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Little Beach Street Bakery

(Little Beach Street Bakery #1)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  20,926 ratings  ·  2,338 reviews
Amid the ruins of her latest relationship, Polly Waterford moves far away to the sleepy seaside resort of Polbearne, where she lives in a small, lonely flat above an abandoned shop.

To distract her from her troubles, Polly throws herself into her favorite hobby: making bread. But her relaxing weekend diversion quickly develops into a passion. As she pours her em
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Paperback, 416 pages
Published March 13th 2014 by Sphere
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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 ·  20,926 ratings  ·  2,338 reviews


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Michael Cayley
Mar 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: general-fiction
If this is chick lit, I am an honorary chick. This is a delightful book about a woman whose relationship breaks up when her and her partners' business goes bust, and who settles on a fictitious island (loosely akin to St Michael's Mount) connected to mainland Cornwall by a causeway. Jenny Colgan does not hide the harsh side of life in a small fishing community, but this is a lovely warm book, complete with pet puffin.
Jennifer
★★★
Good bread is hard to find. Getting just the right texture, density, crust, aroma, and flavor is a talent that I personally don't have. I do have a tiny handful of places I know of that can deliver perfection. Too bad this book is a work of fiction; I want to add it to my list. I want to crawl inside the pages and devour every perfect morsel the heroine created. The descriptions of the freshly baked breads were perfection.
★★★½
Good bread is hard to find. Getting just the right texture, density, crust, aroma, and flavor is a talent that I personally don't have. I do have a tiny handful of places I know of that can deliver perfection. Too bad this book is a work of fiction; I want to add it to my list. I want to crawl inside the pages and devour every perfect morsel the heroine created. The descriptions of the freshly baked breads were perfection.

And the people and atmosphere of the small seaside village setting (which the author reveals IN THIS INTERVIEW was inspired by the real-life St Michael's Mount in Cornwell). So well-written.

I have read Jenny Colgan before and have had a "meh" experience, but Little Beach Street Bakery was bounds better and is my favorite book from this author to date. Much of the book reminded me a bit of the plot and community dynamics seen in the film Chocolat (2000). A newcomer who brings a much needed baking talent to her new desperate community, a villain type of character who strongly discourages it, and a tiny town who is heavily conflicted between craving the illicit food and succumbing to intimidation. Little Beach Street Bakery brings drama, heartache, humor, beauty, friendship, food, love, and light romance to a "gentle and relaxing" reading experience. That description is in quotes because a fellow member of Chick Lit Book Club used this in our BOTM discussion located HERE and I thought those adjectives were absolutely perfect.

Unfortunately though, I do have a few complaints. The first one has to do with the romance. It was evident that the heroine and hero were headed that way based on the events and story build-up, but I found their chemistry was sorely lacking. After all of the detailed writing up to that point, the romance just felt like words in comparison. Second, you won't find any recipes in Little Beach Street Bakery so you'll have to fulfill your carbohydrate cravings some other way. Third, the voices of the audiobook narrators are far too mature for the ages of the written characters. A goodreads friend gave me a heads up on this factor beforehand and thankfully I was prepared so it wasn't too distracting but it was obvious and a bit confusing to be honest. Regardless, I really enjoyed Little Beach Street Bakery overall and would recommend it to fans of chicklit/women's fiction.

My favorite quote:
"Beyond the window was...nothing. Just a stretch into outer space, or, as it revealed itself to be on closer examination, the sea. The picture had been taken on a day when the sea and the sky were the same shade of gray and blended into one another. It was a great big expanse on which nothing was written. Polly stared at the picture for a long time, fascinated. It looked exactly the way she felt: hollowed out, empty. But also strangely calming. Like it was all right that there was a lot of gray in the world; grey was how it was."

Note: I realize the above quote isn't consistent with how light I made the book sound but this quote stood out to me. I love the ocean and find it very therapeutic. I've experienced this quote first-hand and I marked it immediately.


