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25 August, 2016

Book Review: Summer at the Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

Title: Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery
Author: Jenny Colgan
Publisher: HarperCollins Publisher
Publication date: March 22, 2016

It has been a year since the massive storm that hit Mount Polbearne and left the town battered and minus one well loved fishing boat captain. In that year a lot has changed for Polly Waterford. She purchased the old lighthouse building and has made it her home with her boyfriend Huckle.  She has taken over running both of the bakeries for her landlady Mrs Manse who has moved in with her sister on the mainland. Neil is still living with her and all in all her life is beautifully happy.

Then Polly gets a phone call from Mrs. Manse's sister saying that she has passed on from a heart attack and suddenly what will become of the bakery is up in the air. The sister decides to put her son Malcolm in charge of the bakeries. Malcolm who has never managed a business, quickly alienates Polly and the townsfolk by banning fresh baked items as too costly and returns to the delivered baked goods from the mainland that his aunt had been using before Polly took over the bakeries. Polly is fired from the bakery by Malcolm and her whole world feels like it has come tumbling down.

Meanwhile, Tarnie's widow Selina has moved to the island to try and find closure. Polly becomes friends with Selina, but feels guilty because of their brief love affair when she first moved to the island. She wants to tell Selina what happened, but doesn't know how to bring it up. So she is stuck alternating between honest friendship and guilt. Huckle's brother has also come to the island to visit. Leaving his long term girlfriend Clementine to manage the farm, but after he and Huckle have an argument he takes off without letting anyone know where he is headed.

After living off of savings for a little while, Polly and Huckle decide that they need a plan of action. Huckle goes back to the states to work for Clementine to get the farm straightened out while his brother is MIA.  The money he earns goes into a joint account for Polly to use to start a new business. Polly purchases a secondhand bakery truck and applies for a permit from the Mount Polbearne council for a vendor's license to sell from her food truck on the mainland side of the causeway in the visitor's car park. Because Polly can't think of a life without baking, or her home on the island she starts this despite the challenges of running a competing business with the island's bakery. She has gone from an established and well known bakery to selling out of a food truck that look like it should be serving fish and chips. All the while Huckle is still overseas and Neil has been returned to the Puffin Sanctuary on the North Coast of Cornwall, leaving her very lonely.

She gets a visit from a food reporter from Plymouth who writes a favorable review of her bakery truck and things start to look up. However her friendship with Selina becomes threatened when she finds out about the affair, and to top it off another huge storm hits the island.

I really enjoyed returning to Mount Polbearne and Polly Waterford's story. I loved that this picked up slightly after the events of the first book and while it included all of the characters I gre to love in the first book, a few new ones were added to round out the cast. Polly and Huckle's struggle with a long distance relationship while they tried to get life back on track really resonated me while reading. I really was drawn into Polly's troubles and her insecurities about herself after Malcolm changes the bakery and then fires her. This was another quick and sweet read from author Jenny Colgan. I see goodreads shows an entry for an upcoming Little Beach Street Bakery book. I can't wait to read it when it is published.

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