Article published on April 19, 2017.
I’m a sucker for books about shops and I’m a sucker for sweet shops in particular and then add in the word ‘beachside’ and you have a few words there that will always get me reaching for a book. As soon as I saw The Beachside Sweet Shop I knew I had to have it. I was…. well… like a kid in a sweet shop.
Our heroine is Marnie Appleton. The sweet shop has been in her family for years and she likes running it, but somehow she thinks she would prefer to run away and go travelling. The grass is always greener and all that. I liked Marnie a lot. She’s kind and caring and missing her ex, Alex, who went away to work in New York.
Karen Clarke is brilliant at characters. She writes them in such a way that I can easily imagine them, what they will say, do, feel. One of my favourite characters has to be Josh, who turns up looking for a job. He seems like a classic beach bum sort, still skateboarding at 25 and drifting around, but I just thought he was brilliant and so much fun.
This book had me chortling away many times. It’s really funny. Right from the first page it had me smiling at an exchange between Marnie and the sweet supplier. There’s some really clever dialogue. And whilst it’s a light read, as you might expect from the cover and the subject matter, it also has depth and emotion. It had my mouth watering from all the mention of confectionery, it made me feel annoyed by an attention seeker looking for any reason to make a splash and ruin Marnie’s reputation, and it had me laughing out loud at some of the witty situations and exchanges.
I wanted to put myself right into this book. I wanted to be behind the counter of the sweet shop, I wanted to stroll to Bob’s Bakery at lunchtime for a chicken baguette and I wanted to sit and eat it looking out to sea. Alas, I had to make do with imagining it between the pages of this book which was the next best thing.
There are lots of coffee shop/cupcake/sweet shop/seaside type books, which is not to say that there are too many of them, but I do think this one is a standout one for me and I’m really looking forward to reading the next one in the beachside series, The Beachside Flower Stall. I hope some of the sweet shop characters reappear.
A fabulous candy cane of a read. I absolutely loved it (can you tell?).
Nicola Smith 5/3
The Beachside Sweet Shop by Karen Clarke
Bookouture 9781786810373 pbk Mar 2017
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