10/20/2016:
I've been craving fresh-baked artisan bread all day...and honey. Lots of raw honey. Thanks for the carbs Jenny Colgan.

Full review to come after I stuff my face.
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Miranda Reads
Sep 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
"How?" said Chris. "Have you ever gone bankrupt?"
Polly Waterford lived with her partner, Chris, and for the last few years, barely had her head above water.

They had a design business - with her on the business and Chris on the design - but, despite everything, it fell through.
Polly had worked her fingers to the bone. She had never stopped pitching, closing, discounting; doing anything to get sales for her talented other half."
With no great relief, Polly and Chris are forced to give up...everyth
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Megan Readinginthesunshine
Jul 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely LOVE Jenny Colgan’s books, they always fill me with such happiness and I love jumping right in and immersing myself in her novels, so I was VERY excited about Little Beach Street Bakery.

In Little Beach Steet Bakery, Polly is not only recovering from a bad relationship, but the company she set up with her ex Chris was declared bankrupt, leaving Polly unable to afford her flat and with no job or business either. As Polly struggles, she stumbles across the little place of P
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Steffi
This was a lovely and cute read but unfortunately I missed the final sparkle.
Most characters were lovely, especially Polly but I just couldn't feel any chemistry between her and Huckle.
The atmosphere of that little island town was great and I could imagine it perfectly.
Arlene
Apr 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, adult, read-2016
Jenny Colgan is quickly becoming one of my go-to authors when I don't know what to pick up next. Her cast is eclectic and fun to get to know, her storyline is engaging, and the recipes she incorporates into her books are mouthwatering!!!

In this novel, I enjoyed getting to know Polly who at the age of thirty-something has to find a new career when the graphic design business she started with her boyfriend goes bankrupt. With so few options at her disposal and rent being so expensive i
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Flannery
After enjoying my audiobook experience with The Bookshop on the Corner, I requested that King County Library System purchase this audiobook so I could keep going with Jenny Colgan's books, which I'd hoped would fill that quirky romance fix I sometimes have. The story in this book is the same sort of deal as that one: a woman has some problems in her life and decides to start anew somewhere else. She builds up a business and finds someone special. End of. That's not what I want to mention about this aud ...more
Bonnie
When Polly’s long-term relationship comes crashing down and with it the business they’ve built together, she’s left to start over completely from scratch. With so few options available to her, she agrees to rent a run-down flat with a leaky roof on the island of Polbearne. She finds solace in utilizing her baking skills and filling the air of the island with the enticing smell of freshly baked bread.

When Polly’s long-term relationship comes crashing down and with it the business they’ve built together, she’s left to start over completely from scratch. With so few options available to her, she agrees to rent a run-down flat with a leaky roof on the island of Polbearne. She finds solace in utilizing her baking skills and filling the air of the island with the enticing smell of freshly baked bread.


St. Michael’s Mount
Source

Polbearne, a quaint seaside village off the coast of England, is based off the actual island St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall. Colgan’s descriptions of the village were thorough, detailing not only the people and their way of life but of the town itself and the sole causeway being the only way to come and go on the island. While the people in the village weren’t always the most friendly (since they saw Polly as an outsider), the village itself sounded like a such a lovely place to reside with its small shops on cobbled streets and a ruined yet still charming castle on the top of a hill overlooking the island.

Polly’s ever-constant baking was also given much detail and constantly left you craving delicious breads. After one particularly tasty sounding chapter I became determined to also become a master bread maker. Long story short, I failed miserably. Bread is FAR harder to bake than Polly makes it sound like just so you know! I didn’t actually attempt any of the recipes included in the story (Cheese Straws, Sweetcorn Fritters, Cinnamon Rolls, Focaccia, and my favorite: Shortbread) but I’m determined to try again. Someday.

