If you’d like your Hallmark Channel Christmas movie in a readable format, this particular novel would be perfect.
This book is apparently the third in a set of three, but I had not read the first two. It was not a problem, however, as the author begins with a note providing a quick overview of what happened in the previous books, which proved to be not only welcome, but entirely sufficient.
The story is set in Cornwall, right before Christmas, with those two aspects of the plot adding enormous appeal to the story. But the characters are endearing as well. Polly Waterford, 33, is warm and generous and a wonderful baker. She runs the Little Beach Street Bakery and lives close by in an old, drafty lighthouse with her boyfriend Huckle, who is a beekeeper, and their pet puffin Neil.
All is not perfect in their world however. Huckle wants to get married and start a family, but Polly is afraid. In addition, Polly’s BFF Kerensa and her husband Reuben (Huckle’s BFF) are expecting a baby, but Kerensa is fearful it is not Reuben’s child. Kerensa has sworn Polly to secrecy, but it’s hard for Polly to keep anything from Huck. And while Reuben is quite wealthy, not only are Polly and Huck struggling financially, but the puffin sanctuary is failing from lack of funds, a situation that pains Polly. On top of everything else, Polly is facing a new crisis with her own family.
In spite of all the serious issues, this is, after all, basically a Hallmark movie in book form, and as you can imagine, it will all get resolved nicely. As Polly assured Kerensa, “Things end up fine. That’s the promise of Christmas. Believe it.” All this and no commercials!
The book includes some of Polly’s recipes at the end.
Evaluation: I thought the author overdid negative stereotyping of Reuben and his Jewish family, and Polly, Huck, and Neil were far too perfect. But the story is appealing and foodies will especially enjoy it.
Published in the U.S. by William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins, 2017