Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Review: Bella's Christmas Bake Off by Sue Watson

Author: Sue Watson
Genre: Women's Fiction, Chick lit
Publication Date: October 22nd, 2015
Publishers: Bookouture
Goodreads | Amazon
Two best friends. One big lie. The best bake off EVER.
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 realises 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.

A picture speaks a thousand words! Sue Watson's book covers always proclaim her love for baking. I do love the art of baking and have been dying to read her books, those deliciously looking book covers always tempt me and I couldn't resist them this time; shiny baubles, cakes, a cottage, the snow lay thick upon the ground and the stars to light up the sky. It was promising, a Christmas cum Baking novel, Ah! I had to read it.

Bella's Christmas Bake off tells the story of two friends, Amy Lane and Bella Bradley, who were dear friends once, but they parted ways due to some reason. Bella has become the queen of Television now, she is living an extravagant life and is running her own Christmas Cookery Show. Amy is a Maths teacher.  She is devastated when husband leaves her for an another woman, just weeks before Christmas. Amy watches Bella's festive season TV shows every year. She is a bit envious of Bella's fortune. She is shocked, realizing the Bella's upcoming book is made of Amy's mother's recipes. Amy has decided not to let Bella take the credit of her mother's effort. Will Amy succeed in claiming the credit of her mother's recipes? Can Amy and Bella be friends again?... 

From Naughty Custard and Severely Whipped Cream to The First Christmas of the Rest of Your Life, reading Sue Watson new Christmas novel was fun and shocking at the same time. Sue Watson had worked as TV producer before and I feel, the novel is inspired by her own experiences. Oh dear, it is heart-rending to read Bella's story. The story is written from Amy's perspective. It starts with Amy recollecting their childhood and tells how Bella has changed over the years. Amy and I were on the same boat at the beginning, we both disliked Bella, the Goddess of television baking. Later, the destiny plays the usual role; Amy and Bella meet after a long long gap. The rest of the story unfolds Bella's harrowing secrets and I felt sorry for her. Bella's Christmas Bake Off teaches us not to judge anyone with a prejudiced mind and to be content with what you have.

Albeit, the novel is awash with dramas, whispers and hush-hush, the entire plot was believable. All the characters were so real. Rough and tough at first sight, but down-to-the-earth and sweet once you get to know them. Loved them all. The entire story just flew by, I was burning with curiosity, and kept reading to know Bella's story. The end was really good, and Sue managed to bring in the festive season spirit. The last chapters were my favorite, Christmas is the season of giving, Bella and Amy's effort to make a bunch of homeless people made me happy.

As you all know, Christmas novels are my weakness. I was impatiently waiting to read this book, expected a lot of Christmas Baking and a heartwarming story that would put me in the Christmas mood. Somehow, it didn't. It was not festive as I hoped it to be though the last two chapters managed to get the warmth and coziness of the festive season. It mainly revolves around the secrets inside the celebrity's life and the realities behind the camera. The rest of the story was about Amy and Bella's bonding after the years. I will not recommend it as Chick-lit Christmas novel, but definitely a make-you-feel-good story.

My Rating: 4/5 (Liked it!)
Happy Reading!