This fun little foodie novel is not without its fill of drama though. Polly immediately begins butting heads with her landlord who is the sole baker on the island and Polly’s freshly baked bread is hampering her sales. Her landlord has her own personal history that ends up being told as a side-story. Polly also gets involved in some romantic complications that ends up being something akin to a love square. While I’m not a fan of love triangles and especially squares in general, what really disappointed me with this one in particular was the lack of chemistry between Polly and any of the men. What I loved most about Polly was her empowering story of hitting rock bottom and finding the strength to not only make a living but to find out who she is while being on her own again. The romance element wasn’t completely necessary in my opinion and especially not that many romances. It made it all avoidably messy and I would have appreciated a much more simplistic story in that regard.

I don’t know how I’ve failed to mention the best part of the story this far into my review! When Polly moves to Polbearne she unintentionally takes on a new pet which she names Neil. Neil, the puffin.



Neil was by far the cutest addition to the story even though he was unrealistically tame, but whatever! Now I want a pet puffin.

Little Beach Street Bakery is a sweet, entertaining tale about learning to navigate the harsh realities of life and finding what you’re passionate about. It’s the perfect read for foodie fiction fans and readers simply looking for a light-hearted read.

I received this book free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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Paul E. Morph
Sep 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great, relaxing, summer holiday read. Perfect for the beach or by the pool.

Polly and her husband run a graphic design business together that goes belly-up. Their marriage doesn't survive the stresses of declaring bankruptcy and Polly moves to a dilapidated flat in a small seaside town in Cornwall, as it is all she can afford (slightly hard to believe, knowing how much seafront property goes for in this country, but I'll let it slide).

Polly finds herself befriend
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Myrna
Oct 08, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Good chick lit book with a mix of tragedy and humor. It was an easy read with likable characters. I also enjoyed the descriptions of the seaside English town. I was expecting a foodie book with succulent descriptions like in a A Taste of Heaven or The Cake Therapist . Instead, there are lots of other things going on besides the bakery like a wedding, fishermen, puffins, and beekeeping. If you like escapism reads about second chances, this book might be for you. 3 star read! One a side note, I knocked ...more
Tania
Sep 21, 2014 rated it it was ok
I really did not enjoy this book. A book shouldn't be able to hit the shelves with mistakes in it (such as missing full stops and spelling errors). I found the writing was simple and lacked creative flair (maybe that's what chick lit is meant to be[?]). My other gripe was the lengthy sentences and constant mid-sentence tangents with unnecessary detail. One sentence lasted half a page! By the time you'd made it through three tangents you'd forgotten what the point of the start of the sentence eve ...more
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Mar 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2017
After reading Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery, book three in the Little Beach Street Bakery series did I just have to read the first book because I found the one I read marvelous.

Jenny Colgan has quickly become a favorite author of mine. I love the mix of seriousness and humor in her books and several times did I smile as I read this book. However, it's not all smile and laughter, and since I have I read book three did I know that I should not become too attached to a person that is not
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Tamra
Jan 11, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I loved the atmosphere of this book and the story was pretty good if a tad too familiar... the more I read, the more I realized it was almost identical to The Bookshop on the Corner, the first book I read by this author and really liked and enjoyed. I mean, eerily - and lazily - similar; same characters (albeit with different names), same plot line (substituting bread for books), same crazy and eccentric friend who periodically comes to stay (and falls in love with the guy you're supposed to thi ...more
Ian
Polly's relationship has failed, her business has failed, she is homeless, bankrupt and living on the couch of her all too perfect best friend. Desperate to escape her woes and start rebuilding she rents a ramshackle apartment above a shop on a bleak windswept island.

With nothing else to do, she returns to the love of her life, baking bread. At first she gives it away or trades it but over time she finds she has a small business. But she has to avoid the despotic owner of the town's other baker
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Leona
Dec 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: chick-lit
After being on a spree of bad reads, this one broke the spell. What a delightful surprise. I had requested this book electronically from my library so long ago, I had actually forgotten about it. Now I know why it took so long. It's really good.

