New to me author Amy Miller comes to the blog today with the second in her Wartime Bakery series, set in Bournemouth during World War II, and focusing on the homefront. Please read on for my review of
Wartime Brides and Wedding Cakes
You don’t need to read the first in this series to enjoy this book, but you certainly will want to. A story that is rich in hope, struggle, stiff-upper lip and plenty of love, the people at the Barton Bakery are making bread and making do. Starting with Audrey’s husband Charlie heading off to war before sunup one morning, leaving only a note and no tearful goodbye scenes, Audrey’s life is like many others: pulling up her bootstraps and getting on with it. It almost feels as if there is a constant mantra running in her head – others have it worse, smile and move on. With the onset of war, Audrey has managed to create a space that is inviting, welcoming and needed: for her step-sister Lily and her infant girl, her brother Will returned from the war missing a foot, having gained some burns and lost any shred of motivation or happiness he once had. Maggie the young girl that helps at the counter with plenty of secrets hiding behind her smile, and Elsie, William’s fiancé, working and helping her mother and sister to cope with her father’s internment as he is thought to be a threat as an Italian. Then we have John, the man who taught and worked with Audrey’s husband Charlie: back to help with the baking so Audrey can continue to manage the counter, paperwork, regulations and struggle with supplies for the home and the shop. Lastly is Mary, a child evacuated from London after losing her mother and brother in a bombing, her father in the fight. Audrey has long wanted a child, and through her gentle treatment, concern and love, has come to consider Mary as family, and would open her home to more children if she could.
What’s most intriguing about this story is the determination and heart that are so prevalent here. Firstly the focus is about the deprivations and challenges in wartime Britain: food, clothing, housing and even safety as the constant barrage from the air and the never-ending threat of bombing serve to make each day one of challenges. Yet Audrey meets all of these in the best way she can: smiles for the customers, a constant presence each day: kind, friendly and known. With her tendency to seek out the best in everyone, despite her own constant worries and fears: this little shop has become the center of the neighborhood, with Audrey at the core. Lovely moments with each character, including a conscientious objector who provides several moments of friendship, comfort and kindness to Aubrey bring that sense of community to the story and allows people, however briefly, to understand the challenges and how the war and threats from bombs amplified emotions, struggles and choices.
Title: Wartime Brides and Wedding Cakes
Author: Amy Miller
Series: Wartime Bakery #2
Also in this series: Telegrams and Teacakes
Genre: Family Saga, Historic Woman's Fiction, Setting: Britain, World War II
Published by: Bookouture
Published on: 7 March, 2018
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
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January 1941: As Charlie Barton tiptoes silently out of the house one cold winter morning to go off and fight for his country, his wife Audrey is left to run the family bakery on her own.
Times are tougher than ever, but at the Barton Bakery in Bournemouth, Audrey is determined as always to serve the town with love, loaves and cakes, even as the town is reeling from the struggles of the Blitz.
Audrey’s brother William has returned from battle with serious wounds. His fiancé Elsie is waiting for wedding bells, but William is a changed man, and will her hopes be in vain?
Bakery helper Maggie has her heart set on dashing officer George. But will George still want to marry her when he discovers the truth about her family?
And Lily, Audrey’s stepsister, is struggling to raise her illegitimate baby and facing judgement from many in the town. The man who broke her heart returns with an offer, and Lily faces a hard decision about where her future lies.
When disaster strikes the bakery, Audrey fears that everything she has worked for may be ruined. With her shop threatened and her family in turmoil, can she fight to save everything she holds dear?
Wartime Brides and Wedding Cakes is a romantic and heart-warming tale of cakes and confetti, perfect for fans of Sheila Newberry, Nadine Dorries and Ellie Dean.
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: