Friday 1 May 2015

Book Review: The Cake Shop in the Garden by Carole Matthews

TitleThe Cake Shop in the Garden
Author: Carole Matthews
Published: 23rd April 2015
Publisher: Sphere


The Cake Shop in the Garden was another great read from Carole that I read in just a matter of days.

Fay Merryweather runs a lovely cake shop in her back garden, that backs onto a gorgeous canal and where her Dad's canal boat, The Maid of Merryweather sits. Fay has worked hard to make her cafe work and has very little time for herself, having to run the cafe and look after her Mum. She takes on so much responsibility and never puts herself first. Then Danny walks into her life and has her questioning everything she thought she once knew. Then disaster strikes and Fay doesn't know which way to turn, but can she find the strength to make a life-changing decision?

Fay, the main character deals with so much nastiness and heart wrenching events in this. She is treated like a doormat by her Mother, who has confined herself to her bed and expects Fay to do everything for her. Then her sister Edie who was quick to escape their home to go to New York, has never offered to help Fay with their Mum and is constantly asking her for money, that Fay really can't spare. Then there is Fay's partner Anthony of  ten years who seems much more interested in his Hang Bell Ringing group and playing golf than spending time with Fay.

I felt so so frustrated for Fay, she has a heart of gold, but so many people trample over her. I absolutely hated her sister Edie and her Mum with a passion! So much so that I could feel my blood literally boiling at their treatment of her. The characters are not all so hateable though, there is Fay's grumpy on the outside, but underneath very lovely assistant Lija and 93 year old Stan who always comes to Fay's Cakes for lunch and no matter what soup they serve him, he always declares it as his favourite. Then there is of course the very handsome Danny who gets the spark back into Fay's life and I loved reading their scenes together.

One thing I love in books is when they have short chapters, and that's exactly what this one has. I like them as it makes me want to read on as you think, oh just one more chapter. Consequently I raced through this. 

I really loved the setting of the canal. I recently caught a programme called Great Canal journeys and it really peaked my interest, so it was a pleasant surprise to read that the Cake Shop in the Garden was set on the canal. It also of course reminded me of watching Rosie and Jim as a kid.  

Carole always has a way of creating such brilliant stories, not one of them the same in any way. All the characters are so diverse and as with this one, I get really invested in the characters' journey. Her writing is as always brilliant and I could very easily picture myself along that canal and it has made me want to go there.

Although this wasn't quite the read I was expecting as I thought it would have had more focus on the cakes and the cafe and be a bit more heartwarming, I still actually enjoyed reading this. Even though a lot goes wrong and had me feeling so desperate for the main character, I still held on to the hope that something good was going to happen to Fay. 

I think the main thing I took away from this book is that even though you should think about others and be kind, don't let people walk all over you. At the end of the day you are responsible for your own happiness, no one else is and if you don't put yourself first, no one else will.

A thought provoking, eventful read from the lovely Carole Matthews.


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