Thank you to Netgalley, Author Jenny Oliver and publishers Carina for gifting me a copy of this book. I was gripped straight away by the title, as those who know me will know I am so a foodie reader!
Moving to Italy to set up a baking club is a dream come true…
…until Libby catches her husband cheating just weeks before The Sunshine and Biscotti Club opens its doors.
With the first wave of guests set to arrive any day, Libby has no choice but to tie on her apron and get set to bake. But with a dash of sunshine and a sprinkling of old friends, Libby’s kitchen nightmare might just become the best thing that’s ever happened to her.
After all, you can’t bake biscotti without breaking a few eggs…
For guaranteed sunshine all holiday long, pack your bags and escape to The Sunshine and Biscotti Club – the irresistible new book from Jenny Oliver
Published May 19th 2016 by Carina
The book revolves around three girl friends meeting up in Tuscany. They haven’t seen each other for a while, so their summer is to be spent helping Libby bring her beloved Hotel Limoncello back to its full beauty. Each of the girls have their issues and problems. But the summer brings them sunshine, friendship and a good dose of biscotti.
I love the idea of a hotel and baking school in Italy, a summer in the sunshine with lemon groves, fresh fruit, herbs and a lake nearby. It sounds totally idyllic. Jenny Oliver’s descriptions are serene, beautiful and really put a vision in the readers imagination.
“The leaves of the lemon grove sat waxy and motionless, the water in the distance was a cool sweep of calm blue..”
Throughout the story, we hear about each of the characters, their problems and their thoughts. The narrative changes from one character to the other as the chapters go on. This is easy to follow, and lets the reader get into the minds of Libby, Eve and Jessica so we can understand each of them. The relationships between the characters seemed real and you can see the changes in their relationships as you read along, from their pasts, to before they met up again and during their summer together.
My favourite character is food blogger Libby, she has caught her Husband being ‘unHusbandly’, so she is whole-heartedly focused on her baking school and also her food blog. I loved the part where we read about her making her vlog post for baking liquorice biscotti.
“…decided to record a midnight feast video for the blog. The garden outside, silent and eerie in the moonlight, was the perfect backdrop.”
And, while outwardly looking perfect and happy, I can tell that the Author knows a bloggers mind, and I felt that I could really relate to Libby when we hear her thoughts about her blog.
“She thought how the blog was the one place that had stayed normal throughout all this. How, whatever was going on outside, she could dive in there and be in complete control.”
I loved The Sunshine and Biscotti Club as its not just your average hotel in Italy, its a cookery school. So, as such, the Author shares recipes with us. We see how the friends make the items that Libby had chosen for them, and some being ‘ok’ cooks, and some giving us laughs at their attempts to follow the instructions. There is a really fun part where they have a bit of freedom to make the best desert that they can. This really fed my foodie readers mind, and my chick lit reader chuckles.
Overall, this book is a story of summer escapism. It has fun, food and sunshine. What more could a summer read give you.
This is the first book I have read by Jenny Oliver, but it certainly won’t be the last. Have you read The Sunshine and Biscotti Club? Leave me the link to your review if you have please. Can you recommend any other Jenny Oliver books? or any foodie books for me? I always love to hear other booklovers thoughts, so please join the booklove in the comments below.
What a wonderful quote to start your book. Any avid followers of my blog and / or Twitter will know that Caroline James is one of my favourite Authors.
This book is a follow up to ‘Coffee, Tea, The Gypsy and Me’. You can read my review for that book HERE!
Author Caroline James sent me a wonderful package with this book, all beautifully wrapped with the signed paperback book and a slice of home baked Caribbean cake! Lucky me eh! The cake was delicious and the book great.
This book can absolutely be read as a stand alone, but I would recommend reading both as they are fantastic!
** All views are completely honest and my own, despite eating the Authors cake! 😉
Flying solo again in their middle years, can life really begin again for Jo and Hattie? Is there hope for the newly single baby boomers and can romance happen?
Continuing the Coffee Tea… series, join Jo and Hattie as they romp into their future and prove that anything is possible!
Coffee Tea The Caribbean & Me is a stand-alone read but also the sequel to Coffee Tea The Gypsy & Me which shot to #3 on Amazon and was E-Book of the week in The Sun Newspaper.
Set in Cumbria and the Caribbean.
“A story about friendship and loss…is there hope for those of a certain age?”
‘The time to be happy is now…’ Jo remembers her late husband’s words but is struggling to face the lonely future that lies ahead. A heartbroken widow, Jo finds herself alone with ghostly memories at Kirkton House – a Cumbrian Manor that until recently, she ran as a thriving hotel. Her two sons have moved away, Jimmy to run a bar in Barbados, and Zach to London to pursue a career as a celebrity chef. Middle-age and widowhood loom frighteningly and Jo determines to sell up and start again, despite protestations from colourful friend, Hattie and erstwhile admirer Pete Parks.
Hattie convinces Jo to postpone any life-changing decisions by enjoying a Caribbean holiday but their holiday sets off a course of events that brings mayhem and madness to Jo and her family. Confused and anxious for her future, can life really begin again for Jo?
Coffee Tea The Caribbean & Me was a finalist at The Write Stuff – London Book Fair 2015. The judge’s comments included, “Caroline is a natural story-teller with a gift for humour in her writing.”
Kindle Edition, 334 pages
Expected publication: February 12th 2016 by Ramjam Publishing Company
This book starts off telling us about Jo and Hattie in Westmorland, unfortunately they are both single again in their later years. But they have a great friendship which we can see throughout the book. The story takes us from Westmorland to the Caribbean to London and back again. You can tell that the Author has a love for all of these places. The way Caroline describes Barbados made me want to go on holiday, and as I couldn’t just jump on a plane to the Caribbean, I made do with a rum punch. 😉
Caroline’s writing is smooth and easy reading with great descriptions. She totally puts the reader in the place, so you can just imagine yourself sitting on the white sands drinking cocktails.
“..secluded beach-fronted gardens and palm trees swayed, as the turquoise waters lapped..”
I knew before I started this book that I was going to see characters that I had ‘met’ before, and was excited to see what Caroline had in store for them. We also got to meet new lovely characters. We meet Jo’s second son Zach, who is dubbed the ‘Gypsy Chef’. I was especially happy to read of this new character as I love Caroline’s foodie descriptions. There are the deliciously English cooked breakfasts, Caribbean food – mmm Caribbean cake, and of course Zach’s ‘Gypsy Chef’ cooking.
“..chop a bunch of nettles. He tossed them into a pan to saute, along side finely diced wild garlic..”
There are such a wide range of characters in this book. I love the positivity from Hattie, she is always there for her friend Jo with uplifting words, fun and laughter. One of the side characters was Lottie. I would like to hear more from her in Caroline’s future books. She reminds me of Bubble from Ab Fab. I love the way Caroline describes her dress sense, it gives such a sense of her character.
This is what Lottie wore to a birthday party – “..a tight green body stocking, that emphasized every bone and a bright red bob hat. The ensemble reminded Bob of a giant match”
This book is very cleverly written whereby, if like me you have read Caroline’s two previous books you can see how all the characters link up. And wow there are some surprises there with some of the characters. I wasn’t expecting that!! (No spoilers, so you will have to read and find out for yourself).
I loved this book, it gave me an easy read with a great range of characters. There is love, comedy, emotion and food! What more can you ask for?! It was brilliant. ♥
I had a great interview with Author Caroline James. If you missed it, you can catch up HERE!
If you have read any of Caroline’s books, I’d love to hear your thoughts. If not, what did you think of the sound of this one? Do you want to read it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments, I love to read what you think! ♥