I happened to see Audiobook Junkie's review of this book and decided to take a chance. I'm so glad I did.
I'm still not sure what to do with this book. I don't read books like this. If there's no murder, history, steampunk, Sci-Fi...something, you need to work real hard to hold my attention. Yeah, I know I need to branch out more in my reading habits.
Issy's (Isabel) life is in a decent place. A good job, a house with her best friend Helena as a roommate, her grandfather still alive though starting on the slippery slope of dementia, and in a secret relationship with her gorgeous boss, Grahame. Then one day, the dominoes start to fall. Her position is made redundant, her boss turns out to be a complete jerk (though why this was a surprise to her I have no idea), and she has no idea where to go next.
She finds her way through her roots in baking, love of people enjoying what she makes, and this adorable shop tucked away close to her house. Along the way her and the Cupcake Cafe make a huge difference in several peoples' lives as they do the same to her's. By the end, she just might also find the love she's been looking for.
I loved these characters! I can't say that enough as they were the reason I kept turning the pages. The plot was average and you could see most of it coming but it didn't matter because I had to know what was going to happen to Issy, Pearl and Louis, Helena, Austin, and even Caroline. Pearl and her young son Louis were lovely and heart-breaking at times while Caroline won me over even while she was being...witchy. Austin and his brother who he raised always brought a smile to my face. But it was Issy who completely won me over. Her hesitation, inability to speak up for herself at times, and problems with conflict reminded me at times of myself, and so her victories meant all the more to me.
...And then there was the love triangle.
One of the biggest banes of literature, I usually avoid them like the plague. However, if I care about the characters enough and if the (usually) female character doesn't spend half the book dithering over Tom or Harry, I can usually push through it. Well, there was a bit of dithering, though less because she liked them both and more because she seemed completely blind to the fact that one of them even liked her. Though why anyone would want to even give Grahame a second look...
While a sweet, easy to read book, I couldn't put this down. The recipes were mouth-watering and the story touching. It was a story about life: the bitter mixed with sweet, first meetings and farewells, and how lovely and rare kindness can be.