Today it’s my great pleasure to be taking part in the blog blitz for Sue Watson’s Snowflakes, Iced Cakes and Second Chances, the delightfully funny and heartwarming story of Chloe and Gianni. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the book with you just as soon as we’ve taken a look at what it is all about.
The Official Book Blurb
Escape to the cosy little village of Appledore for hot chocolate with extra marshmallows and a second chance at love. Will this Christmas prove that miracles really can happen?
A year after she separated from her husband, Gianni, on Christmas day, Chloe’s heart is finally on the mend as she unpacks the decorations for her first ever festive holiday alone. That is, until the phone rings…
It’s the manager of Gianni’s new seaside restaurant in Appledore, begging for Chloe’s help. Equally famous for his gold-leaf Christmas puddings and his explosive temper, Gianni has been really stirring up a sensation with the locals – and not in a good way! It’s the last thing she wants to do, but Chloe knows she is the only one that can help.
As pans fly and the temperature in the kitchen rises, Chloe’s calming influence and magic touch might just get critics back on side in time to save the restaurant from sinking like a sad soufflé. But as Chloe’s eyes meet Gianni’s as they tussle over a plate of turkey tartlets, could there also be a chance for new romance on the menu?
A laugh-out-loud festive treat that will give you the tingle of freshly hung tinsel. Perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan, Abby Clements and Debbie Johnson.
If you are looking for a book which contains a magical blend of humour, romance and feel-good story telling, then look no further. With Snowflakes, Iced Cakes and Second Chances, Sue Watson takes all of the above ingredients, mixes in a little Christmas spice, adds a side order of somewhat unusual gastronomic delicacies and decadent ice-cream sundaes, delivering to the reader a truly scrumptious festive treat all wrapped in a dazzling gilt edged bow. The weather in downtown Appledore may well be frightful, but never fear. This tale will leave you feeling as warm and cosy as a grand log fire.
Having been separated from Gianni for a year, Chloe has her mind set on only one thing – finding her new start. The last thing she needs or expects is the call from Gianni’s assistant, asking her to help with the marketing of his new restaurant in the village which is the location of their dream home, Appledore. Chloe realises this may give her closure, prove to herself once and for all that she is over Gianni, give her the chance to escape from a pretty disastrous attempt at dating again, while earning herself some money that she can’t really afford to refuse. What she doesn’t count on is the feelings that being near to Gianni again will stir up. He is as passionate and unreasonable as the first day they met, and yet something about him is still irresistible. Chloe wants to keep things professional but whether this is even possible, remains to be seen.
What I love about Sue Watson’s writing is the way she manages to capture the many facets of human nature and package them up a completely humourous and yet thoroughly compelling way. Gianni is a very hot-blooded, hot-headed character, a man who has become almost a caricature of himself, his ego inflated by untold media praise and yet ultimately bruised by the way in which he was a quickly ignored. Chloe is his exact opposite – down to earth and level headed but more than a match for his posturing and bluster. Much of his character is an act, designed to fit his enfant terrible moniker, and Chloe had always been able to see through and counter him in every way. They are polar opposites and so beautifully crafted on the page that you can;t help smiling at their interactions. The chemistry is clear and yet the history is undeniable.
In amongst all of the bravado and hot-headedness there is also an element of vulnerability in both Gianni and Chloe. They have been through unimaginable tragedy and you can’t help but feel for the couple as Chloe recounts their past in some of the books most poignant moments. It is no wonder that they grew apart, struggling to recover from personal tragedy, and yet you can’t help but hope that working together, perhaps finally communicating openly about what they have endured, that they can work through the differences as they do make a wonderfully funny and perfectly matched couple.
If you have read any of Sue Watson’s most recent books, then you will recognise the setting of Appledore. Some of the characters from the town do make an appearance, all adding more colour to the start and clinical setting of Gianni’s new restaurant. I have to be honest – some of the initial restaurant menu had me feeling a little nauseous and I would advise those of a delicate constitution to toughen up before reading. I can only hope no-one ever serves up such a – how shall I put this – controversial menu as the one described here. Slug semolina? It is absolutely no wonder Gianni’s last restaurant had failed. Although his ‘passionate’ Italian persona probably had a little to do with it too, Gianni being somewhat prone to comedic levels of overreaction. Beware the sausage!
Told from Chloe’s point of view, it is just as well she is around to translate some of Gianni’s conversation. His unique pronunciation is used to perfect comic effect here. The way in which he says ‘beaches’ has the ability to both offend and amuse in equal measure. And it is those little touches, the quiet observation of such human characteristics that Sue Watson excels at. She can make the everyday funny, turn the little tics into a chucklesome moment, and still make you go awww with a trembly bottom lip with a simple turn of phrase.
As sweet as Gianni’s iced chocolate cake, and as scrumptious as an sundae from the Ice-Cream Cafe, fans of Sue Watson are just going to eat this up. A brilliantly warm and funny festive read.
My thanks to Bookouture for the advance copy of the book for review and to Kim Nash for inviting me to take part in the tour. Snowflakes, Iced Cakes and Second Chances is available now from the following retailers.
About the Author
Sue Watson was a journalist then a TV Producer at the BBC until she realised that instead of working, she could stay at home, make stuff up and sell it!
So far Sue’s written ten books, and some have been translated into Italian and Portuguese (she’s big in Brazil!) Originally from Manchester, she now lives with her husband and teenage daughter in Worcestershire where her days are spent baking (and eating) lots of cake, while making big life decisions about whether to have Caramel Chew Chew or Salted Caramel ice cream while watching ‘The Biggest Loser USA,’ on TV.
For more reviews, why not check out some of the other fantastic blogs taking part in this blitz.