Bella’s Christmas Bake off by Sue Watson

Bella’s Christmas Bake off by Sue Watson.
ISBN: 1910751618
Published: 20th October 2015 by Bookouture.
Available to buy on Amazon UK and Amazon US in Kindle and paperback format.

‘Bella Bradley is the queen of television baking – a national treasure. Her Christmas specials have been topping the ratings for years and her marriage to Peter ‘Silver Fox’ Bradley is the stuff of Hello magazine specials.
But this year things are going to be different.
For Amy Lane, Bella’s best friend from school, life hasn’t held quite the same sparkle. And when Amy’s husband walks out three weeks from Christmas, it seems their lives are further apart than ever.
Amy has watched Bella’s rise to fame fondly, despite the fact Bella was always a terrible cook. But when she realises that Bella’s latest Christmas book is made up entirely of Amy’s mother’s recipes, the gloves are off…
After winning a competition to appear on Bella’s TV show, Amy is going to make sure that for Bella and her viewers, this will definitely be a Christmas to remember…’

Amy’s Christmas memories as a child mainly involve baking with her mother and her childhood best friend, Bella. Unfortunately, Amy and Bella’s history isn’t all that straightforward, but ‘thanks’ to Bella’s Christmas television programme, Amy finds herself confronting her past. Amy manages to get herself onto Bella’s Christmas programme to finally put to bed the past, but can Amy make Bella see what is right under her nose?
Who said Christmas books were just meant to be read in December? Certainly not me! If anyone has said that, I’m going to ignore it and so should you because this needs to be read ANY month of the year! Remember your childhood Christmases’? The excitement surrounding Santa Claus and whether you had been good enough in the year to find presents when you got downstairs. Not forgetting Christmas dinner of course! Paper hats on heads eating mountains of food because it was Christmas, and that’s the law! Oh, it’s not? Oh! Home made mince pies! (Thanks mum!) Reading Bella’s Christmas Bake off will transport you to every Christmas you have ever had whilst reliving all the special memories and traditions. Although, you might find yourself laughing at the realisation that a ham could be seen in a sexual manner……
I will rephrase that, you WILL find yourself laughing at multiple things, and not just the ham! This book has been on my ‘to read’ list since last year and I never got round to reading it until last month!  I am extremely regretful that I didn’t read this book sooner because it is such a captivating and warming book. Within the first few pages of the book, one of the main characters; Amy is hit with drama, major drama considering it’s three weeks before Christmas and she finds herself husband-less. Her Christmas now in tatters, oh, and the cake she spent ages making. The cake decided to have its own Christmas venture…on the floor…outside…where a cake should not be. Oh my goodness I feel faint at the thought! Amy’s Christmas tradition as an adult was watching Bella’s perfect Christmas life on the television. Is it really that perfect though? Luckily for Amy, in a roundabout way, she gets the chance to confront Bella over many things, including her mother’s recipes.
As you can probably guess already, I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book. The humour within the story is witty, on point, and will make you spit out any liquid in your mouth due to uncontrollable laughter. Well, looks like my secret is out! FYI, it was tea! Not only does the book contain hilarity, it also contains festivity and, for me, several hidden messages. Now, this isn’t a spoiler because no two people will read a book in the same way as someone else. Bella’s Christmas Bake off had me crying because it makes you realise that you need to live your life because of what you want without having to worry about what anyone else is going to say about your choices. It also made me realise that Christmas doesn’t have to be all fancy, it just needs to have what you hold dear to your heart. Family, close friends, even memories. Every single one of us has our own special memories to do with Christmas. Memories are priceless and so are traditions, however, you can make those memories last by carrying on special traditions as an adult. I know I will be.
I really can’t praise this book enough because it exceeded any expectations that I had before I read it. Hilarious, witty and extremely magical.  A truly compelling story that has been written straight from the heart, with Santa’s sleigh bringing it straight to your heart.

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