Review of What Would Mary Berry Do? by Claire Sandy

Published: 31st July 2014
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Pages: 350


Marie Dunwoody doesn’t want for much in life. She has a lovely husband, three wonderful children, and a business of her own. Except, her cupcakes are crap. Her meringues are runny and her biscuits rock-hard. She cannot bake for toffee. Or, for that matter, make toffee.

Marie can’t ignore the disappointed looks any more, or continue to be shamed by neighbour and nemesis, Lucy Gray. Lucy whips up perfect profiteroles with one hand, while ironing her bed sheets with the other. Marie’s had enough: this is the year it all changes. She vows to follow – to the letter – recipes from the Queen of Baking and at all times ask ‘What would Mary Berry do?’

Husband Robert has noticed that his boss takes crumb structure as seriously as budget sheets and so puts on the pinny: serious redundancies are on the horizon. Twins Rose and Iris are happy to eat all the half-baked mistakes that come their way, but big brother Angus is more distant than usual, as if something is troubling him. And there is no one as nosey as a matching pair of nine-year-old girls . . .

Marie starts to realise that the wise words of Mary Berry can help her with more than just a Victoria Sponge. But can Robert save the wobbling soufflé that is his career? And is Lucy’s sweet demeanour hiding something secretly sour?


Thank you to Pan Macmillan for very kindly sending me a review copy.

Marie isn’t good at baking but she wants to be. She wants to wipe the smirk of her neighbours face. She desperately wants to prove to everyone that she can produce a show stopper for the school fete. So, within a year, she aims to become better at baking. With the aid of Mary Berry’s cook book aka. The Bible, Marie does just that and soon enough, she becomes obsessed.

I found this book easy to put down. I know that sounds rude but it wasn’t a book that I was desperate to read. Yes, it made me want to glance through a Mary Berry book and to make an unbelievable cake that would wow my family, but in reality, I was hooked to the plot. It was witty, funny but there was something missing. I loved the classic one liners such as “impatiently she began to peel off the parchment and found it clinger than her sixth-form boyfriend.”

As the narrative progressed, I found myself to be chuckling away. It was funny but not overly funny. Claire’s writing style was very comfortable to read but over the weekend in which I read it, I found myself putting the book down more times than I usually wanted to.

Just because I wasn’t crazy for this book, doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy it. This isn’t a personal thing against the author as I’m sure she’s lovely. This is just my opinion so please respect that.