December, 1940: All that Audrey Barton wants is her family together for Christmas. But the war changes everything…
The Barton family bakery in Bournemouth has been at the heart of the town for generations: Audrey and Charlie Barton have never been rich, but their bread and cakes – and their love and advice – have enriched the lives of others in the town for many years.
When war breaks out, it doesn’t take long for trouble to arrive on the bakery doorstep. Audrey’s brother William has joined up to fight, and William’s fiancé Elsie fears she may lose him before their life together has even begun. Audrey’s stepsister Lily comes to stay, but Lily is clearly hiding a dark secret.
And a silent and strange little girl is evacuated to the town – will Audrey get to the heart of what is ailing her?
Audrey battles to keep hope and love alive in tumultuous times. But when disaster strikes at Christmas, will her efforts be in vain?
This is the first book in a heartwarming and romantic new saga series, perfect for fans of The Gingerbread Girl, Nadine Dorries and Ellie Dean.
I don’t read many books in this genre and when I read a book as wonderful as this one it makes me wonder how many fantastic reads I’m probably missing out on.
Heartaches and Christmas Cakes was a book I literally could not put down. I started it on a Sunday afternoon and didn’t put it down until I finished it. At 260 pages it was a relatively quick read. This is actually one of those books though that no matter how long it is, it isn’t quite enough as I loved every minute of it and I didn’t want it to end. The great thing is though that this isn’t the end as it’s the first in a new saga and I can not wait for the next one.
Being set in the war time I knew this was probably going to be quite emotional at times. Set in Bournemouth, the area doesn’t come under the constant attack like places like London do but it still suffers from some.
The story mainly focuses on the people at the Barton family bakery. What a fabulous place to set a story. It was so interesting to find out the part that bakers played in the war. Even though ingredients were limited, I couldn’t stop my mouth watering at the thought of freshly baked bread as well as the other goodies that was baked there.
Audrey has to my favourite of the characters. She’s a bit like a mother hen as she appears to be the go to person when in need. I thought she was so brave. Even when at times she wanted to break down she keeps going and makes sure she is a pillar for everyone else to lean on. Reading of Audrey’s life it really gives you an insight into what life was back then and the uncertainty of people going off to fight and to whether they would come back or not. It covers so much of what I would expect to see in a book set in that era with the added bonus of some stand out characters.
Heartaches and Christmas Cakes is a heartfelt and truly wonderful read. A story that you will easily lose yourself into. I know that icing on cakes will especially make me remember this book fondly. A book where the story and characters will stay with you for a long time to come. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
My thanks to Bookouture and Netgalley for an advanced readers copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.
Goodreads rating 5/5 stars.
Heartaches and Christmas Cakes is available to purchase from Amazon.
Amy Miller is the pseudonym of Amy Bratley, who started her writing life working on magazines and newspapers. She has previously written three women’s fiction novels published by Pan Macmillan, the first of which was a bestseller in Italy. Her day job is being a freelance managing editor of both a vintage interiors magazine and a food magazine, two subjects she’s passionate about. Amy lives in Dorset with her husband and two children.
Author Social Media Links: