New Beginnings at the Old Bakehouse by Christie Barlow

Today I am delighted to wish a very happy publication day to Christie Barlow as New Beginnings at the Old Bakehouse, the latest in her Love Heart Lane series, makes its way into the world. I love to read this series as it’s a wonderfully refreshing distraction from my normal dark, crime reads and we’ve been really spoiled by being treated to two books in quick succession. My thanks to publisher One More Chapter for the advance copy. Here’s what the book is all about:

Source: Netgalley
Release Date: 30 July 2022
Publisher: One More Chapter

About the Book

‘A letter, a goodbye, and a baby girl whose name will begin with “L”…’

When Heartcross’ resident clairvoyant tells Molly McKendrick to expect a whole lot of scandal and upset to blow in with the approaching winter storm, Molly doesn’t know what to think.

With a baby on the way any week now, and Christmas not far off, 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 soon experiencing a holiday season filled with unexpected festive surprises…

My Thoughts

Okay. So let’s start with a public service announcement. Do not read this book on an empty stomach. Or if you do, then make sure you’re reading on a waterproof kindle or with your book in a bag. All the yummy descriptions of cakes and pastries and chocolate will make your stomach grumble so loudly it may prove to be a distraction, and you’re likely to be drooling before you even reach the halfway point. I developed such a case of the munchies whilst reading, I ended up pootling off for a midnight snack as a result …

All joking aside, how can you not love this book and this series. Heartwarming, full of brilliant characters and such great and diverse stories, each time I pick up one of the books it’s an honest joy. The character’s may say that once you visit Heartcross you never want to leave, but I think the same is true of readers. Fans of the series will know exactly what I mean. One by one we’ve been introduced to the community of Heartcross, and this time it’s the turn of Molly McKendrick and her husband Cam, who runs The Old Bakehouse, a place of Heartcross legend. The pair are ridiculously happy, both with careers they love, albeit that Molly is currently on Maternity leave, and a son they adore, so nothing can possibly threaten their happiness. Can it?

Well, whilst a storm may be brewing outside in the village, there are signs of disruption at home too. Molly knows Cam is keeping something from her, and as for Molly, she is becoming increasingly distracted by young homeless girl, Bree, someone who stirs up long forgotten memories and brings Molly on a collision course with her past. This is a story which will generate a whole host of emotions and feelings – and not just hunger. Taking a heartfelt and considered look at the plight of the homeless and with a real focus on family, trust and understanding, this was a book which amused, cheered and saddened me in equal measure.

I love that Christie Barlow is so adept at creating characters that we cannot help but care about. I was instantly drawn to Molly and Cam and the cheer they exuded, even when Cam was being less than open and his own personal fears spilled into their relationship with potentially dire consequences for Bree. As for Bree, although she is quite reluctant to trust Molly, for understandable reasons, there is a innocence about her and a side to her character that elicits our care rather than our sympathy for her situation. She is tough, determined and honest, in spite of what others might believe and seeing her story play out really brought a smile to my face.

I don’t want to say too much about the story as the beauty of these books is in discovering this world for yourself, but the story sees our characters being given an opportunity to right wrongs of the past – there’s more than the one way to experience a new beginning after all. A tale of family, of secrets and of second chances. And cake and pastries. Plenty of those too.

Heartcross is a real community and once again Christie Barlow has managed to radiate this from the page in a way that would make any of us readers jealous. Fans are going to love the Old Bakehouse and I cannot wait for the next instalment.

About the Author

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