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New Beginnings at the Old Bakery by Christy Barlow – Book Reviews by Jen Mead


Today I am delighted to congratulate Christy Barlow on her publication day New beginnings at the Old Bakehouse, the latest in her Love Heart Lane series, is out. I love reading this series because it’s such a refreshing break from my usual dark, crime-filled reading, and we were very spoiled to read two books in quick succession. I thank the publisher One More Chapter for the advance copy. This is what the book is about:

Source: Netgalley
Release date: July 30, 2022
Publisher: Another chapter

About the Book

“A letter, a farewell and a girl whose name will begin with “L”…”

When a clairvoyant who lives in Hartcross tells Molly McKendrick to expect great scandal and upset from the approaching winter storm, Molly doesn’t know what to think.

With the baby due in a week and Christmas just around the corner, the last thing Molly needs is drama, but when she crosses paths with Bree, a sixteen-year-old homeless girl, and takes her in from the cold, secrets from the past flood the present, and Molly her partner Cam and their son George are about to experience a festive season filled with unexpected holiday surprises…

My thoughts

Good. So, let’s start with a public announcement. Do not read this book on an empty stomach. Or, if you’re reading, make sure you’re reading on a waterproof Kindle or with the book in your bag. All the delicious descriptions of cakes, brownies and chocolate will make your stomach grumble so loudly it can be distracting and you’ll likely be drooling before you’re halfway through. I had this incident with food while reading and ended up going out for a midnight snack….

Jokes aside, how can you not love this book and this series. Heartwarming, full of brilliant characters and such wonderful and varied stories, every time I pick up one of the books, it’s a genuine joy. A character might say that once you visit Heartcross, you’ll never want to leave, but I think the same goes for the readers. Fans of the series will know exactly what I mean. One by one we’ve been introduced to the Heartcross community, and this time it’s the turn of Molly McKendrick and her husband Cam, who run The Old Bakehouse, a place of Heartcross legends. The couple are ridiculously happy, both with careers they love, although Molly is currently on maternity leave, and a son they adore, so nothing can threaten their happiness. Can it?

Well, while a storm is brewing outside in the village, there are also signs of trouble at home. Molly knows that Cam is hiding something from her, and as for Molly, she is increasingly distracted by a young homeless girl, Bree, who awakens long-forgotten memories and confronts Molly with her past. It’s a story that will evoke a range of emotions and feelings – and not just hunger. This was a book that amused, encouraged and saddened me in equal measure with its honest and thoughtful look at the plight of the homeless and its genuine focus on family, trust and understanding.

I love that Christy Barlow is so skilled at creating characters that we can’t help but care about. I was instantly drawn to Molly and Cam and the joy they exuded, even when Cam was less open and his personal fears spilled over into their relationship with potentially terrible consequences for Bree. As for Bree, although she is very reluctant to trust Molly, for obvious reasons, there is an innocence to her and a side to her character that makes us care rather than empathize with her situation. She is strong, determined and honest despite what others may believe, and seeing her story unfold really put a smile on my face.

I don’t want to say too much about the story, because the beauty of these books is to discover this world, but in the story, our characters are given the opportunity to right the wrongs of the past – there’s more than one way to experience a new beginning in the end. A story of family, secrets and second chances. And cake and cakes. There are also many of them.

Heartcross is a real community, and once again Christy Barlow manages to radiate that from the page in a way that would make any of us readers envious. Fans will love Old Bakehouse and I can’t wait for the next installment.

About the author

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