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on 19 July 2012
If I could have given this 3.5 stars that is what it would have had. I found this book sweetly nostalgic and was just what I needed to immerse myself in. I agree that it's very typical of it's genre but felt that it was well written and humourous. I really liked Edison the little boy who befriended Rosie. I found the modern story with Rosie and the back story with Lilian gelled well. Sit back and grab yourself a coffee and a few chunks of chocolate or a bag of chocolate limes and get swept away with the story.
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After reading (and loving) my first Jenny Colgan novel last year, Meet Me At The Cupcake Cafe, I was really, really keen to read to read her brand new novel, especially as it sounded like it was going to be about sweets... how could you go wrong?! The cover is fantastic, red with the teal foil highlights for the lettering, and I think it is certainly going to be a book that people will want to pick up and find out more about, especially thanks to that tantalising title! I have to say I found this book better than Colgan's last release, and that's certainly saying something considering how great that book was, and I ploughed through this book in just a few days because I was in love with the characters, and the interesting way in which it was written, it really did keep me hooked. I have to say as well, whether you're a fan of sweets or not, do read this book because it's a joy!

The book tells the tale, funnily enough, of Rosie Hopkins, and her sudden move from London to the countryside where her ailing, elderly Aunt Lilian is living alone, and needs Rosie's help. Rosie is reluctant to leave her job as auxiliary nurse in a busy city hospital, and boyfriend Gerard behind, but does so for her family, especially mother Angie. When she gets there, she finds Lilian's sweet shop closed and it looks like it hasn't been open for a while, and Lilian is in a fairly bad way too. Rosie struggles to get used to country life, every knowing everyone elses business, but befriends the local doctor, and ends up with stroppy local patient Stephen to tend to. Rosie is determined to get Lilian's shop ready for selling, and sets about making it look brand new, but ends up falling in love with it herself. I loved Rosie straight away, she's the perfect heroine for a book, and is so loveable, there's nothing at all to fault about her!

Rosie is all about her family, which is a good message to send out, and helps Lilian out even though the pair barely know each other. I liked that Rosie didn't take any nonsense from her elderly Aunt, and found the pair to be quite the comedy duo as the book went on, with both girls giving as good as they got! I especially enjoyed reading about Rosie's escapades with the locals in the village, some hilarious moments did make me laugh out loud, and I found it so easy to read. Lilian herself was a great character, clearly troubled by events that happened in her past, but reading her unfolding relationship with her niece was fantastic, and I really liked the stroppy old woman by the end of it! These two were definitely the main characters, but there were a few others who were important too, such as Rosie's hideous boyfriend Gerard, just an awful character and I could not understand for the life of me why Rosie let him treat her that way! Moray the local doc was lovely, a really friendly face for Rosie in the book, and I loved their scenes together, and the medical issues that came up were well written too, I enjoyed the realism of those.

Now to the sweet shop. Well what can you say? Colgan has clearly done her research (lucky her!) about all manner of sweets, old and new and so many make an appearance in the book that it makes for fantastic reading! As well as mentioning the sweets in the shop, Colgan has introduced extracts from a book Lilian wrote about sweets, which has real recipes in it too if you fancy trying those out, and they sound amazing! I found the extracts at the beginning of the chapter were funny and enlightening, and added something a bit different to the book. I also really enjoyed the descriptions of the sweet shop, from the fancy chocolate boxes to the big glass jars lined up on the shelves... it sounded like heaven! Another thing I want to mention about this book was the way it was told. The majority of it was in the present day with Rosie and Lilian, but throughout the book, there were flashbacks to Lilian's youth in the 1940's, and what exactly went on there is nothing short of heart-breaking, and very emotional to read. Colgan easily manages to transport you back many years into that time period, and it was great to have a background for Lilian to explain her in the present day, I found these parts of the book so touching and incredibly well written.

