Friday, 14 October 2016

The Christmas Cake Cafe - Sue Watson

About the book… 

Heart-warming and hilarious, a story that will make you laugh, cry and bring a smile to your face.  Get ready for another deliciously amazing Christmas treat from Sue Watson…. 

As the Prosecco chills and Bing Crosby croons, Jen Barker just knows that her long-term boyfriend is about to propose.  But instead of a diamond ring nestled in her champagne flute, Jen finds cold flat rejection.  Her once perfect life and dreams of a husband and family seem even further from reach.  

A working holiday to the Swiss Alps with her younger sister Jody might not be the Christmas Jen had it mind, but it offers her the chance to recharge her batteries and recover from heartbreak. 

When Jen meets handsome ski instructor Jon Zutter her hopes for a happy-ever-after seem within her grasp again. Jon is kind and gorgeous and as they bond over Sachetorte at the picturesque Cake CafĂ©, Jen thinks he might just be her perfect man. But a relationship with him comes with a catch – and there are some things even cake can’t fix. 

As the snow falls and Christmas approaches, could this be the place that restores Jen Barker’s faith in love? 

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 About the author… 

Sue Watson was a TV Producer with the BBC who combined motherhood and family life with a busy career. However, one day it dawned on Sue that Cosmo magazine may have been telling porkies about 'having it all,' and her life had become a slightly crazed juggling act. 

So after much soul searching (and comfort eating) Sue abandoned her TV career, bought a pink laptop and wrote a novel. 'Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes,' tells the story of Stella Weston, whose life is a constant struggle with a nasty boss at work, the weighing scales and being a mum, wife and daughter. 

Originally from Manchester, Sue now lives with her husband and teenage daughter in Worcestershire. When she's not toiling over her latest novel, Sue bakes (and eats) cake and enjoys very large tubs of Caramel Chew Chew ice cream all to herself while watching 'The Biggest Loser USA.' 

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My thoughts…

Imagine, ten years into a relationship and you think your boyfriend is finally going to propose. It's Christmas eve, The setting is perfect, a romantic meal for two in a restaurant with champagne and christmas tunes on the music system. Jen, just knows Tim is going to propose and is waiting for the perfect moment in the evening.  When the big speech finally comes it's not to ask her hand in marriage and to declare everlasting love, it's to shatter her dreams and walk out of her life forever.

Oh me oh my what a beginning.  Jen was devastated beyond words, the ten best years of her life taken and tossed aside by Tim who quite frankly was a supercilious ass - it would be fair to say first impressions count and mine were quite strong and didn't change.

This book has it all - relationships, family, love, laughter, friendship and the biggest amount of humour and cake you can imagine - absolutely perfect.  Clearly no stone has been left unturned as Jen soul searches, looking for her happy ever after and gaining more than an insight into her own soul.  Sue has captured the characteristics of a relationship going through the motions perfectly.  Nothing Jen ever did was good enough and Tim was a mean spirited, small minded ejit - have I said yet how much I disliked him!?  Belittling and side lining Jen at every opportunity.  She just wanted someone of her own to care for and love, whilst Tim wanted to mould her into someone else - chipping away at her character and eroding her confidence.  A relationship based on familiarity and convenience not love and friendship.  When Jen was a child her parents divorced and she had to share her dad with his new wife and baby, something she resented and never quite came to terms with, so it's no wonder she clung onto a dead relationship for so long - it's only in adulthood and because of circumstances that Jen and Jody form a tentative bond each understanding the other a whole lot better.

Almost a year later Jody, persuades Jen to join her and a couple of friends working in Switzerland over the winter months. The story from hereon-in reads like a slalom skier going full pelt down a black run.  With Jen hurtling from one disaster to another.  Sue has a natural ability to write comedy that had me choking on my lunch whilst trying to hold in my guffaws at work - her books have the feel good factor about them that won't fail to lift even the lowest spirits.  They're fun, easy reads but each and every story is multi-faceted.  They're not just light humour but thought provoking and The Christmas Cake Cafe is my favourite so far.  In life some people lose sight of what is important and do things or stay in relationships out of habit more than desire and it's not until they are removed from the situation do they start to question their thoughts and actions.  Jen is no different, as her half sister and her friends drag her kicking and screaming into their madcap plans she suffers inner and outer turmoil and begins to question her own life, hopes and dreams and the relationships within it. 

As I turned the pages my smiles became wider as the humorous bits, become hilarious bits and then Sue throws a bit of love and romance  into the mix and we're off!  I laughed out loud so many times, putting my hand over my mouth as I mouthed oh no until my sides ached. It would be fair to say 'the girls' idea of a working holiday is different to that of mine but then, I like Jen am old ;D

I've grumbled so many times that there wasn't enough cake in the last couple of Sue's books - No more! This time I was spoilt.  I so want to go to Switzerland and taste all the delicious cakes.  Sue has an amazing ability to describe something in such detail it becomes a reality - I've always thought it decadent and wrong to order more than one cake and always struggle to choose - no more I'm going to order half a dozen and try them all. 

Huge thanks Sue for another perfect read that got under my skin, a little bit of soul searching and a lot of laughs. This was beautiful story about friendship, family and discovering what is important in life with a little bit of love and flirting thrown in for good measure - until the next time! 

I've said it before but I'll say it again. Sue Watson's books keep getting better and better, with the bar raised a little more each time - if you haven't discovered this for yourself yet you are seriously missing out. Head to Amazon and indulge yourself in this beautiful read - The Christmas Cake Cafe, you won't be disappointed.