All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: The Cake Maker’s Wish by Josephine Moon

on June 2, 2020

The Cake Maker’s Wish
Josephine Moon
Penguin Random House AUS
2020, 384p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

Life in the village isn’t always sweet and simple . . .

When single mum Olivia uproots her young son Darcy from their life in Tasmania for a new start in the English Cotswolds, she isn’t exactly expecting a bed of roses – but nor is she prepared for the challenges that life in the picturesque village throws her way.

The Renaissance Project hopes to bring the dwindling community back to life – to welcome migrants from around the world and to boost the failing economy – but not everyone is so pleased about the initiative.

For cake maker Olivia, it’s a chance for Darcy to finally meet his Norwegian father, and for her to trace the last blurry lines on what remains of her family tree. It’s also an opportunity to move on from the traumatic event that tore her loved ones apart.

After seven years on her own, she has all but given up on romance, until life dishes up some delicious new options she didn’t even know she was craving.

With everything that has been going on in the world lately, I have been gravitating towards a certain type of read. Books that make me feel warm and fuzzy, better about the world at large. To be honest, if I want a dose of reality or “hard-hitting”, I can turn on the news for five seconds. Reading lately, has become about escape. And this book was absolutely perfect for that.

Olivia has always been a single mother to her son Darcy. His father is from Norway and went back there before Darcy’s birth, meaning the two have never met but have established a relationship via video calls and the like. For help, Olivia had her grandmother, but with her death, Olivia finds herself alone. Her grandmother was from a small village in England and googling it one day leads her to the Renaissance Project – they want descendants of people formerly from the town to come back to it, open a business and help the town thrive again. It’s been slowly dying and there are a few passionate people who want to see it flourish. On a whim Olivia, a patissier, applies. This will give her a chance to get to know more about where her grandmother came from and also, for Darcy to be much closer to his father in Norway.

This is a lovely story! I really enjoyed the idea of the Renaissance Project and trying to regenerate a once thriving town that had slowly fallen in popularity. People had moved away, to bigger towns for more work or like Olivia’s grandmother, emigrated to other countries. The Renaissance Project welcomes people from all over the globe – as well as Olivia from Tasmania, there are people from New Zealand, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, other parts of England as well. A lot of them open businesses related to food, such as bakeries, pizza shops and cheese specialities. There are also nurses and farmers as well. Any kids get enrolled at the small, local school as the families integrate into the community. But not everyone in the village is happy about the project – there are people that would do anything to shut it down, as some of the newcomers find out, in the most distressing of ways.

Olivia has other reasons for wanting to leave Tasmania, which are revealed over the course of the novel. I really felt connected to her actually, as she relayed stories of Darcy and how he’d been treated for being a bit ‘different’ to how boys are expected to be. I also have a more sensitive boy, who always preferred playing with girls in kinder, who wasn’t into rough and tumble games and who feels things deeply. He likes soft toys, went through a huge Frozen phase and I’ve had several comments that I need to ‘toughen him up’ for life…..which I don’t agree with. Why does he need to be “tough”? Why can’t he just be who he is? It’s that kind of thinking that creates situations that Olivia and Darcy found themselves in, in Tasmania. I applauded Olivia for her parenting style and my heart broke for both of them with what happened to them. This part of the story really resonated with me and I felt so happy for them that they found themselves a place they could relax and just…..enjoy living, when they moved to England. Darcy made a friend, enjoyed school….Olivia made friends too. The people who came formed a close community and there were people that really accepted them as well.

There’s other things going on in the plot as well…..a famous couple decide to have their wedding close to the local village, using only local products and it’s a great way for those in favour of the Renaissance Project to showcase its value. Olivia is closer to her former flame and then there’s a local man who provides another option, one that she hadn’t been looking for. Also being in the village gives Olivia a chance to ask about her grandmother and find out things about herself, give herself and Darcy some real family roots. It’s a place where they’ve found a home, but if the Renaissance Project fails, like some want it to, they’ll be forced to leave. Everything all ties together very well though, the multiple plots weaving in and out of each other and all centring on the project to build the village back up again to a thriving place where people want to live.

This had serious undertones but was also fun and feel good. I really liked it.


Book #104 of 2020

The Cake Maker’s Wish is book #33 of The Australian Women Writers Challenge for 2020

I’m also using this book to tick off a prompt in my Reading Women Challenge, hosted by the Reading Women Podcast. I’m going to put it towards #21 – A book about food. The main character Olivia has a cake shop and makes amazing cakes, including wedding cakes, celebration cakes and also even a cake for a dog. As well as that, there are also other businesses that talk about bread, cheese, pizza and a dairy farmer who makes his own products. There’s a lot of food throughout the entire novel. It’s the 11th book finished for the challenge.

One response to “Review: The Cake Maker’s Wish by Josephine Moon

  1. Marg says:

    I love this just for the title!

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