Overall, this book was a joy to read, and I really can't recommend it enough. From the enticing, bright front cover that immediately draws you in, you're then sucked into the world of Rosie and Lilian and the glorious sweet shop, as well as the things in the women's lives too. There is a great cast of characters, from the youngest villagers through to the oldest, and a moody young man thrown in to boot, and I loved every single page. Colgan manages to combine this story with Lilian's youth with ease, and I enjoyed each part of the book equally. This book delves deep into the heart of family, love and sweeties, and I defy you not to crave at least half of the things mentioned in the book, especially in a candy striped paper bag as you're reading along! I miss the days of proper pick n mix, and this book will definitely bring that all back in your mind, and more! A fantastic novel that I know will be a surefire success, and it thoroughly deserves to be! A real treat of a read!
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Welcome to Rosie Hopkins' Sweetshop of Dreams was my first book by Jenny Colgan and I absolutely loved it! Her last two books have really appealed to me what with being a real foodie, and her pretty charming covers have really caught my eye. I think the concept of having a chick-lit novel intermingled with a delicious treat, in this case old fashioned sweets, is a bit of a genius idea as it really gives the sense that your indulging in something naughty but nice and it's refreshing to see a chick-lit novel that celebrates the joys of sweets instead of the heroine counting the calories and going on a diet in a bid to lose weight.

The book begins with our loveable heroine Rosie living out a pretty mundane existence. She's in a steady relationship and has a good job in a city that she loves. Rosie's always been a true Londoner and has never known anything else but the hustle and bustle of city life. So when she gets a call from her mum pulling in a family favour asking her to go and care for her Great Aunt Lilian in the countryside Rosie's not at all thrilled. But as she gets settled in and swept up in the gorgeous quaint country village of Lipton Rosie not only finds herself falling in love with this way of life and her aunt's old fashioned sweetshop but the people too particularly three strapping countrymen a doctor, his patient, and the local handy man who are a far cry from her high maintenance boyfriend back in London. Soon enough Rosie has some big decisions to make, return to the life she's always known? Or take a leap of faith into something new? And if she does take the plunge which local lads arms will she be falling into?

The story's told in an alternating narrative between Rosie and her Aunt Lilian. Rosie's chapters are told in present tense as she refurbishes Lipton's Sweetshop and Lilian's are told in the past tense taking us back as far as 1942 when she was a young lass running her family's sweetshop through war, heartbreak, and family feuds. I have to admit that I did prefer Rosie's chapters simply because I found her more relatable than Lilian. But that being said Lilian's chapters where fascinating to read about and gave a little something extra to the story especially as we come to learn of Lilian's mistakes and regrets and how they start to mirror Rosie's own situation. There's a strong moral of living with no regrets, of taking what you want from life, and learning from past mistakes.

I absolutely fell in love with the Hopkins' Sweetshop. The way that Jenny Colgan describes the sweets and scenery was so vivid that my mouth would water as I imagined the sweet sugary scent which made me nostalgic (not to mention hungry!) for the sweets I enjoyed as a child. Chocolate Limes, Flying Saucers, and great big thick slabs of creamy Fudge they're all here and celebrated in this book. I particularly enjoyed the sections on sweets taken from Lilian's recipe book at the beginning of every chapter particularly the one about life being like a bag of Revels rather than a box of chocolates!

Overall Welcome to Rosie Hopkins' Sweetshop of Dreams is a charming and delicious treat of a book for foodies and chick-lit fans alike. The blend of sweet nostalgia, warm characters, and yummy men make it a book good enough to be eaten up in one single satisfying bite.
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on 3 April 2012
I cannot praise this book enough! What must have taken Jenny months to write, has taken me 24 hours to devour- I simply cannot put it down. It is gentle, yet gripping. You care about the characters almost from page one, and I cannot decide which I enjoyed more- the modern tale of Rosie, or that set in the 1940's of her Great Aunt Lillian. They entwine together so beautifully that you eventually end up loving both characters dearly, and truly feel as though you are life long friends of both. I can only hope to write as wonderfully as this- this is a writer who writes with such warmth and depth, and with such skill that you cannot help but to become a fan! I congratulate you on creating a story that almost has a heartbeat all of its own, and any person who reads this will not be disappointed. Many, many thanks for taking the time to write this superb story! xx
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VINE VOICEon 4 May 2012
A lovely uplifting tale, that was made all the more delicious by being set in a traditional sweet shop.

A beautiful story about seizing the day, and enjoying each and every moment as if it was a sweet melting fleetingly on your tongue.

I really enjoyed the twin narratives of both the leading ladies which showed how choices made in your youth can have lasting ripples throughout the whole of your life.

It was touching to see how the project of restoring the neglected sweet shop also breathed new life into both Rosie and Lillian, showing them they could move onto a happier and more fulfilling phase of their lives.

