Continuing with my British book obsession, allow me to present the first in the Beachside Bay series by Karen Clarke. This lovely little read in an afternoon for a bit of an escape story is loaded with sweets (the candy kind), humor, laughter and a touch of redemption. Please read on for my review of
The Beachside Sweet Shop
Struggling to keep her sweet shop afloat, a legacy from her grandfather, while dreaming of “elsewhere’ has Marnie in a bind. She gave up what she thought was most important: travel, a fiancé and new experiences in order to care for her grandmother after her grandfather’s death. See, they were the stable home and guidance for Marnie as a child, as her mother had spent very little time in Shipley, preferring the vistas and spaces of elsewhere. A bit of a negative Nancy, at first Marnie is full of self-doubts, woe is me, and existing in this life as she dreams of other places. It doesn’t help that her shop is in serious need of a reboot, and the new to the village neighbor is bound and determined to use a crusade against sugar to keep her in the public eye, by protesting and harassing Marnie’s shop at every opportunity.
To the good: Marnie has a best friend in Beth, who, heavily pregnant, is more than supportive of her friend even as her husband can’t seem to keep civil. Funny and outrageous, Beth is the light and shine that Marnie needs through the story, until she comes to her senses, unearths a family secret and finds a new path for herself. Along the way, we have the mysterious Josh –clever, experienced and helpful. More than willing to pitch in and give Marnie a hand with the shop, even as his reasons are never quite clear until the end. A lovely flirtatious friendship bounces between the two, keeping Marnie’s rather socially awkward moments and her own internal conflicts free reign to run amok. And run amok they do: for so long she’s determined that, despite the pushes from her friends, the clear realization that she isn’t responsible for caring for her very independent Grandmother, and her own litany of excuses to stay put are really simply that. Excuses to keep her home, despite her feeling that she should want more.
Clever and frustrating in alternate turns, the story shows Marnie’s growth and understanding of herself and those around her as she begins to gain self-confidence no longer comparing herself to her mother or others. With a litany of characters from the village and plenty of moments that instantly bring readers a picture of scenes, the story is light, quick moving and engaging. While I wasn’t quite sure of just what to expect, I’m curious to see the next book set in the small town of Shipley, and see if Marnie continues to thrive.
Title: The Beachside Sweet Shop
Author: Karen Clarke
Also in this series: The Beachside Flower Stall
Genre: British, Contemporary Romantic Comedy, Small Town
Published by: Bookouture
Published on: 2 March 2017
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google
Chocolate fudge, butterscotch and raspberry bonbons… treat yourself to some sugary treats, a big slice of friendship and a sprinkling of romance at The Beachside Sweet Shop.
When Marnie Appleton inherited a sweet shop from her grandfather she was determined to do his legacy proud. The shop has been a much-loved feature of the little seaside town of Shipley for years, but now Marnie needs to bring it up to date, and she’s recruited gorgeous new assistant Josh to help.
Marnie gets busy redecorating the shop and choosing delicious new sweets to stock, but things are never that simple: new neighbour Isobel, a fame-hungry blogger, is on a crusade against sugar, and she’ll go to any lengths to secure bad publicity for Marnie’s shop.
Marnie fights back with homemade sugar-free treats, but with her best friend Beth heavily pregnant, her grandmother Celia recovering from an operation, and her very recently ex-boyfriend Alex returning to Shipley with a new love, Marnie has a lot on her plate.
And then there’s Josh, with whom Marnie is struggling to keep her relationship strictly professional…Will both the sweet shop and love flourish?
A deliciously heartwarming read about family, friends and handmade coconut ice. Perfect for fans of Cressida McLaughlin, Debbie Johnson, and Tilly Tennant.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: