Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Reality TV producer Ford debuts with the charming story of a British home baker's turn in the spotlight. Jennifer Quinn, 77, has lived a quiet life with her sweet, supportive husband Bernard, to whom she's been married for nearly 60 years. Though she feels she should be content, Jenny longs for something more. So, without telling Bernard, she applies to be a contestant on the popular competition show Britain Bakes. Her sneaking stirs memories of a long-held secret: before she met Bernard, she gave a baby up for adoption, and she's always been convinced that telling him would ruin their marriage. To her surprise, Jenny's chosen for the show. When she shares the news with Bernard, he's shocked but thrilled for her. Jenny decides to bake treats for the show based on memories of pastries she ate at crucial points in her past. She makes it to the finals and enjoys some fame as the show begins airing, but Ford's smoothly told narrative builds to a crisis point when one of Jenny's Facebook posts is unearthed by the media. Fans of cooking competitions will find this feel-good story delectable. (Jan.)
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Review by Library Journal Review
DEBUT Bernard Quinn is convinced that his wife of 59 years has a mortal illness. Recently, she has been very secretive, making strange phone calls and disappearing to appointments. Jenny Quinn has only kept two secrets from Bernard: the first from before they met, and her new secret, that she's tried out for the popular televised cooking competition Britain Bakes. Although the couple are approaching their 60th wedding anniversary and still in love, Jenny has keenly felt the absence of never having had the opportunity to raise children. Discontented and fearful of the future, she turns to the comfort of baking for her friends, neighbors, and especially for Bernard's niece Rose and her young family. When Jenny wins a spot on the show, she discovers that the love and support of friends and family helps her to find self-confidence to compete and the courage to reveal her first secret to her husband. VERDICT Debut author Ford offers up a warm, sincere and heartfelt tale with relatable characters. Full of appetizing descriptions of baked goods, it will please fans of TV cooking competitions.--Joy Gunn
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Review by Kirkus Book Review
A septuagenarian with a penchant for baking proves her worth. After her husband, Bernard, comments that they're no longer going to "embark on any grand adventures," Jenny Quinn, a 77-year-old pensioner living in Kittlesham, England, sneaks into their study to secretly apply for a spot on a televised baking competition. Jenny doesn't truly believe she has a shot at making it onto Britain Bakes--an obvious stand-in for The Great British Bake Off, right down to the jokes about a "soggy bottom"--but nonetheless summons the courage to hit Submit. Much to her surprise, she makes it onto the show. While she's initially plagued with self-doubt and worries that she's only been cast as a cruel joke, Jenny admits her plans to her doting husband, packs up her old-fashioned cast-iron kitchen scales, and takes the competition by storm. Many of Jenny's bakes on the show harken back to significant moments from her childhood and young adulthood, and, sprinkled throughout the book, Ford intersperses the world of 17-year-old Jenny, which includes a secret that not even Bernard knows about. Ford's writing is sentimental without being saccharine, and the scenes from Jenny's youth are, much like Jenny's pastry, deliciously layered. While readers might wish for a bit more conflict in the contemporary timeline, as our heroine would surely argue, there's nothing wrong with indulging in a little something sweet: "Jenny has shown that our dreams have a place at every stage of our journey...that they can be achieved because of our age, and not in spite of it." For anyone who's ever wished they could read, instead of watch, reality TV. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.