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A Taste Of Home By Heidi Swain

A Taste Of Home‘A Taste Of Home’ is the latest book by Heidi Swain.

Fliss Brown has grown up living with her mother on the Rossi family’s Italian fruit farm. But when her mother dies, Fliss finds out she has a family of her own, and heads back to England with Nonna Rossi’s recipe for cherry and almond tart and a piece of advice: connect with your family before it is too late. Fliss discovers that her estranged grandfather owns a fruit farm himself, on the outskirts of Wynbridge, and she arrives to find a farm that has fallen into disrepair. Using her knowledge gleaned from working on the Rossi farm and her desire to find out more about her past, Fliss rolls her sleeves up and gets stuck in. But what will she discover, and can she resurrect the farm’s glory days and find a taste of home?

Heidi is back with another heartwarming story about family, new beginnings and love. The story is seen through the narrative of Fliss just after her mother’s death. Having to deal with the loss breaks Fliss’s heart but then she is given a letter from her mother about the unknown that she has in a small village called Wynbridge having spent her life in Italy with her family. So she plucks up the courage to find her grandfather and finds that they have even more in common than blood, both loving farming and decides to invest her learning from the Rossi family into making the farm a success.

I adore Heidi’s writing, it’s so warm, homely and glorious to curl up with. I loved the characters from the quiet determination of Fliss to her grandfather who’s quite similar in personality and it’s lovely to see them embark on their relationship and the delight of sharing new interests along the way. Other supporting characters include the handsome and charismatic Elliott, who read like the perfect man with his kind nature, whilst Anthony instantly read like a suspicious character. As the story is set in Wynbridge, it was lovely to return to the village and see some of the characters and see where they are now in their life journey’s such Jemma and Lizzie and the Cherry Tree Cafe.

The story is beautifully written and it’s obviously written with love, with the stunning descriptions of the backdrop of Italy to the stunning landscapes of the fruit farm. I found the story not only an aspiring tale but also so informative with regards to operating a farm, as well as the delicious recipes along the way. No Heidi book is complete without the inclusion of her mouth-watering recipes.

With a stunning setting and heartwarming characters, ‘A Taste Of Home’ is the perfect book to whisk you with this escapism read.

You can buy ‘A Taste Of Home’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Chasing The Italian Dream By Jo Thomas

Chasing The Italian Dream‘Chasing The Italian Dream’ is the latest book by Jo Thomas.

Lucia has worked hard as a lawyer in Wales, aiming for a big promotion she hopes will shortly come her way. Finally taking a well-earned break at her grandparents’ house in southern Italy, the sunshine, lemon trees and her nonna’s mouth-watering cooking make her instantly feel at home. But she’s shocked to learn that her grandfather is retiring from the beloved family pizzeria and will need to sell. Lucia can’t bear the thought of the place changing hands – especially when she discovers her not-quite-ex-husband Giacomo wants to take it over! Then bad news from home forces Lucia to re-evaluate what she wants from life. Is this her chance to carry on the family tradition and finally follow her dreams?

I spent my Saturday with my head in Jo’s latest book, the perfect escapism story to curl up with filled with strong women and delicious recipes that literally made my mouth water.

The story is seen through the narrative of Lucia, a daughter of Italian parents who spends 2 weeks each year with her grandparents in Italy. With her out of office off, she longs for the Italian sun and to reunited with her Nonno and Nonna. But when her Nonno announces his retirement from the family restaurant and Lucia is distraught at the change until she realises that she wants to run the family business, but it’s unheard of a woman being a pizzeria owner in the small town. As well dealing with the shock of her Nonna’s retirement, she has to face up to her ex-husband Giacomo who she never divorced who also wants to buy her Nonno’s business. The pair of them end up in a secret competition creating delicious pizzas and dishes and the winner gets the restaurant.

I absolutely love Jo’s writing, set in picturesque settings that sweep the reader away from the temperamental weather that we’re currently experiencing. Lucia is a great leading lady accompanied by other strong leading ladies and an eager kitten. I loved Lucia’s determination to change the dynamics of the small town and prove that women are just as worthy to be business women, she’s adamant to bring the town into the 21st century and get rid of the silly traditions and notions. I adored her grandparents, especially her warm and bubbly grandmother who’s quietly encouraging her grand daughter to make a change. Also interactions with Lucia and Giacomo make for tender and charming reading as the pair of them compete against each other and face up to old ghosts and feelings.

Beautifully written and poignant from the first page, Jo has written another beautiful and heartwarming romantic tale that hooks the reader from the first page. With vivid descriptions of mouth watering recipes and the Italian landscapes, ‘Chasing The Italian Dream’ is an inspirational joy to read about one woman’a journey and determination to make a change.

