Can you really make a living from indulging in your dreams? TV Producer Stella Weston is over worked, over weight and under fire. Having battled uphill for years to balance her career with her family life, she is repaid by being put out to pasture on a religious gardening programme complete with a nervous vicar, his nymphomaniac wife, and 22 stone Britney wannabe gardener, Gerald. In the past, comfort has always been found at the bottom of her mixing bowl but when even the most delicious lemon sponge with zesty frosting cannot save the day, Stella decides enough is enough. However, finding the courage to quit is sometimes the easy part. Can you really turn a passion into a profession? Does more time at home actually give you a happier family life? Are men truly from Mars or another universe altogether? Stella has to roll up her sleeves and find out - when the going gets tough, the tough get baking....
I was tempted to read this one because the reviews on Amazon made it sound fantastic, and like a book I would really like... not mention I'm rather partial to a bit of cake myself! The cover is also perfect for the story and has a really good look to it, so first impressions were really good! Once I had finished the book, I realised this book is another reason I am glad I've decided to give more unknown authors a go - it was brilliant, and certainly deserves the great reviews it has been getting.
The lead character for this book is Stella. I loved her right from the off, and could really find myself relating to her a lot, perhaps why I liked her so much. She's a hard-working mum who loves her job, but is constantly feeling guilty that she isn't there enough for her daughter, and that her marriage is suffering too. After a particularly bad incident at work, Stella jacks in her telly job and instead resorts to being a stay at home mum, but finds she still needs to work to make ends meet. The other main characters are Stella's best friends, Al and Lizzie, and they are great too. I wasn't so keen on Lizzie because of some of the choices she makes, but the other friend, Al, the typical gay best friend was fantastic, and I actually thought Watson wrote the relationship between he and his fiancé Seb perfectly, it was a touching love story and the twist towards the end was shocking and really made me love them more!
I think a lot of mums out there will be able to relate to Stella, and her problems. For example, when she's away and she calls late at night wanting to speak to her daughter, but not being able to - yes she knows she's wrong for calling so late but there's that irrational mum instinct that makes us need to talk to our kids whenever we want to. There's the problems with her marriage, and her struggle to pull herself together afterwards, I could certainly relate to that and loved how Stella decided to make something of herself with her business afterwards. I felt that Watson really did know what she was talking about with the cake business, and I loved how Stella started making pretty cakes out of her kitchen and then realising what a talent she had. I have a few friends who have done exactly the same thing as Stella, so I know that's a realistic story! But I just loved that Stella was a normal woman, and for that I think Watson did a great job writing this.
There are lots of things I loved about this book, and I can most definitely recommend it! I found the characters were realistic and likeable, especially the fab Stella, and not only was the main story fab, I found the sub-story within of Al and Seb's relationship fitted in perfectly and was lovely to read about alongside the main story of Stella and her cakes. I enjoyed reading about her success, and loved the way she handled herself after the things that happen to her. I found the book hard to put down because I wanted to see what Stella was going to do next, and I was sad when I turned the last page. However, I will be recommending this book to anyone who loves a great story with fab characters, because it's so enjoyable, and I loved every page. I defy you not to want to scoff a cake whilst reading it too, yum!
ISBN: 978-0956536822. Published by Rickshaw Publishing on 8th September 2011. Pages: 349. RRP: £6.99. Also available as an eBook.
Thank you to Sue for sending me a copy to review for http://chicklitchloe.blogspot.com.
Thank you for reading.