The Little House cover: Natalie Yu Li
Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan. I'm not usually a fan of Chick lit but I thought I'd give this a go after reading so many positive reviews. The story follows Polly, a young woman recovering from a toxic relationship and a failed career. No longer able to afford her flat, she moves to a quiet little seaside town in Cornwall and discovers her talent for baking bread. Despite rolling my eyes slightly at the newly-single-girl-moves-away-to-escape-bad-ex cliche, I really enjoyed the first half of this book. Toward the end, however, I couldn't help but feel a bit bored. I lost interest in the characters and found parts of the plot a bit predictable. Jenny's writing is fantastic though and I thought she did a wonderful job of describing the sleepy seaside town. Although it wasn't really my cup of tea, I'd recommend this to anyone who loves a girly novel and wants a light read to enjoy on the beach. I wouldn't open it on an empty stomach, though - the baking references will leave you drooling. My rating: 2.5/5
The Little House by Philippa Gregory. A number of Gregory's historical novels are some of my all-time favourite reads, so I decided to try one of her contemporary stories. The Little House centers around main character Ruth, who becomes pregnant with her first child, is made redundant and is forced to leave the flat she loves. While her husband, Patrick, is delighted at the news of her pregnancy, Ruth is unhappy with the sudden changes in her life. The couple end up moving a stone throw away from Patrick's wealthy parents and his mother can't help but muscle in on their lives. When the baby is born, Ruth feels overwhelmed by the pressures of motherhood and develops post natal depression, leading her mother and father-in-law to believe she is incapable of caring for her child. While the story is a little slow to begin with, I was soon sucked into Ruth's devastating situation and couldn't put the book down. Patrick is a spoilt, manipulative, selfish waste of space and I hated his character right from the get go. His parents aren't much better and I was rooting for Ruth throughout the novel - the position she finds herself in is truly awful and you can't help but feel for her. The ending is very unexpected and slightly rushed, and while I'm still not sure how I feel about it, I thought the book as a whole was a fantastic read. It's not as good as The Other Boleyn Girl, but it's still a story that stays with you after you've finished. I devoured it in two days, and came away feeling unsettled and slightly put off ever having kids! My rating: 4/5
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. I originally wanted to order Jamaica Inn by Du Maurier, but I was soon persuaded to read her better-known novel first. Rebecca is often regarded as a classic, and due to its interesting plot line and rave reviews, I had high expectations for it. Unfortunately I couldn't help but feel a little disappointed. The main character (whose name we never discover) spends the majority of the novel moping around the house feeling sorry for herself. She believes her new husband is still mourning the death of his beautiful and elegant first wife, Rebecca. Nothing really happens during the first 300 pages, and I found the plot twist slightly predictable. Saying that, Du Maurier's writing is wonderful and I love how she captured the atmosphere of Manderley House. She also did a perfect job of portraying the character of Rebecca, despite the fact we never meet her. This is definitely a novel to enjoy with a cup of tea and a thunderstorm raging outside - I just found it didn't really live up to its hype. My rating: 3/5
What books have you been reading recently?