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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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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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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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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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on 31 March 2012
Jenny Colgan is back with yet another wonderful book, this time set in a sweet shop. I have read every single one of Jenny's books, multiple times, and whilst there's a lot of charm and humour to be found in the rawness of her first few books, which is why I return to them time and time again, her writing has gotten more lyrical and more slick with every book, and Sweetshop is no exception-as amazingly well written and emotional as Meet Me At The Cupcake Cafe was, Sweetshop takes it one step further and will have you crying one page, laughing the next.
If she continues on in this way she will be a serious rival to Marian Keyes, who I consider to be one of the greatest writers and storytellers around today.
The endless references an descriptions of sweet will give you major cravings (luckily we still have a fairly old school sweet shop where I live!) so be prepared for that, but there's something very charming about it all.
Most of the characters will be fairly familiar to regular readers of Jenny's work, as they do seem to pop up in every book, but this is no bad thing in my opinion.
All in all this book is fantastically written, both funny and sad (at some points I was laughing out loud, other times I had to put the book aside for a little cry) and if you're anything like me, you won't be able to put it down until every single page is done.
There was also a special surprise in that the very last page yielded not another part of the story, but an advertisement for Jenny's next book-a sequel to Meet Me At The Cupcake Cafe. She has never done a sequel before, so this is very exciting, I'm looking forward to seeing how she revisits the characters (and really hoping one character finds his way back in, the flashbacks employed in Sweetshop would suggest that this is not an impossible dream!)
Go and buy it now and give it a read- and don't save it for your holiday. This is a book that, like the best sweets, demands to be consumed immediately.
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Welcome to Rose Hopkin's Sweetshop of Dreams written by Jenny Colgan for me was one excellent read which I thoroughly enjoyed from the first page as I got to know Rosie and the many friends she meets when her Mother lovingly known to Rosie as Angie, rings from Australia asking her would she go and look after Great Aunt Lilian! Soon Rosie realises that Aunt Lilian is no sweet old lady, she is a woman who has survived heartbreak and loss with the will of iron.
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.
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on 19 May 2012
*There may be a potential spoiler in my review, but only for those not familiar with the genre!! I thought everything was very predictable, but warning just in case*

It seems like I'm on my own here as everyone else seems to absolutely love this book. I think Jenny Colgan writes well and I find her really funny on twitter, but felt that this book was really disappointing. Firstly, having worked in the health service for several years, I found it really irritating that Colgan hadn't bothered to do any research on nursing or medicine. Whilst I appreciate the book is a work of fiction, surely she could have had someone to check some of the detail? Secondly, this "girl with a wrong boyfriend meeting the man of her dreams"-stuff has been done so many times! Most of the chick-lit (hate the term) has moved on, but this book seems to be stuck in late 1990s. I wished throughout the book that there would be something original here, but sadly no.
I did enjoy the bits about the sweets though and found the dialogue quite sharp in places.
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on 1 April 2012
I was anxiously awaiting Jenny's new book and was definitely not disappointed. The book follows Rosie Hopkins as she goes to care for her Eldery Aunt and helps her to restore the sweet shop back to its former glory. She learns a lot along her journey in Lipton.

A Fantastic read that will have you searching for an old fashioned sweet shop :)
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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 11 April 2013
I am only a short way through this book, but already can join on the other reviewers who have dared to go against the majority.
This book is really irritating! Just when u are getting absorbed in the story a silly implausible event occurs. Examples:
On her first night at her aunts house rosie goes in search of a bed. She finds a trap door and a loft ladder. At the top is a bedroom complete with ready made sleigh bed. A sleigh bed?? How did that fit through a loft hatch? Ready made bed?
And how can the aunt who is so immobile that she sleeps in her chair suddenly be found in the garden, in the shop etc
Much as I am enjoying the sugary theme and gentle humour I am not sure I will make it to the end of the book.
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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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