Inspired by the start of the new series of The Great British Bake Off, kicking off 10 weeks of delicious baked goods, soggy bottoms, and a plethora of innuendos from Mel & Sue (baking has never been so sexy!), I want to share some of my favourite fictional reads steeped in mouthwatering home-baked goods, and written by British authors.
After all, a slice of GBBO-inspired cake or still-warm-from-the-oven bread tastes just that much nicer when enjoyed with a good book in hand, doesn't it?
Little Beach Street Bakery - Jenny Colgan
Ever since I devoured Meet Me At The Cupcake Cafe, Jenny Colgan has been my go-to author for scrumptiously sweet books filled with baked delights. Little Beach Street Bakery was such a wonderful read and ticked all the boxes of what I was hoping for in a Colgan novel; a charming and inviting story filled with likeable characters and scrumptious baked goods, which are described so vividly that they made me hungry just reading about them. My mouth watered as I devourd the lush descriptions of different types of bread and organic produce as main character Polly lost herself in the cathartic process of kneading bread and creating new flavours with edible delights she comes across on the island the moves too. Bonus: the novel introduces Neil the puffin, an adorable character that has become a firm favourite of mine. >> Full review of Little Beach Street Bakery
The Art of Baking Blind - Sarah Vaughan
Similar to The Great British Bake Off, this novel is about a contest, The Search for the New Mrs Eaden, looking for the next big thing in baking and centres on a diverse cast of contestants along the way. It was a delicious read, steeped in a love for baking and quintessentially British delights. The lush descriptions of the food made them so vivid that I could almost taste them on the tip of my tongue while reading. So, even if you weren't hungry before picking up this novel, you definitely will be once you've dug into it! The paperback has just been released, which is gorgeous, but I have a particular soft spot for the stunning hardback, which is taking a very proud place on my book shelves. >> Full review of The Art of Baking Blind.
The Dish - Stella Newman
Laura Parker works as a PA for Roger Harris at The Voice magazine, which sounds like a job she is overqualified for, as her sister reminds her all too frequently, but she enjoys it immensely. Especially her super secret role as a food critic, which allows her to channel her true passion, writing, and eat out at some of the best places in the city to boot. Things get a bit sticky for Laura, however, when she bickers over a doughnut with a guy (as you do). The novel is a delectable delight in more ways than one. Just make sure you have an ample supply of sweet treats at hand before you dig in, because as soon as you open the book the smell of the scrumptious food detailed within wafts off the pages and you will want to munch your way through a basket of freshly baked goods. >> Full review of The Dish
The Teashop on the Corner - Milly Johnson
The moral of this novel is: when life gives you lemons, you should make a delicious lemon drizzle cake to cheer yourself up. As we meet the main characters, they are all at a low point in their lives and are struggling to find any joy in it. Yet as if by magic - or it may very well be the alluring smell of a freshly baked pie - over the course of several days they all wander into the new teashop in Spring Hill Square for a cake-shaped pick-me-up. They are warmly welcomed by Leni Merryman who, just like her last name, brings some much-needed merriness into these lost people's lives in the form of delectable home-baked goods, lively literary discussions and an unexpected friendship. Filled with a wonderful mix of characters the reader will quickly fall in love with - not to mention a wealth of literary baked goods, must-have gifts and interesting debates - this is the perfect novel to enjoy with a freshly brewed pot of chamomile tea and a big slice of home-made cake. >> Full review of The Teashop on the Corner
The Travelling Tea Shop - Belinda Jones
British expat Laurie lives a pretty charmed life in New York City. She works for the girlie travel-planning website she and her best friend set up, through which gets to visit all sorts of exciting places and get paid to do so! When beloved baker and fellow Brit Pamela Lambert-Leigh comes over to the States to find inspiration for her next baking bestseller and is on the look-out for someone to make the travel arrangements during her trip, Laurie jumps at the chance to be the one to organise it all. Even though this was fiction, the hugely inviting descriptions of the places visited made the novel resemble a good travel guide at times, one with a dash of romance thrown in and a swirl of scrumptious baked goods. It was the perfect sweet treat for my Sunday afternoon and I'm already craving more of Belinda Jones' delicious writing. >> Full review of The Travelling Tea Shop
What Would Mary Berry Do? - Claire Sandy
This novel was published in 2014 and coincided perfectly with the finish of the last series of Bake Off, providing a calorie-free solution to the endless GBBO-less hours that would otherwise likely have been filled by consuming copious amounts of cake.The story is one woman's flour-coated fight against the baking odds, from unexpected tasty successes to all the kitchen disasters you can possibly imagine. In between the greatest challenge of her life (or at least the greatest challenge involving an oven), Marie has to juggle her marriage and kids, work and even has to play nice with perfect little home-making neighbour Lucy, which results in some unexpected surprises for the both of them. A warm and hilarious novel for which Claire Sandy deserves the award of Star Baker. >> Full review of What Would Mary Berry Do?
* * * * *
What are some of your favourite fictional baking books by British authors? Share them in the comments, as I'd love to discover more scrumptious stories!