Monday, January 04, 2016
REVIEW: Bella's Christmas Bake Off by Sue Watson
Author: Sue Watson
Publication Date: October, 2015
Buy The Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Description: 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 realizes 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…
A hilarious, heart-breaking and feel good read about best friends, baking and the magic of Christmas.
My Thoughts: This was a very good story about long-lost friends reconnecting under less than joyous circumstances. After Amy discovers her best friend from childhood is using Amy’s mother’s recipes as her own, Amy decides to take a stand and confront Bella. Amy isn’t having the best Christmas holiday. Her husband has left her for a pole-dancing colleague and her children have other plans. While watching her old friend, Bella Bradley, on television, Amy learns that her friend is deceiving the world by passing off recipes as her own. Amy wins a contest to appear on Bella’s cooking show and is determined to right many wrongs.
I liked Amy very much and felt great empathy with her situation. I liked that in the middle of her heartbreak and despair, she shows great strength and courage to everyone around her. She reminisces about her friendship with Bella and how they are no longer friends due to something Amy did and the guilt that Amy carries with her all these years later. As much as I liked Amy, I was equally prepared to dislike Bella. I found her arrogant, presumptuous, conceited, selfish and haughty. In spite of all these negative personality traits, Bella intrigued me. I knew there had to be much more to Bella’s attitude and demeanor than just what Amy had done when they were younger. Once Bella’s true personality starts to emerge, I found it easy to see why Amy and Bella were friends and was hopeful they could resolve all of the issues standing between them. I liked that Amy was not impressed with Bella’s glitzy and glamorous lifestyle and willingly stood up to Bella. I liked that there are several layers covering up the real Bella and when she lowers her guard and the layers start to peel back, we get to see a character who lives in constant dread of her life being exposed to the media. She harbors many secrets in her celebrity life and has to walk on eggshells with everyone around her. I enjoyed the tension between Amy and Bella as they worked through their animosity to get back to the friendship they had lost. Numerous supporting characters add to the story to make it more intriguing and entertaining with their personalities. A few surprises are in store with some of the characters that I felt added to the story’s charm.
My Final Verdict: Sue Watson delivers up another sparkly Christmas filled winner with all the festive trimmings and is an author that readers should be on the lookout for. I am looking forward to next Christmas and Sue Watson’s next book. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy feel good stories sprinkled with the magic of Christmas.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Bella’s Christmas Bake Off from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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