"Christmas at the Cupcake Café" by jenny Colgan was exactly what it sounds and looks like: A very cozy read, just right for the time of year when you're glad to pull the door closed from inside your warm flat after you return from a long day at work and have been out in the cold and dark on your way home.
It was part of the pile of paperbacks my mother-in-law had set aside for me when I went visiting her in Yorkshire in the summer, and I couldn't resist this one.
I do like seasonal reading in the period leading up to Christmas, but I guess I should have waited two or three more weeks before starting this:
Snow and crisp, cold days are frequently mentioned, while right now it is so unlike winter here in Germany - we're having sunny day after sunny day, with temperatures reaching near 20 Celsius in the sun some afternoons, really exceptional for November.
Not the book's fault, of course! It was actually a rather nice story about love, friendship, business and what really matters in life. No surprises, but I do not always look for surprises in a book - sometimes a bit of cosiness is all I'm asking for.
Izzie runs a café in London, mainly serving her own creations of cupcakes, with the help of two friends. She lives with her boyfriend and his 11-year-old brother, and things are looking good on all fronts: The café is going really well, she enjoys her work and is very much in love with Austin.
Then Austin is offered a job in New York, and circumstances make a permanent move there look like a very good idea. But is it really?
After he has been over for a few days, Izzie joins Austin in New York. But what was supposed to be an enjoyable visit to test the waters is cut short when it becomes clear that Izzie's café can't cope without her, and some other things that happen do not exactly endear the Big Apple to her. The couple end up facing Christmas separated by thousands of miles - and maybe not just geographically.
But trust this kind of book to not disappoint its readers. Some small and some not so small "miracles" happen - nothing supernatural -, and in the end, it is a most wonderful Christmas for everyone.
Every chapter begins with a cupcake recipe. Some sound easy and delicious enough for me to want to try them, but I know myself well enough to guess that I probably won't suddenly turn into a kitchen fairy. Still, I imagine a lot of people will love the whole "foody" approach; it is a nice touch, and the story is well written with good-natured humour thrown in.
There is a prequel which I haven't read (in that book, Izzie starts the café and of course has to overcome many an obstacle before things finally begin to look up for her), but "Christmas" can be read on its own without a problem.
It was my first book by this author. Jenny Colgan has written quite a lot, and I am not surprised she has a substantial following. Although I would not spend money on her books myself, I liked this story and wouldn't mind to read more from her.