Review: 'Bella's Christmas Bake Off' by Sue Watson (2015)
Bella Bradley is the queen of television baking – a national treasure. Her Christmas specials have been topping the ratings for years and her marriage to Peter ‘Silver Fox’ Bradley is the stuff of Hello magazine specials.
But this year things are going to be different.
For Amy Lane, Bella’s best friend from school, life hasn’t held quite the same sparkle. And when Amy’s husband walks out three weeks from Christmas, it seems their lives are further apart than ever.
Amy has watched Bella’s rise to fame fondly, despite the fact Bella was always a terrible cook. But when she realises that Bella’s latest Christmas book is made up entirely of Amy’s mother’s recipes, the gloves are off…
After winning a competition to appear on Bella’s TV show, Amy is going to make sure that for Bella and her viewers, this will definitely be a Christmas to remember…
Christmas wouldn't be the same without some festive Bookouture reads waiting for us, and particularly a Sue Watson Christmas novel can't be missing from the holiday season! Not too long ago I had the pleasure of reading one of Sue's other books, namely her 2015 summer release 'Summer Flings and Dancing Dreams', which I really enjoyed (click here to read my review), and now I have 'Bella's Christmas Bake Off' waiting for me, which looks like a real treat! The novel was released on the 22nd of October and it's one of this year's Christmas-themed releases I have been really excited about. A pretty cover, a promising description and a fabulous author... all ingredients for a wonderful read to cuddle up with on a cold Winter's night!
Forty-something Amy Lane suddenly finds herself all alone in the lead-up to Christmas when her husband decides to leave her for someone else after over 20 years of marriage. With their children at college and Amy free from her work as a teacher for the holidays, she has no idea how she is going to spend the most wonderful time of the year. When Amy is watching her former best friend and famous TV baking personality Bella Bradley on TV, she is unpleasantly surprised when she discovers Bella is about to use Amy's mother's recipes as her own. Seeking revenge, Amy enters a competition to be invited to Bella's kitchen for Christmas and when she wins, Amy suddenly has an exciting plan of her own for this year's holiday season...
Once again Sue Watson has treated us to a fabulously festive and warm chick lit read that will undoubtedly put a smile on the faces of a lot of readers. 'Bella's Christmas Bake Off' has a baking theme that has been quite popular the past few years, but also focuses on timeless topics such as friendship and finding yourself. Protagonist Amy is another one of Sue Watson's easy-to-warm-to and relatable heroines; a female character that's realistically flawed and therefore only easier to like. Next to Amy, Bella is a fascinating character and I loved the chemistry between the two friends. Bella's TV crew also consists of some memorable personalities, such as Bella's manager Fliss, who really made me laugh out loud with some of her remarks.
While I loved the whole festive feel of this novel (all the talk about food and baking will make your mouth water!), I did miss a bit of a romance element. I love it when Christmas stories also have a love story at their core, and this novel focused more on friendship. Also a great theme, don't get me wrong, but I did miss a nice touch of romance. However, this doesn't take away from the fact that Sue Watson is a wonderful author whose novels never fail to make me smile, and this one is another great title to add to her list of worthwhile reads. Overall, 'Bella's Christmas Bake Off' is a feel-good, warm-hearted and festive novel that will definitely succeed in warming you up during this cold time of the year and a book that will leave you with a smile on your face!