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on 17 March 2014
I think if I could have given this book 4.5 stars, I would have done so, because it really was a fantastically enjoyable book. However, as Jenny's note points out, this book started out because everyone wanted to find out what happened next and the storyline bears a lot of signs of building castles in the air. Some of the plot-lines really are ridiculous and could only work in a Christmas special. Moreover, (admittedly because I enjoyed it so much), I started re-reading the original book and immediately spotted some continuity errors that undermined the plot of the sequel. Unless Australia changed their immigration system in the year or so since the start of the first book.

That said, it does work, largely because the writing is so warm and confident. It makes for a lovely read.

It's a very different story to the first book as well. Sweetshop of Dreams was more of a rambling book, set over a longer period of time and describing how a lot of the characters' lives slowly change over the course of several months. This book presupposes that we know the characters, the village and the issues in the background. Roy Blaine, the dentist, for example, shows up all of once in person and the book relies on the colourful impression he made in the previous story to get the point across. It makes for a tight read - the hard work of establishing the characters has already been done and we can just enjoy the snapshot of their lives at Christmas.

This is not to say that there isn't anything new. Rosie's family are wonderful, and I've grown to love Stephen almost as much as I love Rosie over the course of this novel.

Spoiler - (It's down to the dog, it really is)

It's a lovely book, though. It is very much a Christmas special, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. It's the long, detailed epilogue to a wonderful story.
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on 9 December 2014
Review: I loved Rosie Hopkin's Sweetshop of Dreams, it was one of the best books that I read last year and so I had very high expectations for this one. Unfortunately my expectations were not really met. I loved revisiting the characters and the settings, especially Lillian but this books had a completely different feel for me to the last book and that just made it a bit of a tricky read. I understand that books need to feel different from one another, the wold has evolved, time has progressed but i was expecting the same feel-good factor as Rosie Hopkins had and I just didn't feel it with this one.

It was great to see all the old faces again and find out how they were doing, what they were going to get up to next but some of the characters seem to have changed beyond recognition, especially Stephen from the big house. He seemed to thaw out considerably in the last novel but seemed uptight and distant once again in this novel. Lillian was a lovely as ever and she has her own love interest in this book, however storyline is very predictable and so really didn't add an awful lot of depth to the overall story for me.

There is a dramatic incident fairly early on in this book and, for me, it just didn't fit with the rest of the novel, it was as if someone else had written that bit or that it had been added in at the last minute, The incident itself had me feel anxious and worried for quite a large proportion of the book and not warm and cosy and comforted like the original novel did. I know I'm comparing again, but i think if you've read the first Rosie Hopkins book then that is something you will definitely do. This book would work well as a standalone though because you are reminded of scenes and story lines from the first book, this could be a little patronising if you've marathoned the two books together however...

I did finish this book and I enjoyed how everything came together at the very last minute and I will definitely be reading The Christmas Surprise which is the third book in this companion series but it just didn't live up to my expectations. Perhaps if you do read this as a standalone or if you're not a big Jenny Colgan fan then this book will hit your festive read buttons but it really wasn't for me and I'm a little disappointed that it didn't seem up to the usual Jenny Colgan standard. There is certainly the right balance of festive cheer versus realistic storyline though and so this book should definitely be read at this time of year!
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on 16 January 2017
I absolutely love the Rosie Hopkins series of books - they are my favourite of Jennys books so far. I read the first Rosie book early last year and couldn't wait to read more about life in Lipton with Rosie, Lillian, Stephen etc so I was thrilled to get the next two in the series for Christmas! I read this book and the third book back to back which you might think would be sugar overload but not for me! Yes the stories are fantastical and completely far fetched but who cares?! These books are a great escape from the harsh realities of the world we live in today - I am very happy to spend a couple of hours transported to this cosy world and I hope a fourth book might happen. I also think that these books would make a fantastic tv series and I'm constantly trying to cast Rosie and Stephen in my head!
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on 15 February 2015
I actually preferred this book to the earlier Rosie Hopkins Sweet Shop book, and thought the author really padded the characters out much more. It made me laugh, made me cry and I just loved it! The only downfall is the proof-reader couldn't make her mind up if Edison's mum was Hester or Esther *lol* Will certainly be reading more of Jenny Colgan in future.
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on 18 May 2017
All you would expect from Jenny colgan
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on 9 September 2017
Excellent story, I lost myself in it . Once again a great read, look forward to my next one ,
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on 22 January 2014
I think these books are now getting so predictable and overly personalised by the author with unrealistic and unintersting plot lines and poor characterisation.
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on 31 December 2015
Dull. Not often I stop reading and admit defeat....but my reading time is precious and after a quarter way through I ditched it.
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on 21 November 2017
A pleasant read coming up To Christmas
Easy reading Traditional aspects of Christmas that get overlooked in our hussle and bustle lives
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on 20 August 2017
Item as described and delivered in good time. Thank you.
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