Baking is in Issy Randall's blood, since she was a little girl her grandpa has taught her the ways of being a master baker. In Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan we discover how after redundancy from her mundane city job strikes, Issy decides to take a risk and set up her own bakery as The Cupcake Cafe. But running a fledgeling business is no easy task, and it takes all of Issy and her friends determination to keep it going.
Issy's story is the story that makes you wish you could have her opportunity, that a set of bad circumstances like losing your job could result in the perfect job owning a cupcake cafe. It really is the stuff of dreams and something many of us will never experience, either through lack of skill, determination, or desire. It is the stuff that is perfect for a chick lit-ty book because it makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside and you can vicariously experience someone else's achievement without taking the risk yourself.
I personally have a bit of an extra love for this book purely for that vicarious living reason. I am a cupcake baker, I love to bake them in all different flavours and often get called upon by friends and family for special occasions, but there is no way on earth I could do it for a living. I know that I personally would lose the passion for the baking once I absolutely had to do it in order to live, so to read about someone who takes the plunge and makes it work, even if it is fictional, was so satisfying for me.
It was both this feeling, and Issy's funny mishaps, that kept me reading through the seemingly slow beginning of the book until the actual formation of the bakery occurs. It was once the boring job had been left behind (and we met the cute banker, books always pick up once you meet the love interest!) that this book began to come into its own, we met creative characters which each added a delightful personality to the story, and the setting instantly became more magical.
Although it took me a while to get into this book, I ended up really enjoying it. The characters were loveable and the plot fluffy and fun. The recipes throughout added a cute touch and I was really tempted to try some of them out purely because the characters were enjoying them so much.
I will definitely continue with this series of Colgan's recipe-romances, they remind me a bit of a Sophie Kinsella story, light, sweet and fluffy just like a good cupcake.
Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe is currently £5.59 at The Book Depository