Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Renee at It’s Book Talk. Throwback Thursday was designed as an opportunity to share old favorites as well as older books in our TBR. As I started reviewing on Goodreads long before I started my blog, it seemed a great way of sharing my earlier reviews (which I hope have improved since the early days).
So this week I’m revisiting What Would Mary Berry Do by Claire Sandy, first reviewed in September 2014.
Marie Dunwoody doesn’t want for much in life. She has a lovely husband, three wonderful children, and a business of her own. But her cupcakes are crap. Her meringues are runny and her biscuits rock-hard. She cannot bake for toffee. Or, for that matter, make toffee.
Marie can’t ignore the disappointed looks any more, or continue to be shamed by neighbour and nemesis, Lucy Gray. Lucy whips up perfect profiteroles with one hand, while ironing her bed sheets with the other. Marie’s had enough: this is the year it all changes. She vows to follow – to the letter – recipes from the Queen of Baking, and at all times ask, ‘What would Mary Berry do?’
Husband Robert has noticed that his boss takes crumb structure as seriously as budget cuts and with redundancies on the horizon, he too puts on a pinny. Twins Rose and Iris are happy to eat all the half-baked mistakes that come their way, but big brother Angus is more distant than usual, as if something is troubling him. And there is no one as nosey as a matching pair of nine-year-old girls . . .
Marie starts to realise that the wise words of Mary Berry can help her with more than just a Victoria Sponge. But can Robert save the wobbling soufflé that is his career? And is Lucy’s sweet demeanour hiding something secretly sour?
This is a delicious feast of a funny novel, perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan and Allison Pearson.
A brilliant, heartwarming debut from Claire Sandy.
The book revolves around Marie who as the blurb tells us “has a lovely husband, three wonderful children, and a business of her own”. Sadly however this paragon is not so successful in the kitchen and feels constantly challenged by her neighbour and nemesis, Lucy Gray who is a domestic goddess par excellence. As once again Marie fails to produce anything homemade at the school fete, while Lucy strides in with a showstopper, fate takes a hand. On her way out Marie spots on the book stall a cookery book by Mary Berry and vows that this time next year the situation will be reversed.
What follows is a year in the life of Marie, her husband Robert, her delightful twins Iris and Rose, and her angst ridden teenage son Angus. Through all their trials and tribulations the answer can often be found in cake and her rallying cry Is “What would Mary Berry Do”. As a counterbalance, Robert finds his own answers to problems by producing breads and muffins that Paul Hollywood would be proud of.
It’s a delightful book, which while light and fluffy on the surface has a deeper message about life, love and friendship. It offers a realistic and humorous look at family life and the struggle of balancing work, children and relationships. On top of all this it features cake and lots of it.
I really enjoyed this book, the characters are all brilliantly drawn and the storyline keeps you entertained and interested through to a heart warming and unexpected ending. While I dislike the term chick lit as think it trivialises the work of many excellent authors, this is an example of the best that this genre has to offer.
I would suggest that this is akin to the writing of Carole Matthews and Millie Johnson, in its warmth, honesty and humour and I’m already waiting for book number two!
I received a free copy of this title via NetGalley in return for an honest review.