Review of 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Bar' - Isabella May
River and Alice miss Somerset. Christmas isn’t Christmas without family and friends, even when you live in quaint Cornwall.
When River’s Aunt Sheba dies unexpectedly, leaving him her ancient VW campervan, nostalgia nudges him and Alice back to Glastonbury - and the surrounding villages - to rediscover their roots whilst serving the most decadent hot chocolate and delectable gingerbread from their renovated ‘bar on wheels’.
A bar on wheels complete with a fold-up stage to host local talent competitions rivaling anything Simon Cowell could dream up, even if he’d gorged on a truckle of Cheddar cheese!
As the villagers sip their cocoa and ice their gingerbread houses amidst the festive backdrop of song, dance, and slightly more unconventional talents, River and Alice find themselves in an unexpected race against time:
Zara, their chocolate supplier is leaving Glastonbury on the twelfth day of Christmas, keen to put a string of disastrous relationships behind her to make a fresh start.
Bruno, their gregarious and gorgeous baking supplier is secretly smitten with Zara - ticking every box on her New Year’s wish list.
If only they can get them together for one experimental kiss under the mistletoe...
They’ve even enlisted their customers’ help in their mission to wrap this budding romance up in all the jingle bells and whistles. How hard can it be?
So, ho, ho VERY tricky, as it turns out...
Purchase Link - mybook.to/twinkletwinklelittleb
This book is crammed full of gastronomic delights all delivered with added Christmassy cheer. Everyone has the usual relationship ups and downs, whether they be romantic or familial and this is a solid romantic comedy. However, the real star of the show – just as in the plot – is the food and drink. Mouthwatering combinations of hot chocolate, spices and alcohol, all served up with a helping of crunchy, crumbly iced gingerbread. I pretty much spent the whole book salivating and wondering how I could justify trying out some of the flavour combinations when I'm meant to be on a diet!
However, there are some serious points to be made as well. The plot of the book centres around River and Alice moving back to Somerset from Cornwall and this raises some interesting questions. Both these counties suffer from second-home syndrome, where locals are often priced out of the market because house prices are inflated due to demand for holiday homes. You've only got to look at the price rises seen in Cornwall between December 2020 and July 2021 to see the impact Covid and the resulting demand for 'staycations' has had. The book shows the impact big landlords and businesses have when they buy up rural properties and then rent them out at inflated prices. It demonstrates the perils of small business ownership and the problems that can be caused by misjudging your market.
Luckily for River and Alice, they're able to overcome all of this and make a success of their new business venture. There were times when I felt at a slight disadvantage having not read the other books in the series - the good news for you is that if you like the sound of this book, the others are all available for you to read first!
Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalusia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the mountains and the sea. She grew up on Glastonbury's ley lines and loves to feature her quirky English hometown in her stories.
After a degree in Modern Languages and European Studies at UWE, Bristol (and a year working abroad in Bordeaux and Stuttgart), Isabella bagged an extremely jammy and fascinating job in children's publishing... selling foreign rights for novelty, board, pop-up and non-fiction books all over the world; in every language from Icelandic to Korean, Bahasa Indonesian to Papiamento!
All of which has fuelled her curiosity and love of international food and travel - both feature extensively in her cross-genre novels, fused with a dollop of romcom, and a sprinkle of magical realism.
Isabella is also a Level 4 Pranic Healer and a stillbirth mum.
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