Saturday, 14 December 2013

Christmas at the Gingerbread Cafe - Rebecca Raisin *Review and author guest blog*

The Gingerbread Café is a special place, especially at Christmas.  At the heart of the community the café is a delightful haven, warm and welcoming with owner Lily and employee CeeCee full of the Christmas spirit.  Lily is recovering from the breakdown of her marriage and CeeCee is determined to matchmake.  When handsome, mysterious Damon opens up a shop across the road, CeeCee encourages Lily to make a move for him, but before long it becomes apparent that Damon's business is in direct competition with the Gingerbread Café...

The relationship between Lily and CeeCee is one of the key features of Christmas at the Gingerbread Café, and their friendship is heart-warming and reassuring.  CeeCee is like a mother hen, desperate for Lily to find love and she was my favourite character, coming across as larger than life.  The combination of her and feisty Lily is fabulous!

I also loved how the café was portrayed as a cosy, snug place, somewhere full of warmth and festive shimmer.  I wish that I had a café like this near me-I'd certainly be a regular customer.

Christmas at the Gingerbread Café is a lovely, cheery festive read, a good old fashioned feel-good romance to warm the cockles of your heart.  This is one of my favourite Christmas reads of the year.

Christmas at the Gingerbread Café is out now, published by Carina.


With thanks to the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this book in return for an honest review.

Now read the fabulous  foodie guest post from Rebecca Raisin....

Writing Christmas at the Gingerbread Café had certain perks. Firstly there were the hours searching the internet for recipe ideas that were mentioned throughout the novella. Then there was the actual making of said recipes, purely for research purposes, of course! I was amazed at the way ginger spice can be used from humble gingerbread men, to a fancy four tier cake, and everything in between. I fell in love with gingerbread cookie dough truffle recipes, and gingerbread pancakes with treacle butter, and lots of little treats that I thought would make ideal Christmas gifts.

I thought I’d share a few of these recipes today, and you might get a little sense of what the gingerbread café is all about. The crux of the story is romance, but food, and friendship, and general festive cheer go hand in hand in Christmas at the Gingerbread Café.

I stumbled across “Gingerbread in a jar” and thought they’d make a sweet gift for teachers at the end of term, or for friends and family at Christmas. A great activity for kids to help make, too. I can’t wait to find some nice jars, and a cute little gingerbread man cookie cutters to tie to the side. This website also has printable instruction labels, so the person you’re gifting it to knows how to make it.

Lil, the owner of the Gingerbread Café uses cooking almost like a meditation, it calms her, it’s something that she enjoys doing for the pure sake of it. And with CeeCee’s help, food is something that binds them and the townsfolk of Ashton. People come into the café to escape the snow, to sit by the fire, chat with Lil and Cee, and of course taste whatever delectable delight they happen to be baking that day.

Here’s a recipe for Gingerbread fudge. I can see Lil taking her time and cutting the fudge into star-shapes, and setting up a nice display to tempt people in to the café. These would be nice as a present too.

Of course, I can’t forget to mention new guy in town, Damon. He opens a shop across the road from the Gingerbread Café, which brings out Lil’s fighting spirit. It’s a small town, old Ashford, and Lil is threatened by Damon’s sudden presence, and the fact he’s selling similar things to her café. With his charm and rugged good looks, Lil knows the girls in town are going to flock to his shop just to get a look at him. This means war! And so the battle begins between Lil and Damon to try and entice customers to their respective shops. Damon begins cooking classes for the townsfolk.  One of the recipes mentioned is a slow cooked pork shoulder. A delicious meal any time of year. Here is the recipe that inspired the idea. If only I could bring Damon to life to cook it for me …

I hope these recipes have inspired you, like they did me. Gingerbread has the unique ability to transport us back to childhood. Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas.

Christmas at the Gingerbread Cafe

Christmas is the season the Gingerbread Café was made for…but owner Lily couldn’t be feeling less merry if she tried. She’s spent another year dreaming of being whisked away on a sleigh-ride for two, but she’s facing festive season alone – again. And, just to give her another reason to feel anything other than candy-cane perky, a new shop across the road has opened… Not only is it selling baked goods, but the owner, with his seriously charming smile, has every girl in town swooning.

But Lily isn’t about to let her business crumble — the Gingerbread Café is the heart of the community, and she’s going to fight for it! This could be the Christmas that maybe, just maybe, all her dreams – even the someone-to-decorate-the-Christmas-tree-with ones – really do come true!

Find the novella here:

Amazon UK

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