Warm and sunny with a slice of cake. 4/5.
The blurb: Fay Merryweather runs her cake shop from her beautiful garden. She whips up airy sponges and scrumptious scones, while her customers enjoy the lovely blossoms and gorgeous blooms. Looking after the cake shop, the garden and her cantankerous mother means Fay is always busy but she accepts her responsibilities because if she doesn’t do all this, who will? Then Danny Wilde walks into her life and makes Fay question every decision she’s ever made. When a sudden tragedy strikes, Fay’s entire world is thrown off balance even further and she doesn’t know which way to turn. Can Fay find the strength to make a life-changing decision – even if it means giving up the thing she loves the most?
The Cake Shop in the Garden was exactly what I needed to read on a unseasonably cold, grey, wet day. This book is sunny, sweet and romantic: ideal escapism if you’re having a tough time. It’s a fun, light read which made me smile a lot and laugh out loud a couple of times too.
I did have some problems with the first-person narrator, Fay. She’s extremely kind, caring and loyal… to the point of insanity. While these traits makes her likeable, they also make her a cake-baking doormat who needs a good shake on more than one occasion.
At three-quarters of the way through the story my frustration with Fay’s incomprehensible levels of selflessness were on the verge of becoming unbearable. Fortunately, Matthews knows exactly what she’s doing and this is exactly when she hits us with a huge surprise which shakes everything up and paves the way for a satisfying conclusion. I’m still reeling from just how good a shock it is. I can’t say more because I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but you should know that a certain character’s actions made me gasp and say, “what a total bitch!” out loud. I had to put the book down for a second to roll my eyes and have a good huff. I promise you, you’ll be similarly outraged.
Overall: a must-read for fans of sunny contemporary romance with generous helpings of tea and cake.
Claire Huston / Art and Soul