I am almost disgusted with myself for having never read a Jenny Colgan book. I have always seen her books around but don't ask me why, have never managed to pick one up. Thankfully, I finally got around to buying this book which was released in 2011 with its very enticing cover. I started reading and immediately loved the main character Issy. Issy's Grandpa Joe ran bakery's his whole life and has passed his love of baking on to Issy.
Very early on we meet Issy's pathetic excuse for a boyfriend Graeme (who I despised from start to finish) along with some other characters that feature in the book. When Issy is made redundant from her City job she takes the plunge and sets about opening her own type of Bakery called The Cupcake Café.
Jenny Colgan has done a grand job of making the readers feel for Issy. We see her struggle with lost of things at once and try to manage starting a new business, her love life, the care of her Gramps as well as having some sort of social life. What made this book a little bit different is that at the start of various chapters (I cannot recall if it was every one) we see Issy's recipes for her famous Cupcakes. There is something refreshingly different about that approach, and some of the descriptions that go with the recipes had me chuckling.
I read three quarters of this book in one day, I read in the morning, my lunch break, my commute and even when I was washing up! I then eagerly picked it up the following morning and finished it. The story is a lovely read and you feel like you are taking the journey with Issy and you can't help but will her success on. I loved the characters, including the feisty Pearly and difficult Caroline both who work with Issy. I also loved Issy's flatmate Helena who has a very brisk attitude. You also see other local characters come in and they all add their own flavour to the story.
I was really excited to see that Jenny Colgan has a follow up to this book due out October 2012. I think a follow up would be brilliant, especially as the end of this one is extremely open-ended with many possibilities for the characters. Overall this was a book that I loved in every way, and it especially cheered me up as I am in the middle of my own very precarious start of a new business. This book was a real `feel-good' read and I loved every bit of it. Highly recommended.