Polly Waterford is recovering from a toxic relationship. Unable to afford their flat, she has to move miles away from everyone, to a sleepy little seaside resort in Cornwall, where she lives alone above an abandoned shop. And so Polly takes out her frustrations on her favourite hobby: making bread.
But what was previously a weekend diversion suddenly becomes far more important as she pours her emotions into kneading and pounding the dough, and each loaf becomes better and better. With nuts and seeds, olives and chorizo, with local honey (courtesy of local bee keeper, Huckle), and with reserves of determination and creativity Polly never knew she had, she bakes and bakes and bakes . . . And people start to hear about it. Sometimes, bread really is life – and Polly is about to reclaim hers.
First published: 2014
I don’t remember when I first came across this novel, but I do remember I immediately thought: I have to read this! It’s a book about a woman who moves to a small town and starts her own bakery. Could it be any more perfect for me? I bought it a few months ago and finally read it at the end of 2015. As I expected, it’s a delightful read!
The story starts off with Polly having to move out of her flat after the company she built up with her boyfriend Chris has gone bankrupt. They have separated and Polly is completely broke and unemployed, which makes finding a new place to live a very difficult task. She moves to Mount Polbearne, a somewhat dilapidated village on a tidal island. Her apartment, if you can call it that, is cold, dirty and small, but she is determined to make it work, although she has moments of panic when she wonders if it was a huge mistake to move there. She makes new friends, and creates a business by making bread for the people in the village.
It was lovely to read about Polly starting her life over. She’s scared, as we all would be, I would think, but that made it all the more realistic and relatable. Speaking of relatable, I also liked the aspect of Polly’s company going under because of the financial crisis. It’s familiar, in a slightly depressing way, because that’s what’s been keeping the world busy for quite some time now. However, Polly does have a lot of luck with her bakery taking off, which wasn’t entirely realistic to me. In the end, though, I was fine with it, because it was fun and uplifting to read about Polly getting her life together.
I was expecting this novel to have some instalove situation going on, but instead I was surprised to find that it wasn’t that obvious from the start who Polly is going to end up with (and, of course, we all know she’s going to end up with someone). There were a few contestants, but ultimately this story was about Polly finding herself first and foremost. Yes, she has some fun on the side, but that wasn’t her priority, and I really appreciated that.
All in all, Little Beach Street Bakery was a very entertaining comforting read sporting some of my favourite elements in a story: a small town, the sea and baking. It has a nice cast of characters, although some of them were a little flat, and has a good combination of humour, realness and also some tragedy. I’d definitely recommend this novel to someone who’s looking for a warm and fuzzy feel good novel.