Tilly Tennant returns to the blog with a lovely story of holidays, friendship, growth and love in
Cathy’s Christmas Kitchen
There are a few writers who just make the season bright and cheery for me, and Tilly Tennant is one of those. I’ve read everything she’s written, and several have ended up in my favorites – books that I go back to again and again, purely for the smile they leave me with. Cathy is still regaining her footing after her mother’s death – as Cathy was an only child, her father passed when she was young, and her mother’s ill health meant that she needed full-time care for the last few years of her life. Having lost her fiancé, her mother and her willingness to try new things, Cathy remembers her mum with baking: using the recipes they created together since she was little – to share with others, or simply feel that connection.
Fleur, Cathy’s boss at her part-time job in the markets has a flower stall and is Cathy’s staunchest ally and friend. Always pushing Cathy to step out and do more with her baking, or to meet new people – she’s full of praise and push – the combination that Cathy needs to help with her confidence, her reluctance to put herself out there and her constant fantasies about ‘what might have been’ with her fiancé. When Cathy joins a charity event where baked goods are purchased with the money to go to charity, she’s introduced to a lovely group of folks, with one woman closer to her age with whom she bonds instantly. And her cakes are such a huge hit that she’s started a weekly ‘baking class’ to share her beloved mother’s recipes with others. And the preparation leads her to start writing them down – creating a little book that Fleur has been after her about for ages.
Oh this was so sweet – from the participants in the baking classes, to Cathy’s learning to stand up for what she wants, and even her recognition of the teen, niece of her new friend, who is busy ‘teenagering’ her way through the classes, even as she shows great promise. When you add in the ‘random man walking his dog’ on the path that she uses into town when time permits, and their instant connection, the story just weaves a spell around you, even as the cakes are mouthwateringly described and make you want that recipe book NOW. Sure there are missteps and miscommunications, and the fiancé returns (married but indecisive and intrusive) and Cathy has to put her foot down – finally – the hopes that Cathy and Matt will find their way to one another, that the book will please some (or even many as an offer she couldn’t believe goes a long way to helping her confidence) and Cathy’s own genuine ‘niceness’ brings her happiness – with a lovely ending that makes it all ‘holiday cheer and goodness’. Grab this for those moments when you wonder just why you thought “family holiday” was the thing – you’ll close the last page with a whole new perspective on what family, friends and the holidays are.
Title: Cathy's Christmas Kitchen
Author: Tilly Tennant
Genre: British, Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Food / Recipes, Friendship, Grief, Holiday Themed, Humor elements, Romantic Elements, Second Chance, Setting: Britain
Published by: Bookouture
Published on: 1 October, 2020
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google
As the snow flutters down in the little village of Linnetford, escape to a cosy farmhouse kitchen, scented with the rich aromas of fruitcake and gingerbread, where a love of baking is about to unite two lonely hearts…
Cathy cooked at her mother’s side her whole life and could bake a fairy cake before she could ride a bike. Now she is facing her first Christmas without her beloved mother, she’s determined to use her memories for something positive. She decides to organise a weekly cooking class, sharing her mother’s precious recipes with other lonely souls.
There’s just one small spanner in the works: teenager Tansy, who attends Cathy’s classes even though she’s rude to everyone there and seems to hate every minute. Cathy is poised to ask Tansy to leave, but her uncle, physiotherapist Matt, begs her to give the teenager another chance. And Cathy can’t resist Matt’s sparkling hazel eyes and incredibly kind heart…
But just as Cathy is feeling she might find joy again, her ex returns to Linnetford, desperate for a second chance. With Matt becoming distant as his life gets more complicated, it seems so easy to return to the safe embrace of someone she knows so well. Can Cathy avoid the temptation of falling back in love with the man who broke her heart and let Christmas bring her the greatest gift – that of happiness?
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.