Review: 'The Sunshine and Biscotti Club' by Jenny Oliver (2016)
Moving to Italy to set up a baking club is a dream come true…
…until Libby catches her husband cheating just weeks before The Sunshine and Biscotti Club opens its doors.
With the first wave of guests set to arrive any day, Libby has no choice but to tie on her apron and get set to bake. But with a dash of sunshine and a sprinkling of old friends, Libby’s kitchen nightmare might just become the best thing that’s ever happened to her.
After all, you can’t bake biscotti without breaking a few eggs…
Last year I got the chance to read and review 'The Grand Reopening of the Dandelion Cafe' (click here to read my review), which was my first experience with author Jenny Oliver's writing. I always see a lot of positive messages about her writing on Twitter and other blogs and have to admit I love the titles and covers of her works. However, up until now I just haven't really had the chance to actually read more of her writing, until 'The Sunshine and Biscotti Club', that is! Thanks to the lovely people over at publisher Carina I got a review copy and as it was pouring down with rain last week, I decided I needed a bit of sunshine in my life and the gorgeous book cover and promising book blurb had me feeling that was exactly what this read would bring me...!
Libby is living the dream; she's a popular food blogger about to open her very own hotel/baking club in beautiful Tuscany. The only problem is that she expected to do this together with her husband Jake; the same husband she discovered was actually cheating on her and has now left the country. Luckily, Libby quickly realises she is not completely alone; she has her group of old university friends to fall back on as they all make their way to Italy to help out with the renovations and start-up of the Sunshine and Biscotti Club. Will Libby be able to pull this off by herself in just a few weeks' time, especially when not just her friends but their individual problems are also thrown into the mix...?
Jenny Oliver's 'The Sunshine and Biscotti Club' is the kind of read that's great for a lovely warm day in the garden or the beach, or a rather chilly or rainy day when you're craving that bit of sunshine and holiday feeling. The book focuses on main character Libby who is busy starting up her own hotel and baking club in Italy but needs to call in the help of her friends when her husband turns out to have been cheating on her. Next to Libby, we meet all of her friends with a specific focus on Evie (who is stuck in an unhappy marriage with two children and needs a break from it all) and Jessica (who is a complete workaholic that devotes all her time to her own design agency, but decides she could use a quick break away from it all). The reader gets to follow these three female characters with chapters told from each of their point of view, with the Sunshine and Biscotti club at the centre of it all.
I don't know whether I maybe had too high expectations of this novel going into it, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I initially hoped I would. I liked Libby, but didn't really warm to her, and neither did I with any of the other characters. Especially the male characters confused me a bit; I couldn't remember who was who and missed some background information and character details. I was also a bit disappointed there was hardly any attention paid to the actual Sunshine and Biscotti club and the hotel. I definitely think the potential for an amazing story is there, it just didn't really work for me personally, but other readers might disagree, and rightfully so. I have no doubt I will pick up another of Jenny Oliver's novels in the future, but while 'The Sunshine and Biscotti Club' is an enjoyable and fun read, it just didn't quite live up to my expectations.