July 2, 2019
(original publication: July 2, 2013)
Blurb: A smart, quirky contemporary cupcake book of recipes and friendship, fans of Sophie Kinsella, will be heading for their mixers to create a story as sweet and complex as Issy’s.
Issy Randall can bake. No, Issy can create stunning, mouthwateringly divine cakes. So when she loses her desk job, she starts her own café and finds life can be tougher, and sweeter, than she ever dreamed.
After a childhood spent in her beloved Grampa Joe’s bakery, Issy has undoubtedly inherited his talent. She’s much better at baking than she is at filing so when she’s laid off from her desk job, Issy decides to open her own little café. But she soon learns that her piece-of-cake plan will take all of her courage and confectionary talent to avert disaster.
Funny and sharp, Meet Me at the Cupcake Café is about how life might not always taste like you expect, but there’s always room for dessert!
SASCHA DARLINGTON’S REVIEW
Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe falls most definitely in between Jenny Colgan’s My Very ’90s Romance (reviewed by me here) and her later novels like Little Beach Street Bakery (read my review here) but while many reviewers call it “funny,” it didn’t strike my funny bone as often as her usual novels do.
Running through Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe is a tinge of sadness, or at least there was for me. Perhaps it was the fact that Issy Randall loses her job and her boss-boyfriend (that’s boss as in supervisor not boss as in the slang term) in one fell swoop as well as the fact that her beloved grandfather is suffering from dementia, a battle he is losing. Then there are the observations of how few fathers in the novel are involved with their kids’ lives and how superficially so many kids are being brought up and just plain how superficial some people are. So those things definitely made me thoughtful and somewhat sad.
In tandem with that, the reader slips into almost every character’s POV, sometimes in successive sentences so we’re privy to their good and bad thoughts, and for some of those of the characters there only seemed to be bad thoughts.
However, at the heart is Issy Randall who stands on her own two feet and recreates herself, a characteristic that is shared by many Colgan heroines. And, as well, Issy is complex, not always doing the right thing although she has every intention of doing so. Also, she’s frequently too trusting, especially where ex-boyfriends are concerned.
And then there’s Austin. I don’t know. I pictured Austin as David Tennant, which I guess is not a horrible thing. Austin is described as having auburn hair, gray eyes, tall, and frequently a bit of a messy dresser, but only because he has to hide his iron from his little brother who he has been guardian to since the death of their parents 6 years before.
The characters, as usual, are all well done. Since we’re listening into almost all of their thoughts, even in a given scene, we can understand all of their feelings, all of those contradicting thoughts going through their minds. I am not a fan of multi-POVs, and to some degree these bothered me, but, on the other hand, I could appreciate how useful they were.
While many fiction books, especially women’s fiction, incorporate recipes, this is the first one I’ve ever read that incorporated funny bits into the actual recipes. These recipes might be reason enough to read the book, but really, you’ll want to read it all, especially if you’re a Jenny Colgan fan.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
4 butterflies and a ladybug out of 5 butterflies