Sunday, July 14, 2013

Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan

I have discovered that reading about cupcakes keeps me from dashing out and buying cupcakes to eat at home.  This is a source of absolute amazement to me, as I am one who will eagerly eat cake at any given moment (except vanilla--it must be chocolate).

Reading Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan was great escape into the world of small business, cupcakes, friendships, and romance.  Issy grew up in her grandfather's bakery, and has inherited his gift of baking desserts.  She's stuck in a lousy job at a real estate agency, involved with a handsome co-worker who refuses to let her sleep over or be seen in public with him, and recent had to put her grandfather into a home.  She's feeling rather discontented with her life, but not enough to actually do anything about it.

Until her boyfriend sends her an email informing her that her position at the company has been eliminated and she's out of a job.  

Dithering and depressed for a few months--and Graeme, her lousy boyfriend--hasn't called her since the day she was fired, Issy decides to open a bakery that specializes in cupcakes.  It's her dream opportunity, and there's a perfect little shop just begging to become a friendly neighborhood gathering place.

Issy has a great support team of friends, and her bank manager, Austin, does all he can to steer her through the obstacle course that is starting a small business.  It doesn't hurt that he's cute and actually a good guy!  

The novel is mostly about Issy starting her cupcake business, the bumps she hits along the way, and the struggle to stay away from Graeme, who is a weakness Issy can do without in her life.  I found her inability to stay away from Graeme very irritating; perhaps because of my own personal feelings about women getting back together with ex-boyfriends who treat them like crap  over and over again.  Issy is so darn smart about everything but Graeme!  That is one weak spot in the novel that really bugged me.  I also thought it was a bit long; I felt it could have moved along a bit quicker and that it took a long time to tell the story.  I think cutting 100 pages from the story would have still left the story intact and still enjoyable.  Other than those few things, I did enjoy this novel very much.  Some people roll their eyes at "chick lit" but I find it is a great escape from everyday stresses and other books I'm reading that are darker and don't always promise a happy ending.  

In life, we all want a good cupcake and a happy ending.  This novel delivers both of those very important things. 

Rating:  6/10 for a story that has a great cast of characters, shows women struggling to make it on their own, and lovely cupcake recipes.  I did think it was a bit too long and didn't care for Issy always going back to Graeme.

Available in paperback and e-book.

Thanks to Net Galley for this review copy.

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