July 1, 2019
Blurb: When Flora finds out about her husband’s secret fling, she escapes to the one place she feels safe: her beloved café, The Cosy Kettle, in the charming village of Honeyford. Serving up cream teas to her café regulars is the perfect way to soothe her broken heart, and although she’s never lived in the area, the little community welcome her with open arms.
She’s soon lodging with local eccentric Luna in her remote and beautiful Starlight Cottage, snuggled between rolling green hills. Luna’s handsome son Daniel lost his wife several years ago, and as Flora gets to know him, sharing walks through the blossom-scented woods, they both slowly begin to heal… and she realises that behind Daniel’s quiet exterior, there’s a passionate nature that makes her forget all about her ex-husband.
As she settles into her new life, hosting a baking competition for the village’s summer celebration seems like a great idea… but with Daniel’s mysterious silences leading Flora to believe he’s hiding secrets, she can’t help but wonder if she can really trust him. And when the race to bake the perfect Victoria sponge stirs up old rivalries between locals, Flora starts to feel like she’s bitten off more than she can chew.
After her new start, will Flora ever truly belong in Honeyford? And, this summer, can she risk opening up her heart again?
SASCHA DARLINGTON’S REVIEW
In March I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing, New Starts and Cherry Tarts at the Cosy Kettle by Liz Eeles. Like that wonderful novel, A Summer Escape and Strawberry Cake at the Cosy Kettle takes place in the quirky village of Honeyford in the Cotswolds and many of the same people whom I loved in that novel are revisited.
A Summer Escape and Strawberry Cake at the Cosy Kettle focuses on Flora, the new owner of the bookstore, who discovers that her husband, Malcolm, has been cheating on her with one of the waitresses from his restaurant. Initially shocked and hurt, Flora stays several nights in the attic of the bookstore, until Luna, an eccentric new-agey woman offers her a room in her cottage. Unbeknownst to Flora, Luna is the mother of a man she had a bit of a run-in with at the Cosy Kettle when his son accidentally knocked over some decor and Flora didn’t react as well as she could have.
While New Starts and Cherry Tarts at the Cosy Kettle was lighter, more of a romance, and yet hit all of the emotions, A Summer Escape and Strawberry Cake at the Cosy Kettle feels a little more somber and a bit more like women’s fiction. There are some fun moments because of the eccentric characters, but when one is exploring the implosion of a 20-year-old marriage, it’s rightfully more melancholic and thoughtful.
Both are very good novels, written well, and with insights, but if you’re looking for the same effervescence that was in New Starts and Cherry Tarts at the Cosy Kettle, you won’t find it in Eeles’ new novel. But I’m not sure that given the subject matter you should expect to.
The characterization is again very good, with Flora discovering new things about herself and mostly discovering who she is. I liked the fact that she struggled with what many people struggle with: do you stay with the devil you know or move on? Do you stay with the safe or take a risk? It’s a common question in life and it’s dealt with well here.
While the novel may not provide a decidedly happy-ever-after, it was again appropriate and appreciated due to its thoughtfulness.
I did feel that there was some repetition during Flora’s introspective moments regarding her marriage, which was noticeable enough to draw me from the narrative, but not enough for me to be highly critical of.
All in all, this was an engrossing, satisfying read that kept my interest throughout, gave me some laughs, and some thoughtful moments. I loved the character of Luna and hope to see her again in future novels. Very enjoyable.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
4 out of 5 butterflies