Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Review: The Sweetest Thing by Cathy Woodman

The Sweetest Thing is indeed a sweet confection of a novel. One of former vet Cathy Woodman's Talyton St. George series set in lovely rural Devon, The Sweetest Thing is the story of Jennie Copeland, stay at home married mother of three who is gobsmacked when her philandering husband tells her he has fallen in love with his latest mistress and he wants a divorce. Choosing to start over completely, Jennie finds an old and charming home in Talyton St. George, several hours from London and determines to open a cake making business, a dream she's long deferred. But she's not the only one moving or facing life changes. Her three children, especially her teenaged son, have trouble adjusting to the new place and Guy Barnes, the initially gruff farmer next door who sold Jennie his mother's old house, is having trouble accepting new neighbors in his childhood home. Like Jennie, Guy has been crushed in love and the two are quite wary of each other to start.

As Jennie and her children settle into the newly renamed Jennie's Folly, she tries very hard to help her children find happiness in this new town. She doesn't love animals but she seems to be acquiring a quite menagerie at the kids' request: a dog, an obstreperous pony, and a flock of hens. Since she is very definitely a city girl, she has to turn to neighbor Guy for help with the critters and the inevitable problems that come with owning furred and feathered creatures. She also has to try to make her way through the complex and set social structure of the town, never dreaming that opening a cake business would be so hard or such slow going. But she bakes to relieve stress and as a newly divorced woman trying to make it through the guilt, the recriminations, and the hatefulness that come with divorce, she bakes a lot, creating some fantastic sounding cakes. And despite her initial impression of Guy, as she gets to know him over the course of her first year, she realizes that he might be the stereotype of a taciturn farmer but he's also a warm and loving person she can always count on.

Jennie and her children's transition to country living after a lifetime of living in London isn't smooth and her three definitely have some resentment about the divorce that tore them out of their comfortable life. And they do play up and manipulate her, making this story of moving, starting over, and maybe even finding love, all that much more realistic. Jennie herself is delightfully bumbling in many ways, not having understood the magnitude of the difference between living in a small market town and London. Her relationship with Guy is slow and interrupted by the realities of life. They face disagreements and misunderstandings and situations beyond their control. But in the end, the novel is just as promised, a sweet, rich cupcake of a love story sprinkled with children, critters, an enviable country life, and charming characters you can't help but root for.

For more information about Cathy Woodman and the book, check her out on Great British Reads, visit her website, her blog, her Facebook page, or follow her on Twitter. Follow the rest of the blog tour or look at the amazon reviews for others' thoughts and opinions on the book.

Thanks to Lisa from TLC Book Tours and the publisher for sending me a copy of the book for review.

1 comment:

  1. This novel combines so many things that I love - I can see why you enjoyed it!

    Thank for being on the tour. I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.


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