It wasn’t until I reached the end of the book that I realised that Ellen Berry is Fiona Gibson whose books I really like. I loved every page of this one, too! I’ve read a couple of books recently where the characters are around my age (50’s) and find that you can really empathise with them and it makes a lovely change to read about ‘slightly’ older characters!
Della has just lost her mum and most of the care towards the end of her life fell to her and her siblings are also expecting her to clear the house. They choose the only things that they want to keep from the house and Della is left to arrange the clearance. She feels drawn to her mum’s old cookbooks which felt like a big part of her childhood. There are literally hundreds of them but her husband isn’t very keen to have them cluttering up their house.
After an unexpected turn Della signs a lease on an empty shop and plans to open a vintage cookery book shop. She wants others to find delight in the old books and also provide a meeting place for like minded people to meet and exchange ideas. She meets opposition- but her friends rally round and tell her how wonderful it will be. The prickly nature of steering through teenage childhood is also part of the book. The different relationships are portrayed so realistically.
We follow major life changes in some of the characters and it is lovely to see the friendships between Della and those around her. You can really imagine being in the little Yorkshire village and seeing this idyllic shop emerging from Della’s dreams into reality.
I loved the ‘opening’ scenes – where the mix of the characters come together and you can feel the excitement in the air with everyone bringing food to share and they all sit down to chat and browse through the cookery books sharing in the history it brings with it. I tend to be a collector of cookery books- and can imagine the joy in finding such a shop in an unexpected location. I also loved the side story with Della trying to find members of the recipe club.
A really beautiful book to settle down with, maybe planning a little dinner party for friends or dreaming of following your hearts desire and seeing where it would lead you. It really wraps round you in a cosy hug and leaves you with a wonderfully warm feeling.
With many thanks to the publisher and Net Galley for a copy.