Review published on May 17, 2017.
Having loved Karen Clarke’s first book in this series, The Beachside Sweet Shop, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this one. Don’t worry if you haven’t read the first one though as they work fine as standalone reads. This time we meet Carrie Dashwood, who has returned to Dorset to help her aunt Ruby with her flower stall. Last time she was there she fled the place because of her unrequited love for Tom Hudson. Will she see him again and, if so, how will she cope?
What a complete and utter joy it was for me to return to Shipley. A few of the characters from the first book made a brief appearance, which was a lovely touch. It made me feel like part of the community myself. I loved Carrie as a character. She’s kind and I suspect would be a fantastic friend to have. Shame her former friend Megan didn’t agree. What a thoroughly horrid person she was. I also thought Aunt Ruby was a fabulous character, oh and not to mention Jane, who helped her on the flower stall. I shall say no more than that she likes to over-share!
I found myself chortling away on many occasions at the different situations Carrie got herself into. But this is also a heart-warming read and the writing sets just the right tone. It’s not saccharine to the point of being sickly, but it’s charming and feel-good and I loved every minute of it. As with the previous book, I wanted to be there, although whilst I could see myself running a sweet shop, I think if I ran a flower stall I would have a lot of buckets of dead flowers. I definitely don’t have green fingers!
I hear that Karen Clarke is already on her way with the third book in the series, which will have a Christmassy feel. Shipley is a wonderful creation and I can’t wait to get back there.
Nicola Smith 5/3
The Beachside Flower Stall by Karen Clarke
Bookouture 9781786811578 pbk Apr 2017