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  • Moon at her best!

    The Cake Maker’s Wish is the sixth novel by award-winning Australian author, Josephine Moon. Just over a year after pastry chef, Olivia Kent loses her grandmother (and last-known blood relative), she and her young son, Darcy arrive in the Cotswold village of Stoneden. And less than twenty-four hours later, the old lady next door accuses Olivia of theft: apparently not all the villagers are happy about the reverse-emigration scheme that the Stoneden Renaissance Committee has implemented. Stoneden is where Olivia’s grandmother, Eleanor Kent grew up before emigrating to Tasmania with her parents. Many of the villagers are determined to reverse the slow death that has been facing the village as cottages are snapped up for holiday homes by Londoners at ridiculous prices. Invited to settle, especially if they have any connection with Stoneden, are young families with skills or trades, and this has attracted “imports” from the various corners of the globe. For Olivia, it’s a chance to learn about her family history, and for Darcy, to connect with his (never-met-in-person) Norwegian father, as well as make some genuine friends. Furthest from Olivia’s mind is any sort of relationship with a man, even if farmer Grayson is stunningly gorgeous, and Helge, up close, still stirs her hormones. Soon enough, Olivia and Darcy have made some firm friends and Rambling Rose Fine Cakes opens for business. Before long, a celebrity wedding has the village, not to mention the whole country, agog. But will the resistors, with their racist graffiti and their little acts of sabotage, ruin it for all? What a delightful cast of characters Moon gives the reader, both amongst the old villagers and the imports: effusive providores, ageing charmers, cranky old women and more. None is wholly good or evil: all have very human flaws, and there are plenty of people holding secrets, guilt and resentments, and feeling the ongoing effects of past tragedies. The village’s Renaissance Project is an intriguing concept, and Moon clearly demonstrates how and why there might be valid objections despite all the enthusiastic support. While the ending may be fairly predictable (and entirely welcome), there are a few red herrings and surprises on the way. Mouth-watering and a little mysterious Josephine Moon’s latest novel will have you smiling, welling up with tears, preheating the oven and digging out the cake tins, or at least the cake forks. This is Moon at her best! This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by Better Reading Preview and Penguin Michael Joseph.

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  • Taking a chance and leap of faith.

    Single mum Olivia Kent leaves Richmond Tasmania and moves to Stoneden in the Cotswolds in England with her young son Darcy and its part of a village migration scheme. The Renaissance Project plan is to bring families from all over the world to boost the villages declining population, live in empty cottages, send their children to the local school and open new businesses. Of course not everyone in Stoneden is happy about the project, Clarence James the president of the committee is confident it will work and be very successful. Olivia is a qualified pastry chef and she opens a cake shop called Rambling Rose, she loves all things 50’s and it’s the theme for her shop, including what she wears while serving her sweet treats and the music she plays for her customers. Her sons father Helge lives in Norway, by moving to England it means father and son will finally meet. Olivia has been single for seven years, she’s not sure if she’s ready for romance and she has a new business to run. Grayson Levins is a dairy farmer, he’s a really nice man, gets on well with Darcy and is he a possible love interest for her? I really enjoyed reading The Cake Maker’s Wish, it’s a story about Olivia taking a chance and moving to another country, her coming to terms with her past, embracing her new life, making friends and they help her navigate the setbacks and challenges of creating a new life and business for herself and her son in England. Five stars and I look forward to reading other books by Josephine Moon.

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