You can pre-order ‘Chasing The Italian Dream’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 10th June 2021.

There’s More To Life Than Cupcakes By Poppy Dolan

There's More To Life Than Cupcakes‘There’s More To Life Than Cupcakes’is Poppy Dolan’s new book.

Ellie knows that starting a family with lovely husband Pete would be an amazing adventure. Pete would make a brilliant dad and she would have an excuse to eat loads of Cherry Bakewell. But Ellie’s best friend would rather she was up at 3a.m. with a bottle of Malibu not formula. And with redundancies looming, Ellie’s boss isn’t exactly going to throw her a shower if she disappears for a year, with pay. While Ellie juggles her feelings and everyone else’s as competently as a drunken clown, she finds herself signing up for a baking class, alongside the young free and sizzling hot Joe. As they work buns and shape tarts, is there more to their friendship than a shared appreciation of Paul Hollywood? Ellie’s soufflés may be rising, but her personal life is one big soggy mess. If she doesn’t make a decision soon, she may just lose everything that matters to her. Maybe it’s time to take off her pinky and face up to the truth: there’s more to life than cupcakes.

I enjoyed ‘There’s More To Life Than Cupcakes’ immensely. It was wonderfully warmhearted, witty and had me craving all kinds of sugary treats. Although the story is written in quite a light hearted stye, I found the nature of the story to be quite a serious one and thought that it was one topic that I could definitely relate to. With having turned a certain age myself, I have become no stranger to such probing questions as ‘Any sign of you getting married?’ or ‘Do you think that you will have children?’, questions that definitely cause unnecessary stress.

As Ellie battled with her feelings of uncertainty, her desire for starting a family and giving up her independence, I felt an empathy with the young creative character as she wondered when she would be finally ready to become a mother. As the lead character, I thought she was a tremendous one, with a flair for life and food, I enjoyed her boisterous behaviour and wacky antics that usually resulted in her putting her foot in it or embarrassing herself. Supporting characters such as her husband Pete and her work colleagues added an injection of reality into the story as they all regularly wanted to have conversations asking Ellie serious questions which usually resulted in her wanting to run off in the opposite direction! Even though I enjoyed the story which had me chucking and raiding the chocolate cupboard, I could see where the story was going in parts, especially with Ellie’s new friends Hannah and charming Joe and even though I predicted correctly, it still had me laughing at the twists and turns making the story an addictive and sugary treat, plus the addition of Paul Hollywood makes for fun scenes!

With a beautiful cover, this book is perfect for fans of Marian Keyes and Sam Binnie, ‘There Is More To Life Than Cupcakes’ is a fresh story which is cleverly written and easy to read about life, love, the importance of growing up and knowing when the time is right, A story that you won’t be able to put down and one that I could most definitely recommend and relate to.

You can buy There’s More to Life Than Cupcakes from Amazon.

Leftovers By Stella Newman

Leftovers ‘Leftovers’ is the second book by Stella Newman.

Susie Rosen’s life is a mess. According to her best friend Rebecca, she needs to get over her ex, move forward and start dating. A magazine article tells her she is a ‘Leftover’ – a post Bridget Jones 30 something who has neither her dream job or any sense of a meaningful relationship, she doesn’t even own four matching plates. Following her grandmother’s philosophy that there is a pasta shape and sauce for just about every situation. Susie cooks as she is overlooked for promotion yet again, manages hellish clients and tries to stop stalking her ex on Facebook.

Just like ‘Pearshaped’, ‘Leftovers’ is another additive modern tale of heartache and food. The main character, Susie is lovely as she longs for her big promotion, she counts down the days until she can finally break free from the clutches of her stressful marketing job, away from her over eater boss, Devron and bitchy Karly. Only cute IT technician Sam makes Susie’s work day more bearable. As she drudges wearily through life as a singleton trying to ignore the gaping hole in her heart that her ex boyfriend, Jake left behind, she finds solace and comfort in her grandmother’s old pasta recipes. Wonderfully creative and refreshingly mouthwatering, she creates food dishes perfect for any scenario in life, whether it is from a broken heart or when a best friend lets you down.

Stella is a great writer, her writing is honest, witty and gives an insight into the life of a single girl in London, striving for success, love and happiness. Just like real life, it is a struggle to find true contentment in life but in Stella’s sharp style of narrative and dialogue, we join Susie as she deals with the hurdles and dramas that life throws at her, with amusing and touching results.

A heartwarming story of discovery, friendship and food, ‘Leftovers’ is a fantastic story, perfect for all who have a passion for life and most importantly, food!

You can buy Leftovers on Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops.