Recently Read #1

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? 


  1. Great post! I have to say I really enjoyed Little Beach Street Bakery - it made me want to pack it all in and move to the sea!

    Beccy ~ Bluebell & Bumpkin

  2. I'm pretty sure ITV did an adaptation of Little House a few years ago - I remember thinking it was really creepy but really compelling. I didn't know that it was based on a book, I'll have to look out for it!

    1. Yes they did, I haven't seen it though! I've been trying to find it online ever since I finished the book but it's not available on ITV player anymore. I heard that the programme portrays the mother-in-law as downright evil and psychotic, whereas in the book her calculating nature is much more sneaky and subtle. I'd definitely recommend the novel though, it's a real page turner x

  3. Reading your description of The Little House was so engaging, and seeing as you liked it best, I wouldn't expect any different - it sounds like a very interesting read but I don't want to be put off having children! haha! But, great recommendations!
    I begun reading 'And The Mountains Echoed' after finishing The Fault In Our Stars, but never got round to finishing (ATME that is). Although I'd like to finish the book, I don't think I ever will because I stopped for about a month (it was exam period). Anyways, looking for a new read, though and 'The Other Boyeln Girl' sounds cool! Thank You!

  4. Love the sound of The Little House! I've recently finished the infamous Fault in our Stars and am now reading Severed Heads, Broken Hearts. Unlike you, I'm massively into a good light hearted chick lit haha x

    What Rachael Wrote

  5. You've made me want to read The Little House, I love a bit of character loathing.