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Book DetailsISBN: 9780143792017
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Book Review: The Cake Maker's Wish by Josephine Moon - Reviewed by CloggieA (13 May 2020)
5 stars The Cake Maker’s Wish is the sixth novel by award-winning Australian author, Josephine Moon. Just over a year after pastry chef, Olivia Kent loses her grandmother (and last-known blood relative), she and her young son, Darcy arrive in the Cotswold village of Stoneden. And less than twenty-four hours later, the old lady next door accuses Olivia of theft: apparently not all the villagers are happy about the reverse-emigration scheme that the Stoneden Renaissance Committee has implemented.
Stoneden is where Olivia’s grandmother, Eleanor Kent grew up before emigrating to Tasmania with her parents. Many of the villagers are determined to reverse the slow death that has been facing the village as cottages are snapped up for holiday homes by Londoners at ridiculous prices. Invited to settle, especially if they have any connection with Stoneden, are young families with skills or trades, and this has attracted “imports” from the various corners of the globe.
For Olivia, it’s a chance to learn about her family history, and for Darcy, to connect with his (never-met-in-person) Norwegian father, as well as make some genuine friends. Furthest from Olivia’s mind is any sort of relationship with a man, even if farmer Grayson is stunningly gorgeous, and Helge, up close, still stirs her hormones.
Soon enough, Olivia and Darcy have made some firm friends and Rambling Rose Fine Cakes opens for business. Before long, a celebrity wedding has the village, not to mention the whole country, agog. But will the resistors, with their racist graffiti and their little acts of sabotage, ruin it for all?
What a delightful cast of characters Moon gives the reader, both amongst the old villagers and the imports: effusive providores, ageing charmers, cranky old women and more. None is wholly good or evil: all have very human flaws, and there are plenty of people holding secrets, guilt and resentments, and feeling the ongoing effects of past tragedies.
The village’s Renaissance Project is an intriguing concept, and Moon clearly demonstrates how and why there might be valid objections despite all the enthusiastic support. While the ending may be fairly predictable (and entirely welcome), there are a few red herrings and surprises on the way. Mouth-watering and a little mysterious Josephine Moon’s latest novel will have you smiling, welling up with tears, preheating the oven and digging out the cake tins, or at least the cake forks. This is Moon at her best! This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by Better Reading Preview and Penguin Michael Joseph.
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