Saturday, 25 August 2012

Welcome to Rosie Hopkins' Sweetshop of Dreams, by Jenny Colgan


Title: Welcome to Rosie Hopkin's Sweetshop of Dreams
Author: Jenny Colgan
Format: Paperback
Length: 465 pages
Genre: Chick Lit, Romance
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Rosie Hopkins is disillusioned with her London life. Not that she will admit it, but the nagging thoughts are there. So when her great aunt Lilian needs help after a hip operation (not that Lilian will admit that either), Rosie is rather easily convinced to go to the tiny village of Lipton in the middle of nowhere. Maybe leaving her boyfriend Gerard on his own for a while will spur him to do his own laundry, or cook a meal, or propose, maybe. 8 years is a looong rut to get stuck in! Once Rosie gets to Lipton, she initially struggles with country life- city habits die hard, afterall, but soon she finds, somewhat predictably, but reasonably enough, that country life suits her- although she initially won't admit that either. I think it was the flurry of flirtatious country men she found, with nice smiles and muscular tanned arms that changed her mind. Can't argue with that.


Do you have any sweets?!
Rosie's Great Aunt Lilian is just as stubborn as Rosie. She doesn't want to admit she needs help, as she is not ready to be old... She doesn't want to move out of her home or lose her sweetshop, even though its not been open in years. And Rosie's arrival spurs some memories of Lilian's own youth, and the relationship with the love her life, which took place right in that little village of Lipton.

Welcome to Rosie Hopkin's Sweetshop of Dreams is a rather indulgent title, but then its a rather indulgent book. Ignoring the story briefly, each chapter starts with extracts from Lilian's book about sweets, which includes several sugar based recipes for home made treats which are Mouthwatering.
I read this while eating a MASSIVE bar of bourneville!!! NOM! This is, in short, not a book for someone on a strict diet. 

Talking about the actual story, it is split between Rosie's POV in the present and Lilian's POV during WWII (which is put into italics to make the difference really clear between the two in case your brain is having an off day). It helps to show all the family parallels but its handled nicely; more like "sort your life out love, so that you don't make the same mistakes that I did", rather than, "oh, my own problems screwed up your life in the same way, don't we have issues, I WEEP!".

Sometimes it felt like there was something missing when I was reading it, and it took a while to work out what that was (proving it was only a small point). Colgan's writing sometimes felt like it had gone through one too many edits, and that, as a result, small things had been missed out. Like some of the physical descriptions of some of the characters, especially in terms of age perception. Also some of Rosie's thought processes seemed to make large leaps. Like when she realises that one of her new friends is gay, despite few previous hints to indicate that he was gay; once she knows he is gay, it appears that he transforms into the super Queen of the village. 

Overally, lovely, fluffy, indulgent (omg, I'm so hungry!) chick lit, with a really nice, funny, realistic relationship between  the two female protagonists, that then expands into a romance, which fits in nicely alongside the chick lit bit without overshadowing it. 7 empty chocolate wrappers. I mean, 7 somethings that are not sweet related.


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