Book Review: Christmas at Rosie Hopkins' Sweet Shop

Christmas at Rosie Hopkins' Sweet Shop (Rosie Hopkins' Sweet Shop #2)
Published By: Sphere
Publication Date: November 7, 2013
Page Count: 400
Buy it at Amazon or The Book Depository
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Audience: Adult Contemporary, Chick Lit

I have long been a fan of Jenny Colgan’s work, and was very excited to learn that the wonderful Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop of Dreams, which won the Romantic Novelists’ Association book of the year in 2013, was getting a sequel. Jenny seems to have found a new niche in food inspired romantic novels, this being the fifth such title she’s published. Adding to the charm of these books are the tried and tested recipes Jenny includes either at the start of each chapter, or as a bonus at the end. 

Rosie Hopkins, former auxiliary nurse, is now the proud proprietor of a sweetshop in the charming village of Lipton. And by charming, I mean small, completely cut off from everywhere when it snows, and where everyone and his dog knows your business. Her great aunt Lillian is enjoying life in the nearby nursing home, tormenting Ida Delia, her former best friend and the reason she lost her first and only love, Henry Carr. Rosie’s boyfriend Stephen is about to start a new job as a teacher in the village school, much to the disgust of his mother, the formidable Lady Lipton. Life is good, and even better, Rosie has just received the news that her mother, brother and his family are coming from Australia to spend Christmas with her. 

 But then something truly awful happens that affects everyone in the village. The school may need to close and if it does, the families will move away. If the families move, the sweetshop will go as well. With Stephen growing more distant, Rosie is no longer sure whether Lipton is the place for her or whether she should join her family on Sydney’s beaches. Meanwhile, a new resident in the nursing home is causing a stir. Lillian and Ida Delia are both vying for his attentions, but his son is worried about his increasing agitation. Why does he claim he was born in Derbyshire? Is it just his dementia or is there more to it? 

As with the first book, we experience the story through multiple viewpoints. Unlike the first book, this story is told entirely in the present. While Rosie’s adventures are funny and heartwarming and make a great story, it is absolutely Lillian’s story which steals the limelight for me. This was also the case in the first book, where we learn of Lillian’s one great romance and her lost love Henry, who died in the Second World War. While Rosie made me smile, it is Lillian’s story that provides the soaring heights and the heartbreaking lows and who left me sobbing and sighing at the conclusion. 

I love, love, love this world and its characters. Stephen as the broody Mr Darcy type ticks all the right boxes, Moray as the gay village doctor is a great comic sidekick and the children are just adorable – particularly Edison and Rosie’s niece Meridian. It’s hard to say too much more about why I love this story without giving away major plot points for both books, but if you’re looking for a Christmas holiday read that offers more than your average chicklit, you could do far worse.

Rosie Hopkins is looking forward to Christmas in the little Derbyshire village of Lipton, buried under a thick blanket of snow. Her sweetshop is festooned with striped candy canes, large tempting piles of Turkish Delight, crinkling selection boxes and happy, sticky children. She's going to be spending it with her boyfriend, Stephen, and her family, flying in from Australia. She can't wait.

But when a tragedy strikes at the heart of their little community, all of Rosie's plans for the future seem to be blown apart. Can she build a life in Lipton? And is what's best for the sweetshop also what's best for Rosie?

Treat yourself and your sweet-toothed friends to Jenny Colgan's heart-warming new novel. The irresistibly delicious recipes are guaranteed to get you into the festive spirit and will warm up your Christmas celebrations.


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