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29 January 2017

Review: 'Sweet Pursuits' by Pauline Wiles (2017)

What’s the recipe for a second chance at love?

After six blissful years with scientist boyfriend Owen, Bella Beecham was convinced he was about to pop the question she’d been longing to hear. Instead, he accepted a prestigious job in California and left England without a backwards glance. Now, Owen’s back in the village of Saffron Sweeting, and appears to be more eligible than ever. Bella’s determined that the man of her dreams won’t slip through her fingers again.

But her plans to tone up, trim down, and tempt Owen back into her life prove bittersweet. Although Bella’s talent for baking wins her new friends, her tasty treats have a disconcerting tendency to sabotage her own intentions. And as her increasingly bold attempts to recapture Owen’s heart stumble, Bella must question whether she’s chasing a guy who wants to be caught.

A few years ago author Pauline Wiles released her debut novel 'Saving Saffron Sweeting.' I remember reading several things about the book on Twitter and other blogs, but I never actually got to reading the novel myself. A prequel titled 'Secrets in the Sky' followed the first book and on the 26th of January already the third part in the series was released, 'Sweet Pursuits.' Pauline contacted me with the question whether I'd be interested in reviewing her latest release, especially since it can be read as a stand-alone. I liked the sound of the book and have to admit I was quite looking forward to finally stepping foot into the village of Saffron Sweeting myself!

Bella Beecham can't help it; she's still hung up on her ex-boyfriend Owen. Even though Owen left her for a promising job in the USA after having been together for six years and when Bella was actually expecting a proposal, not a break-up. Now, several years later, Owen is suddenly coming back to Saffron Sweeting and Bella is determined to win him back. The first thing she decides to do is slim down, but it's proving quite a challenge to turn down all bakery goods and instead focus on working out. After warnings from her friends Bella starts to question her mission: will Owen really make her happy or should she actually be looking somewhere else...?

I have to admit I am usually a bit hesitant when it comes to picking up parts of a book series as stand-alones. I'm just one of those readers that likes to know all the history and background details when diving into a story, and with a series it's usually better to start at the very beginning in order to get all those details. 'Sweet Pursuits' is the third part of Pauline Wiles' 'Saving Saffron Sweeting' series, and while I was definitely a bit confused at the beginning because of all the different characters and the feeling I was missing some knowledge about the history between them, I got into the story quite easily and enjoyed reading it. Main character Bella is on a mission to win back her ex-boyfriend Owen and I was able to root for her and also relate to her in specific ways. Bella is a realistic character, who for example wants to lose weight but is finding it quite tricky, and I really appreciated the way the author decided to tackle Bella's mission and portray things in a realistic and relatable way.

I think there's a good message at the centre of this novel. Many of us are looking for that man or woman that will make everything alright; if we're together with them all our problems will be solved. Yet, it's not as simple as that. We need to find happiness in more aspects in our life, and this story focuses on Bella working on just that. I really liked how much Bella loves baking and would love another part of the series focusing mainly on her baking adventures. While it took me a bit of time, I've definitely warmed to Saffron Sweeting and its inhabitants and am quite curious to check out the other parts of the series. Overall, 'Sweet Pursuits' is a charming and enjoyable chick lit read; a novel that can be read as a stand-alone and a lovely visit to the town of Saffron Sweeting!
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

Thanks to the author for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

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