Monday 7 June 2021

Guest Review: Sunrise by the Sea by Jenny Colgan

When she is given the opportunity to move to a remote tidal island off the Cornish Coast, Marisa Rossi decides some peace and quiet might be just what she needs.

Since the death of her beloved grandfather back in Italy, she's been struggling to find a way out of her grief. Perhaps this will be the perfect place for her to recuperate.

But Mount Polbearne is a far cry from the sleepy little place she was imagining. Between her noisy piano-teaching Russian neighbour and the hustle and bustle of a busy community, Marisa finds solitude is not so easy to come by. Especially when she finds herself somehow involved with a tiny local bakery desperately in need of some new zest to save it . . .

Review: I am a great fan of Jenny Colgan’s writing and was very happy to find a new story from her set on the island of Mount Polbearne and featuring many of the inhabitants I have got to know and love from her Beach Street Bakery stories, of course including Neil the puffin. Although the setting and cast will be familiar to many readers, the book can easily be read as a standalone as the story centres on two newcomers to the island as well as providing updates on the lives of recurring characters. As I anticipated, I was quickly drawn into this tale and rapidly found myself lost in the island setting. 

At the beginning of the story we meet Marisa, who has been profoundly affected by her grandfather’s death to the extent that she has become a virtual recluse. A friend suggests that a move to the island of Mount Polbearne, joined to the Cornish coast by a tidal causeway, might provide a tranquil environment where she can recover. However, her new home is far from peaceful. The thin walls do nothing to block out the noise from her Russian piano teacher neighbour Alexei, another newcomer to the island. There is also plenty of noise from other inhabitants and tourists. Just when it seems that her move is not helping her find a way out of her grief, an emergency on the island forces her to emerge from her isolation. Her cooking prowess proves to be just what the community needs and ultimately leads her to the island bakery and a way in which she can help to save it from closure. 

I laughed, cried and cheered my way through this book. Marisa’s tale was so compelling and Jenny Colgan’s writing brought her to life so successfully that I could feel her pain as she struggled with extreme grief. I felt sure that she was going to be OK when she got to Mount Polbearne and the welcoming people there, but her accommodation and her difficult neighbour just seemed to add another problematic dimension to her struggle with life. I loved her relationship with her grandmother in Italy. Thank goodness for Skype that allowed them to cook together and exchange banter. Alexei was also an interesting character, not always likeable, but struggling to find his way. I have loved all the stories set on this island and revolving around the bakery; other fans will be glad to know that there is plenty involvement of the familiar characters in this story, including Polly, Huckle and Reuben. This is a book that I can wholeheartedly recommend to other readers, even if you are not familiar with the series. Tissues may well be required for the tears, whether of sorrow or laughter. 

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

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