Little Beach Street Bakery, the latest book by international best-selling author Jenny Colgan, begins during protagonist Polly Waterford’s darkest hour. She and her live-in boyfriend have just declared bankruptcy, and they’ve lost everything they built over the past seven years. And to top it off, the stress of it all has soured their relationship. Now Polly’s out of work and unable to afford a decent flat in her hometown of Plymouth, England. Over the protests of her best friend, she decides to rent the upper floor of a decrepit building in Cornwall’s tiny village of Mount Polbearne. The Mount, as the locals call it, is cut off from the rest of the world twice daily when high tides flood the causeway connecting it to the mainland, turning it into a temporary island.
Polly’s new home is barely inhabitable, and although far from magically transformed after she puts some elbow grease into cleaning it up, her hard work does reveal a magical view. Hearing the rhythms of the sea and looking out upon its often-tumultuous waters make her feel calmer than she’s felt in months. Another bonus is the old-fashioned oven that provides her the opportunity to bake bread, a passion she’s ignored for far too long.
As Polly begins baking and making friends, she rediscovers the confident woman she’d forgotten she could be—and the two men who show interest in her help boost that confidence as well. The romantic element in this story feels a bit like an afterthought, and the relationship conflict could be resolved with one good conversation. But Colgan will make you laugh, and she peoples her mythical town—a fascinating, deftly built character in its own right—with an entertaining cast of quirky personalities that will have you rooting for a happy ending. Writing with warmth and empathy, Colgan’s crafted a story that will make readers whip through the pages in their sprint toward the makes-you-sigh-with-satisfaction conclusion.
Susan Andersen is a New York Times bestselling author of twenty-plus romance and romantic suspense novels.