This charming page-turner is a true delight. The third in the Little Beach Street Bakery series, this book follows feisty baker Polly, her fiancé Huckle and their pet puffin Neil through a sweet and amusing account of the run up to Christmas, dealing with the pressures of work, the problems of their friends and the return of an important figure from Polly’s past. Funny, warm and engaging, Christmas At The Little Beach Street Bakery is a pleasure to read.
Colgan’s strength is her characters and setting – the characters really pop, and she manages to make them all likeable but still compelling. The setting of a remote island in Cornwall is almost a character in and of itself, and is so vividly painted it makes this an easy book to escape into.
Sadly the story in this installment felt slightly forced. I didn’t feel this in the previous two titles, but it seemed that there were a couple too many stretched coincidences and far-fetched incidents for me. The final resolution of the central problem of the book, as well, was not cleaned up fully and didn’t deliver the catharsis it promised.
Overall this is a fine example of its genre. While not quite as neat as some of Colgan’s other work, nonetheless it provides an absorbing, amusing and reassuring read. Unlike many similar books, Colgan neatly avoids the schmaltz without sacrificing sweetness.
Rating: 4/5 pints of cider
Serving Suggestion: Read on the morning commute, starting on the 1st of December.