Synopsis: Rosie Hopkins is about to face major upheaval. Her elderly aunt Lilian - feisty, independent Aunt Lily who never talked about her past - needs her help, so Rosie is moving to the depths of the countryside for a few months to look after her. Plus Rosie will be away from Gerard, the man she hopes to settle down with soon, and they'll miss each other dreadfully... won't they? Lilian Hopkins has spent her life running Lipton's village sweetshop, through wartime and family feuds. As she struggles with the idea that it might finally be time to sell up, she also wrestles with the secret history hidden behind the jars of beautifully coloured sweets. And the longer Rosie and Lilian spend together, the more they realise they can learn from each other...
My Review: I am a pretty recent covert to the Jenny Colgan books and was a huge fan of the Cupcake books. I’m currently working through her other books and realising that the sequel to this is due out in a couple of months I figured now was a good time to read it. As with her other books it didn’t take me long to get into the story and straight away really liked Rosie as the lead character. When Rosie is asked to go and help her elderly aunt Lilian in the countryside she is really unsure. Her boyfriend Gerard (who was awful I must say) would be left behind while she sorted out the family issues at hand.
As soon as the story moved with Rosie to the Countryside it improved dramatically. With the introduction to her aunt Lilian who I absolutely loved, it seemed like her and Rosie worked really well together as characters. Lilian’s little sweet shop has been closed for years and with her Aunt’s declining health, Rosie needs to sort out the sale of the shop and finding a home for her aunt. The other element of this story was not only Rosie’s but of Lilian’s past and how she found herself to be where she is today. As the reader we get to see snippets of Lilian’s history and her own life being brought up in a time when war was as the forefront of everybody’s mind. This was such a nice way to layer the story as you find yourself understanding why Lilian is the way she is now.
There are many village characters that also add sparkle to this story and I found myself wishing Rosie on as all she seems to do for the first half of the book is land herself in hot water. I particularly liked the stroppy and awkward character Stephen who seems to be determined to do things his way! I read this book very quickly and absolutely loved it. As usual with Jenny Colgan books you get the added addition of something extra and in this books case it was sweets. You get taken back in time with all the nostalgic mentions of sweets from days gone past, as well as sweet recipes at the start of each chapter! I have to say that the Cupcake books are still my favourite but this is a definite second. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the follow up of this due out in November 2013.