The tone is causal, fun, and flirty; just what you would expect from chick lit. But, the author tackles some darker issues such as infidelity, unemployment, bankruptcy that moves this beyond typical chick lit. I was hooked from the very first page
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Ann
Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.

I really need to evaluate my traditional dislike of chick-lit since I realized I'm basing most of it on romantic comedies and Lauren Weisberger's ridiculous books. My usual complaint is that everything hinges on people not communicating. Obviously there's a lot of tension that comes from misunderstandings, but do the situations always have to be so absurd? With that in mind, Little Beach Street Bakery felt like a breath of fresh air. Of
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Dianne
May 11, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2018
While I liked the gist of this romance and the story as a whole, I did NOT like the fact that the author did no research whatsoever on American accents and speech usages as well as American slang. Huck, (yes I sad Huck which was 'shortened' to "Huckle *shiver*) was from Savannah, Georgia USA...at first he spoke like a southerner but quickly lost all of his accent as well as his Americanisms...then when he escapes back to Savannah (and he is there for months) he speaks like someone from the UK. ...more
Best Crime Books & More
Jul 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
OH MY! I have read most of Jenny Colgan’s books and am very fond of her Rosie Hopkins books. However, MOVE OVER Rosie because Polly is in town! I picked this book up and did not put it down until I managed to finish it later that day. I just fell in love again and again, and now I feel a little bit sad that Polly is gone. The only thingthat perked me up was the idea of a re-visit in the form of Jenny Colgan’s release in February 2015 entitled Summer at The Little Beach Street Bakery.

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Mandi Schreiner
Oct 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
I mean, the heroine has a pet puffin. How can you go wrong?

My romance heart always has a little trouble with her romance/heas but it was ok :) Her charm comes in the form of her heroines and setting
Terry S
Jul 23, 2015 rated it did not like it
Can't understand all the high ratings given to this book - which led me to pick it up in the first place. I found it totally predictable and a bit silly: even disregarding a very unrealistic puffin called Neil. What annoyed me most was the juvenile writing style which reads as though written by a good primary school student. It was a real challenge to finish the book at all, and I found myself skimming chunks of it towards the end.
I actually feel a bit embarrassed to have this on my 'read'
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Leah
Mar 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In the past couple of years Jenny Colgan has really become an author I admire and enjoy. She’s started writing books that are mainly based around food – mostly the type of food I love, in fact, sweet food! A chocolate shop in Paris, Rosie Hopkins’s Sweetshop of Dreams, Cupcake Cafes… Her novels are so sweet that if you read too many of them in a row you may find yourself in a not-unwanted sugar coma. She’s also one of only a few authors who is giving us TWO novels a year, which is just amazing. ...more
Mary
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. Colgan's stories always get me. The idea of starting anew, living in a tiny remote village, cooking and baking . The simple joys of life. Polly is wonderful character, I just love her sass and sense of humor. Her unfiltered comments made me laugh out loud. Many times. Little Neil was such an amazing character. I was completely taken by him, and wouldn't mind a puffin as a pet :) The setting was gorgeous, I wanted to live there, in the broken down apartment, in the beaut ...more
QNPoohBear
After Polly Waterford's business and relationship failed she needed to be by herself for awhile. The only way she could afford to do that was move to a crumbling flat in Palberne, a tiny place in Cornwall 50 miles from her native Plymouth and connected to the mainland by a causeway that floods at high tide. At first her only friend is her adopted Puffin, Neil. Polly is dismayed to discover the only sandwiches available in town are made with awful commercial bread. She starts baking bread as a th ...more
Patrizia
Apr 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ein Wohlfühl-Buch 😉
Kim Kaso
This book was just what I needed to combat the February blues. The anniversary of my mom’s funeral over Valentine’s Day always creeps up on me. I find myself feeling unspeakably sad with no discernible reason in the “now”, and then I look at the calendar and I realized what the date was. The light of emotional illumination turned on. I was reading excellent books, but nothing resonated, everything felt flat. Acedia of the reading life rather than the spiritual. And so, in the dark watches of the ...more
DeB MaRtEnS
Jul 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: cooking-the-plot
A fizzy predictable tale which meanders around a Cornish island for added colour, but ultimately is all about finding that handsome man to love for ever after.
Karin
Nov 14, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Why is there a cupcake on the cover? There are no cupcakes in the book - she makes BREAD. And uses lots of random capitalization.
Natalie Walters
Oct 08, 2019 rated it liked it
This was an audiobook read for me and the first thing I have to say is the narrator did a fine job with narration for the lead female character but her accent for the American male from Savannah was abysmal. Her voice change for one of the fisherman wasn't that great either making both men sound like they were a hundred years old so imagine my surprise when the 30ish protagonist starts to have feelings for them!!