I did enjoy all of the book, but my favourite parts were the beginnings of the chapters, I absolutely loved the snippets from Lillian's sweetie book. Actual recipes for traditional treats, nostalgic anecdotes and unknown facts, all added to the feeling of stepping back in time to when we were children and sweets were a magical wonder.
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on 17 July 2012
I've got to stop taking as read that an amazon 5 star is as good as the reviews claim
I'm afraid this book was like an overdose of sugar for me - like your eyes were too big for your stomach when it came to going to the sweet shop, being able to choose what and as much as you wanted, scoffing too quickly and living to regret it hours later when the sugar rush kicked in.

Self inflicted goo
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on 9 November 2013
I thoroughly enjoyed the Cupcake Cafe books, but the Sweetshop of Dreams is not a patch on them. Plot is very predictable. Characters are not believable. The Derbyshire setting is unrecognisable, although I have lived in Derbyshire all my life. I really wonder if Jenny Colgan has ever been to Derbyshire, let alone gained any understanding of the geography of the area. There is also an obvious lack of research into the nursing aspects of the main character's life. The diary sections are irritating and unnecessary, apart from being printed in a different font which is not as clear as that in the rest of the book.

This seems like a book that's been thrown together in a rush, using the elements the author found successful in her previous novels. Come on Jenny - you can do better!
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on 17 April 2012
Jenny Colgan's latest offering is a wonderful treat fitting of the title. Warm, funny and perfectly paced with beautifully drawn charcters, it tells Rosie's story as she puts her life in London on hold to do her family duty. This is intertwined with flashbacks of Great Aunt Lillian's past. But her duty may not be as cut and dried as Rosie thinks. As Rosie brings the shop back to life what will she discover about her own? And what of Lillian? What will Rosies arrival stir up for her? So grab yourself a selection of your favourite sweets (or make some as you go from the wonderful recipies that accompany each chapter!) and meander gently through the Derbyshire countryside with Rosie some hunky farmers, sinsiter dentists and a man with past.
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After reading Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe last year I have been eagerly awaiting a new book by Jenny Colgan to come out so you can imagine the expression on my face when I was contacted by Sphere Publishing and asked to review her new book I was over the moon and then when I read the press release and see the title of the book I knew this was going to be the book for me I LOVE SWEETS!!

Jenny Colgan brings us a unique storyline that must be everyone's dream come true. I mean who has never once in their life wanted to work in a sweet shop! I really enjoyed watching Rosie working to get the sweet shop back to its traditional glory, and when she finds the different kinds of sweets in the shop it had my mouth watering and me shooting back to my childhood remembering all my favourite penny sweets!

The storyline flows at a gentle pace which helps, along with the beautiful descriptive writing, to set the scene in the idyllic little village. There were a real mix of characters some who you love and some who you just have to roll your eyes at! Our main character Rosie is full of warmth and is at a dead end in her life we instantly pick up that Rosie isn't really happy with things in her life but we hope that by taking time out of her day to day routine that she will finally find some happiness by making some changes in her life. What I liked about this book was I was never quite sure how the story was going to end which made me keep turning the pages eager to see what was going to happen next.

There was plenty of humour in this book which only added to this perfect concoction to make a deliciously delightful read.
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on 13 May 2014
So many glowing reviews and a book in my favourite genre, I expected a lot from this book, so perhaps my disappointment would have been less had my expectations been lower ...
The setting didn't quite work for me. With the exception of Peak House it didn't sound like Derbyshire and the village as depicted in the frontispiece was straight out of Milly Molly Mandy, where as the one the author writes about sounds more like a market town.
Some of the characters were lovely. I liked the irascible old aunt, the doctor and Edison, the little boy. I thought Gerard, Rosie's boyfriend was very well drawn and though annoying he didn't become a stereotypical villain. The same cannot be said of the evil dentist, the evil vegan lady and the evil Cee-Cee who never rose above caricature.
And my biggest disappointment SPOILER ALERT: the AWFUL consummation scene. How could the heroine go from a mild mannered sweetheart to drunken "grinding" Ugh! And then when her lover treats her SO badly immediately afterwards why on earth does she still fancy him? It is rare in a romantic comedy to find oneself longing for the heroine to ditch the hero but I did.
However there is much to like, particularly the descriptions of the sweetshop which were lovely.
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