Like many people I’m permanently watching my weight so one of the delights of blogging is that I get to visit bakeries that won’t lead to me putting on more ponds! Consequently, I’m delighted to be bringing an extract from The Little Bakery on Rosemary Lane by Ellen Berry as part of the launch celebrations because I know I can read it with impunity!
Published on 7th September 2017 by Avon Books, an imprint of Harper Collins, The Little Bakery on Rosemary Lane is available for purchase here.
The Little Bakery on Rosemary Lane
If you want to move forward, sometimes you have to go back …
Prepare to fall in love with beautiful village of Burley Bridge.
Growing up in a quiet Yorkshire village, Roxanne couldn’t wait to escape and find her place in the world in London. As a high-powered fashion editor she lives a glamorous life of perennial singlehood – or so it seems to her sister Della. But when Roxanne gets her heart broken by a fashion photographer, she runs away, back to Della’s welcoming home above her bookshop in Burley Bridge.
But Burley Bridge, Roxanne discovers, is even quieter than she remembered. There’s nothing to do, so Roxanne agrees to walk Della’s dog Stanley. It’s on these walks that Roxanne makes a startling discovery: the people who live in Burley Bridge are, well, just people – different from the fashion set she’s used to, but kind and even interesting. Michael, a widower trying to make a go of a small bakery, particularly so. Little by little, cupcake by cupcake, Roxanne and Michael fall into a comforting friendship.
Could there be a life for Roxanne after all, in the place she’s spent 46 years trying to escape?
An Extract from The Little Bakery on Rosemary Lane
‘Hang on a minute . . .’ She rushed off to her second bedroom – a box room really, that served as overspill storage for clothes and accessories – to retrieve the gift she had wrapped so beautifully in matt duck-egg blue paper with a perfect silver bow.
Sean was lounging on the sofa in her living room when she handed it to him.
‘Here you go. Happy fiftieth, darling.’ As she curled up beside him, she experienced a rush of pleasure at having tracked down a wonderful gift for a man who really did have everything.
‘Thanks, sweetheart.’ He peeled away the wrapping paper with care. ‘Oh, wow! This is amazing, Rox. You know I love his work . . .’ He gazed at the hefty coffee-table book of photographs by Laurence Grier, one of his photographic heroes.
She snuggled close as he turned the pages reverentially. Grier, who had been active since the 50s, specialised in black-and-white photographs of achingly beautiful women in rather shabby surroundings. They always looked as if they had been caught off guard, applying lipstick in a dingy cafe, or drawing a picture with a finger on the steamed-up window of a bus.
‘Glad you like it,’ she said with a smile.
‘Of course I do. You’re so thoughtful. I love you, babe.’ He kissed her gently on the lips.
‘I love you too, darling,’ she murmured, beaming with pleasure. ‘Look, there’s something else too.’ She leaned over and turned to the book’s inside front cover, on which the photographer himself had written: Happy 50th birthday Sean, with all good wishes, Laurence Grier.
Sean stared at the inscription. ‘It’s signed! Is this for me?’
‘Well, yes,’ she said, laughing, ‘unless it’s a remarkable coincidence.’
His eyes widened. ‘How on earth did you get this?’
‘I bribed him with enormous amounts of money,’ she said with a grin.
He closed the book and placed it on top of a muddle of magazines and newspaper supplements on her coffee table. ‘Seriously? You actually met him?’
She nodded. ‘Yes – when I was in Paris for the shows.’
‘Really? Wow. You planned ahead . . .’
‘It was just luck really,’ she said quickly, a little embarrassed now: Paris fashion week was back in October. Did it seem overly keen to have planned Sean’s birthday present seven months ago – and only two months after they’d started seeing each other? ‘He was staying at my hotel,’ she added.
Sean kissed her again. ‘You’re amazing, Rox. Gorgeous, sexy and amazing . . .’
She smiled and pushed back her tangled hair. ‘And I noticed that he liked to sit with a gin and tonic in the hotel bar every evening, so I went out and bought a copy and hoped he’d be there, just one more time . . .’ She omitted to mention that it taken visits to four different bookshops before she had managed to track down a copy, and even then, it had a torn cover so they had to order another for her to pick up the next day.
About Ellen Berry
Ellen Berry is an author and magazine journalist. Originally from rural West Yorkshire, she has three teenage children and lives with her husband and their daughter in Glasgow. When she’s not writing, she loves to cook and browse her vast collection of cookbooks, which is how the idea for this story came about. However, she remains the world’s worst baker but tends to blame her failures on ‘the oven’.