If you can get past that, and it wasn't easy, the story is fine. It started out rea
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Lisa Montanaro
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a delightful quick read. It probably falls into the genre of chick lit, but it has a little more depth than some of your average books of that category. This is my second book by this author and I’m noticing a sort of formula that she follows, but that’s fine with me because I enjoy it. Both books have a female protagonist that is embarking on a major change, personally and professionally. It usually involves an entirely new career in a different location, and the location is usually a s ...more
Kristīne
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Jenny Colgan does not dissappoint. I needed a quick, hearfelt read and I got one.
After reading 3 or 4 of her books, I already know the formula of how the story will go, but it is a comforting read anyway.
4 stars this time because it felt a bit too sad at times, and a bit slow - but inspiring nevertheless.
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Around the Year i...: Little Beach Street Bakery, by Jenny Colgan 1 12 Jun 18, 2018 11:34AM  
Chick Lit Book Club: * The Little Beach Street Bakery: October Chit Chat 15 86 Nov 21, 2016 02:12AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Add cover 2 15 Mar 31, 2015 12:33AM  

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4,461 followers
Jenny Colgan is the author of numerous bestselling novels, including 'The Little Shop of Happy Ever After' and 'Summer at the Little Beach Street Bakery', which are also published by Sphere.' Meet Me at the Cupcake Café' won the 2012 Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance and was a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller, as was 'Welcome to Rosie Hopkins' Sweetshop of Dreams', which won the RNA Romantic ...more

Other books in the series

Little Beach Street Bakery (3 books)
  • Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery (Little Beach Street Bakery #2)
  • Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery (Little Beach Street Bakery #3)
“If there’s a corner where you plant your heart, it’s always with you.” 5 likes
“Are you okay?” Polly shrugged. “One of the boats isn’t back yet.” “Is it the one with the sexy beardy?” Polly swallowed and nodded. Several people from the village came up to pat her shoulder and thank her for her contribution. “Move over,” said Kerensa, and she started buttering rolls. “I can’t believe you aren’t charging for this. It’s no way to run a business. Actually you should charge treble to all the rubberneckers.” Polly gave her a look. “Okay, okay, just saying.” A substantial figure approached slowly, holding a large tray. Polly squinted in the watery sunlight. “Who’s that?” asked Kerensa. “Oh, is it the old boot?” “Ssh,” said Polly as Mrs. Manse came into earshot. She looked at what Polly was doing and sniffed. Polly bit her lip, worried that she was going to get a telling-off. This wasn’t her business, after all; she didn’t get to make these kinds of decisions. Mrs. Manse surveyed the makeshift stall, surrounded by people—it had become something of a focal point—and harrumphed crossly. Then she banged down the large tray. It held the entire day’s selection of cream horns and fancies. “I’ll need that box back in the morning,” was all she said before turning around and marching back up the road. “Well, well,” said Kerensa, as Polly started handing out cakes to hungry crew and passing children. As evening fell and the RNLI boat came back for the sixth time, empty-handed, Polly felt her fears beginning to grow again. During the day, as the other boats had” 5 likes
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