Review of The Cake Shop In The Garden by Carole Matthews


Published: 23rd August 2015
Publisher: Little Brown
Pages: 432


Fay Merryweather runs her cake shop from her beautiful garden. She whips up airy sponges and scrumptious scones, while her customers enjoy the lovely blossoms and gorgeous blooms. Looking after the cake shop, the garden and her cantankerous mother means Fay is always busy but she accepts her responsibilities because if she doesn’t do all this, who will? Then Danny Wilde walks into her life and makes Fay question every decision she’s ever made. When a sudden tragedy strikes, Fay’s entire world is thrown off balance even further and she doesn’t know which way to turn. Can Fay find the strength to make a life-changing decision – even if it means giving up the thing she loves the most?


Thank you to Little Brown for kindly sending me a review copy.

The Cake Shop In The Garden begins with the main character Fay attempting to put her Mum in a nursing home just for a week while she sorts the cafe out. As the two have a slight disagreement, readers are given a touch of a background on the Merryweather family, home and business. Fay’s life isn’t what she expected; in her early forties, not married, living at home and caring for her Mum 24/7. I really liked how Fay’s personality was rather mellow and determined all at the same time. Her assistant Lija was the total opposite but they worked extremely well together.

“She is a sweary, Goth version of the goddess Mary Berry.”

The introduction of the handsome Irish man was hilarious. Instead of the leading lady being repulsed by the new male (believe me, it happens in stories!), she actually gave into his good looks, charm and her response really did make me laugh. The conversations between the pair were easy and it was crystal clear that they had hit it off immediately. The Irish hunk, Danny, was certainly sticking around and possibly for more reasons than he was willing to admit. However, Danny wasn’t the only sweet man in the cafe; Stan pulled on my heartstrings with his cute cardigan that was buttoned up wrong and his daily lunch visits. What’s not to love about the 93 year old?

“I can’t help but feel a rush of affection for him.”

Fay’s only concern doesn’t just sit with her bedridden Mum, her sister in New York City also seems to burden her with a lot of secrets. As a character, Fay was definitely the glue of the family, the person you go to with any slight problem and the person who would do anything for anyone. The only excitement in her life is Danny; he’s the light at the end of the tunnel and when he asked her out for the day – I was pretty excited for her. Let’s just ignore the fact that she’s been with another man for ten years. Yup, just pretend he doesn’t exist Fay..

“We might not get the chance to do it again.”

Fay and Danny. Danny and Fay. What a pair. They were two incredible characters who I really enjoyed reading about. With the setting of the beautiful house by the canal, it was so simply effective. I could have read about them being in an empty room and I would have still been thrilled by their conversation. When they’re apart for the smallest amount of time, it’s clear that Fay has it pretty bad for Danny and I don’t blame her! Yet when they reunite, I couldn’t help but smile and thankfully, I wasn’t in public.

“And I could weep. Weep for joy.”

Towards the end of the book, heartbreak hits Fay in two ways and I wondered where the plot would go next. Carole’s writing in this particular narrative was extremely enjoyable and I devoured it within days. It was easy to relax with and to fully know the characters as if they were friends was a treat. The revelation at the end of the book explained on awful lot and it came as such a shock, yet it all clicked into place. Now we know why Fay and her Mum didn’t have the greatest of relationships. But how could you not love her? She is the sweetest, kindest character I have ever had the pleasure of reading about – she puts everyone’s needs before her own and I  really did admire that about her.

“How is it that people who aren’t related to me want to do so much for me, when those who are seem to be intent on treating me so badly?”

Carole’s choice of setting was perfect; I fell in love with the house and the canal. Can I visit? Please and thank you. It was liking reliving my Rosie and Jim childhood memories with it all. The description was so effortless and incredibly enjoyable. The characters were just superb despite Fay’s Mum, sister and other half – they were very annoying and I just wanted to shake them from all their irritable traits. The Cake Shop In The Garden is one of my favourite books of 2015 – by far! If you love cake, do check it out.

Twitter: @carolematthews