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Welcome To Rosie Hopkins' Sweetshop Of Dreams Paperback – 29 Mar 2012
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This delightful, nostalgia-inducing story is utterly charming - and left us craving a paper bag stuffed with treats! (Closer)
A fabulously sweet concoction of warmth, wit and lip-smacking childhood treats. Willy Wonka would be proud (Candis)
A cute and cosy read . . . indulge your sweet tooth with this touching tale (Heat)
Sweeter than a bag of jelly beans . . . had us eating up every page (Cosmopolitan)
*Winner of the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2013*
Jenny's new novel is full of warmth, humour and fun - an homage to Star Bars and spangles and refreshers and licorice allsorts and gobstoppers and Hubba Bubba and friendship, and all the best childhood memories of buying sweets in paper bags with your pocket money.
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I loved how Jenny Colgan allowed Rosie to grow as she spent time away from her old life, and as the village of Linton copes with the whirlwind named Rosie, life will never be the same again for both Rosie and Linton in the most unexpected ways which had me entertained throughout.
Why I loved this book so much was mainly because as Rosie narrates her own present day story, and her life was not dull as she is soon getting used to life away from London where everything was quick and easy, in Linton it even takes a lot of stretching and patience even to get simple things like a mobile signal!
We also hear from Lilian as she looks back at her own youth in the 1940's when she worked in her parent's sweet shop while dealing with her own broken hearts and stolen dreams. Lilian was also dealing with the Second World War where rationing was in full motion which was not good for the sweet trade while learning to accept how one decision she makes in the speed of a moment will lead her to abandon a few dreams along the way.
Lilian and Rosie had a wonderful relationship and it was a pure pleasure reading about them and their minor disagreements.
This is one book you might have to read with a healthy helping of willpower, as a lot of yummy sweets are the stars of this book and it was fun remembering the sweets from my youth as they popped up at the beginning of each chapter.
Welcome to Rosie Hopkin's Sweetshop of Dreams written by the very talented Jenny Colgan for one main reason the book is truly scrumptious filled with a brilliant storyline which had me captivated from page one.
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.
As soon as the story moved with Rosie to the Countryside it improved dramatically. With the introduction to her aunt Lilian who I absolutely loved, it seemed like her and Rosie worked really well together as characters. Lilian's little sweet shop has been closed for years and with her Aunt's declining health, Rosie needs to sort out the sale of the shop and finding a home for her aunt. The other element of this story was not only Rosie's but of Lilian's past and how she found herself to be where she is today. As the reader we get to see snippets of Lilian's history and her own life being brought up in a time when war was as the forefront of everybody's mind. This was such a nice way to layer the story as you find yourself understanding why Lilian is the way she is now.
There are many village characters that also add sparkle to this story and I found myself wishing Rosie on as all she seems to do for the first half of the book is land herself in hot water. I particularly liked the stroppy and awkward character Stephen who seems to be determined to do things his way! I read this book very quickly and absolutely loved it. As usual with Jenny Colgan books you get the added addition of something extra and in this books case it was sweets. You get taken back in time with all the nostalgic mentions of sweets from days gone past, as well as sweet recipes at the start of each chapter! I have to say that the Cupcake books are still my favourite but this is a definite second. I can't wait to see what's in store for the follow up of this due out in November 2013.