Magical tale of baking family dusted with sweet humour
By Kathryn Littlewood
Published by HarperCollins
ISBN 978 0 007451746
Baking is becoming a trendy pastime, so any novel about cupcakes, yummy croissants and delicious muffins should be a tasty treat for amateur bakers and anyone else who likes cakes.
And Kathryn Littlewood's Bliss is exactly that. But she's added a delicious dollop of magic to her fictional shop window of cakes and pastries to create a tasty tale.
Twelve-year-old Rose Bliss lives with her parents and siblings in the small, quiet town of Calamity Falls. Mr and Mrs Bliss run the Bliss Bakery where the townsfolk buy their cakes. When they buy their baked goodies, the people of Calamity Falls buy something unique. Mrs Bliss is a magical baker and she includes ingredients like lightning bolts and weasel yawns in the recipes.
The extra 'little somethings' help keep life in Calamity Falls ticking along very nicely. They also make things fun for the town's inhabitants. Mrs Bliss's cakes can cure flu, make people walk backwards, make them fall in love and even mend broken hearts. Calamity Falls would be a very dull place if it didn't have the Bliss Bakery at the centre of the town square.
The secrets behind the Bliss Bakery's enchanted goodies lie in the age-old Bliss Cookery Booke, which is kept safely under lock and key by Mr and Mrs Bliss. They are the only two people who know the secrets that this book of magical recipes contains. The Bliss Cookery Booke is like no other, and it must never fall into the wrong hands.
When Mr and Mrs Bliss are suddenly called away from Calamity Falls, they leave dependable daughter Rose in charge of the bakery. She is given strict instructions that nobody outside the family should touch the Cookery Booke under any circumstances. And guess what happens? A mysterious and glamorous lady arrives at the Bakery announcing that she is the Bliss children's Aunt Lily. Rose is immediately suspicious of 'Aunt Lily', but the other Bliss kids are seduced by the idea of having a relative as interesting and beautiful as the captivating Lily.
When the enigmatic newcomer announces plans to produce a TV show featuring recipes from the Bliss Bakery, the younger Blisses pressure Rose to try out some of the Booke's recipes to show Aunt Lily. Can Rose bake her way out of this one? Mayhem quickly spreads as Rose and her brother Ty bake their own versions of cakes from the Bliss Cookery Booke. And all the time, Aunt Lily is watching, waiting to take control.
Bliss is a fun and light-hearted read that young teens will enjoy with a cake and a cup of tea. The story's zany plot is sprinkled with charming humour and the eccentric members of the Bliss Family are a delight to meet. Kathryn Littlewood has written a fast and hilarious adventure, and it is a pleasure to find a definite hint at the end of the story that the Bliss Bakery will be open again for business in the not-too-distant future.
John Millen can be contacted on MillenBookshelf@aol.com