Roxanne Cartwright, 47, is Fashion Director for YourStyle magazine. A 30-year veteran in the magazine industry, she’s an ace at what she does and enjoys putting together glamorous fashion shoots for the magazine. So when she’s told by her new boss that the magazine is being taken in a new direction to cheap, figure-fixing pieces, Roxanne is shocked to learn that her position will be replaced by the new fashion-director-in-chief, Tina Court, who will oversee the transformation. Wary of her imminent dismissal, Roxanne uses her temporary time off from work to escape from London and retreat to her sister’s home in the small village of Burley Bridge in Yorkshire, where they grew up. After their mother’s death two years before, Della used her mum’s collection of cookbooks to open a cookbook bookshop and effectively changed the Burley Bridge landscape as Roxanne remembered it. The success of the bookshop has necessitated an expansion, and Roxanne heads to the village to help her sister with the finishing touches before the upcoming party and unveiling of the expanded space. At first reluctant to relinquish certain duties to her domestically impaired sister, in time Della realizes Roxanne’s effectiveness in handling matters in her absence and the two women become a great team.
Meanwhile, Roxanne is confused about her fashion photographer boyfriend back in London, Sean, who didn’t seem particularly displeased that she’d be leaving for two months. Sean is the first responsible boyfriend Roxanne’s ever had. Prior relationships consisted of a host of losers, and until Sean she wasn’t much concerned about having a stable relationship with anyone. The idea of a responsible, reliable man who fussed over her and could provide security seemed boring to Roxanne. But ever since she started dating Sean, suddenly she’s craving commitment. Nevertheless, something is off-putting about him. She’s heard rumors of his being a philanderer, but she can’t seem to resist his good looks and impish charm. She believes she’s in love with him, although his odd behavior, particularly that of chiding her for inconsequential incidents, is starting to get on her nerves. Roxanne finds herself continually making allowances for Sean’s bad behavior whenever he apologizes, and she feels conflicted in her emotions about him. Especially since she’s met the owner of the Bakery on Rosemary Lane, Michael. He’s handsome, talented, available, and he seems to be interested in her. Suddenly, Sean doesn’t dominate her every thought. But then Sean shows up and surprises her in Burley Bridge while in Michael’s company, rendering her noticeably flustered. What will Roxanne do?
MY THOUGHTS: I really enjoyed this book. I loved reading about Roxanne’s life both in London and then Burley Bridge. I appreciated that she was a middle-aged woman, as most female protagonists I read about are much younger. I could easily relate to some of the witty references with regard to her age, and how it sometimes made her feel in the fashion world. And yet, this book could be read by persons young and old. Roxanne was a very chic, hip character, and didn’t come across as dowdy in any way. The relationship she shared with her sister, and that which she developed with Michael’s daughter, Elsa, was endearing and added to my enjoyment of the book. I was interested to know how she would resolve her relationship issues, but events that transpired in the book ultimately dictated her decision, and I was happy about her choice. The only negatives I have about this book are that I’m not sure why it’s called The Little Bakery on Rosemary Lane since the Bakery in the story is not center stage. It’s more in the background, so I found that a little misleading. Also, I’m not sure how to categorize it. Although it reads somewhat like a romance book, there wasn’t very much romance in it. At least not enough leading up to the outcome of the story, in my humble opinion. There was sort of a few themes going on too. I would have liked to have seen a little more fulfilling wrap-up of everyone and everything at the end. Aside from that it was a very good read. It kept me interested and I would read another book by Ellen Berry in the future.
I received an E-ARC of this book from the publisher via netgalley. All of the opinions stated in this review are my own.