Once again, I grabbed this book off my bookshelves. Still had the receipt in it dated April 1, 2015. Almost a whole year! I have looked at this book many times on my shelf, and even picked it up a few times. But the time just wasn't right, and I wasn't in the mood to read it. Jump to 2016 and I'm raring to go. Part of the push was the fact that Jenny has a sequel to Little Beach Street Bakery coming out very soon, so I had to read the first so I can be ready to read the sequel. Look for the review of Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery next week.
Polly Waterford is at a bad spot in her life: her relationship with her live-in boyfriend is on the rocks, the business they worked so hard at establishing has ended, and they're broke. Her boyfriend is a pretty miserable person (trust me, I wanted to reach into the novel and throttle him), and Polly ends up practically penniless and with nowhere to live. Seeking peace and a place to lick her wounds, she ends up in the little town of Mount Polbearne in Cornwall. This is a town that's a bit down on its luck, and is a bit isolated by the tides that cover the causeway every day, making Polbearne an island each day when the tide comes in--in other words, perfect for Polly. She rents a rough flat above a bakery that sits silent and dusty, and begins to rebuild her life.
Polly has, of course, a gift for making bread. She's gotten away from it, thanks to a boyfriend who wouldn't eat bread, but here in this little town, she begins to knead and fold her way into a new life. What starts out at therapy quickly grows into making bread for the men who fish the waters off Cornwall, and word gets around that Polly makes the best bread anyone's ever had. Of course, there is one particular person who isn't happy about this--Polly's landlord, Mrs. Manse. She runs the town's only bakery, and it is terrible. Mass produced and trucked in bread and desserts that taste horrible. Mrs. Manse's history with the town, and the fishing boats, is a sad one that shapes Polly's life and her future.
And then there is Huckle, an American who lives off the 'island' and has a beekeeping business, His bees produce the best honey around. Is he a friend, or something more? Will Polly stay in Mount Polbearne, or move back to Plymouth and pick up her old life?
This was a well written novel about starting over. Sometimes we have to lose everything to find that kernel, that spark, that makes us happy. Some people are lucky and know it from the start, without having to experience heartache, and others, well... it can take awhile. Polly is a great character; just an average woman looking for her place in the world. We can all connect with her. The people of Polbearne are a wonderful cast of characters who love their little town, warts and all.
Rating: 8/10 for a setting that fired up my imagination, fantastic descriptions of bread that made my mouth water, and characters I can't wait to visit again in the sequel. My only beef is the cover! Polly bakes bread, not cupcakes.
Available in paperback, e-book, and audio book.