Monday, January 13, 2014

There's More to Life Than Cupcakes by Poppy Dolan

4 Star

Ellie Redford has a husband, a job and a home. According to the rest of the world, it’s baby o’clock already. Shame life doesn’t come with a recipe…

Ellie knows that starting a family with lovely husband Pete would be an amazing adventure. Pete would make a brilliant dad and she’d have an excuse to eat shed loads of Cherry Bakewell. But Ellie’s bestie would rather she was up at 3am with a bottle of Malibu, not formula. And with redundancies looming, Ellie’s boss isn’t exactly going to throw her a shower if she disappears for a year, with pay. 

While Ellie juggles her feelings (and everyone else’s) as competently as a drunken clown, she finds herself signing up for a baking class, alongside the young, free and sizzling hot Joe. As they work buns and shape tarts, is there more to their friendship than a shared appreciation of Paul Hollywood? 

Ellie’s soufflés may be rising, but her personal life is one big soggy mess. If she doesn't make a decision soon, she may just lose everything that matters to her. Maybe it's time to take off the pinny and face up to the truth: there’s more to life than cupcakes...

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Kathryn - 4 Star

Although the title makes you think light, fluffy and deliciously simple- this novel has a quite a bit more going on underneath the surface.

I was surprised at the depth of the exploration into motherhood that main character Ellie undertakes and it made me dwell a bit on friends around me who don’t have children and are watching me try to navigate motherhood.  I don’t think I went into being a parent completely naïve but then I also didn’t see many people before me go down the road. While I wouldn’t trade my kids for anything I do wish I presented an idyllic, serene picture of motherhood to those around me a touch more often!  I shout a lot more than I’d like and I routinely wish there were a few moments in the day (or night) that were truly my own.  But hoping to be a mother was never a question for me…if I’d seen how all-consuming it was before hand would I have questioned the decision?

Ellie is quite convinced she wants to have children and yet she’s completely sure she’s not ready…yet… and spends the novel trying to work out why that is.  She has a lovely husband and a job she’s becoming more and more excited about and really can’t see how a child would work into her lifestyle.  Is she ready to make that change?  And a change that she points out is irreversible!  The novel worked for me for the most part, I appreciated the people in Ellie’s life and thought that Dolan ensured that each person really had a purpose and brought something to her story.

The story was a bit long for me and Ellie occasionally rambled on and repeated herself but on the whole I saw purpose for most of Dolan’s scenes and characters. The concept of motherhood did creep up on me though just as it crept up and took over Ellie’s thoughts until they became all-consuming.  I really enjoyed the novel and would be pleased to read another Poppy Dolan!

Thank you to Novelicious for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

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