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The Vintage Village Bake Off by Judy Leigh #Review

  Here we are with another amusing romcom by Judy Leigh . The Vintage Village Bake Off was published by Boldwood Books on December 4th. Now in his seventies, Robert Parkin is stunned to find himself the unlikely sex symbol of the village gardening club. Living in happy solitude with his cat Isaac Mewton in the Devon village of Millbrook, entertained by his mischievous chickens and goats, Robert has never figured out the rules of romance. But as the local ladies vie for his company, it soon becomes clear that Robert's Victoria Sponge cake is the lure, and as his baking prowess grows, so does his confidence. Cheesecakes, meringues, puddings, Robert can do it all, but his real masterpieces are his scones - ginger, rosemary, coconut, fruit, his recipes are inspired and soon come to the attention of the local media. Which county does the best cream tea - Devon or Cornwall? It's time for an age-old debate to be settled with a competition. Robert's sisters Bunty and Ha

Art and Soul by Claire Huston #Review

Art and Soul is Claire Huston's debut novel and was published on April 23rd by Goldcrest Books.

There’s no problem Becky Watson can’t fix. Except her own love life…

Struggling single mother Becky Watson longs to revive her career as a life-fixer, working miracles to solve her clients’ problems, no matter how big or small. Since the birth of her two-year-old son she has been stuck preventing wedding fiascos for the richest and rudest residents of the Comptons, a charming, leafy area of southern England known for its artistic heritage. 

So when semi-reclusive local artist Charlie Handren reluctantly hires Becky to fix his six-year creative slump, she’s delighted to set him up with a come-back exhibition and Rachel Stone, the woman of his dreams. 

Though they get off to a rocky start, Becky and Charlie soon become close. But as the beautiful Rachel becomes Charlie’s muse, Becky is forced to wonder: will giving Charlie everything he wants mean giving up her own happily ever after? 

 A heart-warming, uplifting romance served with a generous slice of cake. Perfect for fans of Jill Mansell, Katie Fforde and Cathy Kelly.

My Thoughts

This is a romance with a fairy tale feel which is bright and uplifting. There are some moments of humour and you cannot help but warm to Becky as she sets about fixing up the lives of the artist Charlie and his daughter. But she doesn't stop there. She has quite an effect on a whole range of people. The weddings which she attends to make sure everything goes to plan will make you smile, as will Charlie's over keen Art students. Charlie's struggle to express himself other than though his painting is a challenge but you soon see his basic goodness through his actions.

    If you enjoy cake, you will also appreciate the references to it throughout. In fact, Claire has all the recipes on her own website for you to try. (Link is in the bio). I also enjoyed the odd literary reference which is littered throughout, with Becky seeing herself as Mephistopheles on occasion. With money worries and a small child to bring up, Becky is relatable but is determined to succeed on her own. This slowly evolving romance is charming and a great debut novel. 

In short: Independent Life fixer meets a diffident artist.

About the Author

 Claire Huston lives in Warwickshire with her husband and two children. Art and Soul is her first novel.

A keen amateur baker, she enjoys making cakes, biscuits and brownies almost as much as eating them. You can find recipes for all the cakes mentioned in Art and Soul at along with over 100 other recipes. This is also where she talks about and reviews books.

As well as her website, you can find her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Goodreads:

 Book link: Amazon UK

Thanks tp Claire Huston and Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for a copy of the book and a place on the tour.

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  1. Thank you for your lovely review! I'm so glad you enjoyed it and delighted someone else likes the literary references as well as me - haha!
    Thank you for being part of the blog tour. I really appreciate it x


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