Earlier this year, I read Anita Faulkner’s debut novel A Colourful Country Escape, which I absolutely loved. So I was thrilled to hear her latest novel was out – The Gingerbread Café. The first thing to mention is the beautiful cover – a gorgeous house (the café of the title) in a navy blue background with trees, flowers, hills and snow. Just lovely! Plus gingerbread is one of my favourite foods!
The Gingerbread Café is a special place, festive all year round. When Nell (the owner of the café) dies, Gretel Rosenhart inherits it, along with Nell’s nephew Lukas. It’s not the perfect match – Lukas hates Christmas, Gretel loves it. He’s a Head Chef at a restaurant and insists he isn’t interested in the café. How will this ever work?
Gretel is 26, she is originally from Austria and now lives with her pet ferret Angel Gabriel in a small maisonette in Mistleton, Gloucestershire. Since Nell died, she doesn’t really have anyone left to care about. She has a talent for making beautiful Christmas ornaments from glass, which she sells online. But is her crafting and her ferret really enough?
I loved Gretel right from the start. I love her clothes and how she takes her ferret with her – in his matching outfits! I like the fact she has obvious issues to deal with; she isn’t perfect at all. She’s not comfortable around people and has had a tragic past. I really wanted her to make a success of The Gingerbread Café and find some happiness.
I loved all the characters in the book – well, nearly all of them. Francesca Whimple deserves a big panto-style BOO HISS! But everyone is interesting, some hold plenty of secrets and you are intrigued to find out more about them. What’s Amber hiding? Will Grumpy Lukas thaw with the snow?
It’s not just a romance novel, there are so many layers and fascinating characters with their own stories to tell. Gretel and Lukas are both grieving and lonely, so although they seem to be opposites in many respects, the reader can see they have a lot in common.
Anita’s writing style is just beautiful – easy to get into, fun, warm and witty with some brilliant lines! (One of my favourites was “Gretel had run out of steam and had gone home to sob into her ferret.”) The festive theme is gorgeous, I could literally smell the gingerbread and cinnamon! (Remember those Scratch ‘n’ Sniff stickers? We need Scratch ‘n’ Sniff books!) The chapters are just the right size too and always tempting to read “just one more”… Plus there are some wonderful little touches like the café’s unpredictable jukebox.
This is the second of Anita’s books I have read and I’m happy to add her onto my list of favourite authors, as both novels have been perfect! Highly recommended.
The brand-new Cotswold romance from Anita Faulkner, author of A COLOURFUL COUNTRY ESCAPE. Cosy up for chilly winter nights, falling snow and heart-stopping romance – the perfect festive read!
Can Gretel find the recipe for the perfect Christmas?
The Gingerbread Café is always full of Christmas magic. Come rain or shine (or even a July heatwave), there’s always a hot chocolate bursting with cinnamon and marshmallows waiting for you. For introverted Gretel, it’s been the perfect escape from ‘real life’. The owner, Nell, is Gretel’s last link to her late mum, and hiding out at the café feels so much safer than making new friends.
So when Nell suddenly passes, Gretel is left heartbroken. Then she discovers that Nell has left the café to her – but there’s a catch. Gretel has to share the running of The Gingerbread Café with the least festive person ever: Nell’s nephew, Lukas. Head chef at the local fancy restaurant, Lukas makes it clear he has no time for the café, Gretel or even Christmas itself, and Gretel’s too busy struggling to save her burnt batches of gingerbread to work out why.
Gretel is determined to keep Christmas alive and make the café a success before Lukas hands the keys over to the scrooge-like developers. But she can’t do it alone; besides an over friendly ferret and a waitress with a secret, the only person she has now is Lukas. Will it take a Christmas miracle to get the pair to finally see eye to eye, or could the ice already be melting?
Packed full of sugar and spice, The Gingerbread Café will tick all the wishes off your Christmas list this festive period. Perfect for fans of Heidi Swain, Jo Thomas and Bella Osborne.