s experiences in London, especially with Ella’s neighbours, made me chuckle. Of course, with mum owning a taverna, the pages of this book are filled with mouthwatering descriptions of lovely Greek food; luckily there is a selection of recipes for ‘Christmas eats with a Greek twist’ at the end of the book. I don’t know if my cooking skills are up to producing the delicious sounding dishes, so I might just have to set off for Corfu instead.


To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

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