Summary: Baking is in Issy’s blood- if not, there’s definitely plenty of sugar and butter! Raised by a baking extraordinaire of a grandfather, Issy can whip up the most delicious cakes and treats. After being laid off from her desk job, she decides to open up her own café. But Issy soon learns that running a business, even one inspired by her passion, isn’t a piece of cake.
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
As someone who loves British contemporaries and books featuring baking, I am in shock that I had never heard of Jenny Colgan’s books until a recent trip to the library with my mom. I was perusing through the adult books section of my library, planning out how I was going to read ALL the books during my winter break, when I found Jenny Colgan’s Meet Me at the Cupcake Café sitting on the shelf. I was going to put off this book about baking until my winter break, but I couldn’t help myself from going back to the library later in the week to pick it up. I am quite happy with my decision because I absolutely adored Meet Me at the Cupcake Café.
As you can tell from above, Meet Me at the Cupcake Café has a huge emphasis on baking, as Issy opens her own cupcake shop. The most unique element of the book is that it features recipes of many of Issy’s treats that she makes in the book. They filled me with desire to bake, especially for Christmas ( I may have been looking up gingerbread recipes when I should have been writing a paper), and I really want to try to make the Nutella cookies. They recipes are really special and important to the story because Izzy’s grandfather, Gramps, sends them to her through letters. Issy and Gramps have a super close relationship, as her grandfather raised Issy and he influenced her to fall in love with baking. The most heartbreaking element of the novel is seeing Gramps suffer from dementia, but through it all, he supports Issy’s opening of the café. Issy’s moments with her grandfather often brought tears to my eyes, and by the end of the novel I was full-on crying—the first book in a while to make me do so!
Moving on to the more heart-warming aspects of the novel, Meet Me at the Cupcake Café has such a funny and supportive cast of characters for Issy. Pearl and Helena were my favorite side characters, as they brought a lot of humor to the story, but they also supported Issy the most. What really made me laugh out loud were the interactions between Caroline and Pearl’s son, Louis. The following argument between the two made me laugh out loud:
“ “Caline,” said Louis seriously, leaning over to make his point. “Bad cake, Caline.”
“No, yummy cake, Louis,” said Caroline tightly.
“No, Caline,” said Louis. Issy hastily got in the middle before it turned into a genuine argument between a forty-year-old and a two-year-old.
There is a bit of romance in the novel, as each woman in the novel deals with their own relationships. I didn’t mind the romance, with the exception of Issy. Her relationship with her on-and-off again boyfriend, Graeme, frustrated me to no end, especially since she had a much better suitor throughout the story. However, the romance really doesn’t affect my opinion or rating of the novel that much because the baking and storyline made up for it immensely. I just fell in love with Issy’s story, the people in her life, and of course, the cakes. Although it’s an adult novel, if you love the baking aspects of Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I Loved Before trilogy and want a book with even more of an emphasis on baking, pick this one up immediately!
I want to read ALL of Jenny Colgan books now, especially the ones that have to do something with baking and food! And she has so many books centered on Christmas, including the sequel to Meet Me at the Cupcake Café!
Do you enjoy books about baking? Have you read anything by Jenny Colgan? Share in the comments!