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?
Life, love and family are about to collide in The Cake Shop in the Garden.
Huge thanks to Little, Brown Book Group for providing me with a review copy of The Cake Shop in the Garden via NetGalley. I fell in love with that beautiful cover at first sight- look at those lovely colours! I’ve never read a Carole Matthews book before, so I was really intrigued to get started on this one.
Fay Merryweather doesn’t have it easy. Sure, she has a cafe she loves, in her lovely family house with her Dad’s narrowboat at the bottom of the garden, but she’s feeling pretty trapped. Her mother took ill to bed sometime ago and has decided not to get up again, with no gratitude to the strain it puts on Fay, nor any assistance from Fay’s selfish sister Edie. Caring for her is tiring and doesn’t leave Fay much freedom to herself, nor the money to do up her Dad’s precious Maid of Merryweather as she would so love to do. Still, she has to prioritise. Responsibilities must come first, right?
After all, things aren’t too bad. The cafe is her pride and joy, and life is made a little easier with assistance from the prickly but loyal (and hilarious) Lija, her Latvian assistant who has absolutely no filter but a very strong work ethic and some amazing baking skills. Fay loves the beautiful canal she lives on, and is in a longterm, stable relationship with Anthony, who – hand bell ringing aside – is lovely and dependable.
Then walks in Danny Wilde – beautiful, sweet, funny, gorgeous, IRISH Danny – and Fay’s world shifts on its axis. Oh Danny. Be still, my heart! I know I can be a bit of a book-slut with my book-boyfriends, but Danny is one of the greats. Just writing this review, I want to start re-reading the book because I miss him. I have to give total swoon-factor kudos to Carole for making such a perfect guy; with his adorable Irish lilt and dreamy eyes and cute smile and beautiful body and… *ahem*, I digress…
However, as wonderful a book-crush as Carole has managed to create, that is certainly not all this book has to offer. I really felt like the heart of the book is something nearly all of us can relate to in some way or another. I think most of the time in life we feel obliged to prioritise many things, but not often ourselves. It may be natural to want to put others needs before your own, but often at what cost? At what point have you put your life on hold too much? Is it really okay to put yourself first, and listen to your own heart? These are the questions Fay must answer, as she finds what she wants for herself is at odds with the obligations she has at home.
I loved Fay as a character, and found her to be so relatable. She wants much more in life than the lot she seems to be stuck with, but isn’t convinced that’s really an option. I was routing for her so much and I just wanted her to have her so well-deserved happy ending. When things seem to be on the up, life throws twists and turns at her that had my emotions flying wild, and made for a wonderful reading experience.
Carole’s writing is beautiful and easily flows with wonderful descriptions that take you mind, body and soul into the story with her as she overpowers your senses. The Cake Shop in the Garden gets an easy and delicious 5 STARS from me.
Now, I’m off to go find a narrowboat on a canal to live in.