Two best friends. One big lie. The best bake off EVER. Bella Bradley is the queen of television baking – a national treasure. Her Christmas specials have been topping the ratings for years and her marriage to Peter ‘Silver Fox’ Bradley is the stuff of Hello magazine specials. But this year things are going to be different. For Amy Lane, Bella’s best friend from school, life hasn’t held quite the same sparkle. And when Amy’s husband walks out three weeks from Christmas, it seems their lives are further apart than ever. Amy has watched Bella’s rise to fame fondly, despite the fact Bella was always a terrible cook. But when she realises that Bella’s latest Christmas book is made up entirely of Amy’s mother’s recipes, the gloves are off… After winning a competition to appear on Bella’s TV show, Amy is going to make sure that for Bella and her viewers, this will definitely be a Christmas to remember… A hilarious, heart-breaking and feel good read about best friends, baking and the magic of Christmas.
When I first started Bella's Christmas Bake-Off, I ended up irritated at Amy. Yes, I understood that her husband had left her for a pole-dancer (not really) but to have it shoved in my face again and again actually drove me to distraction, but once Amy got Bella in her sights instead, and shut up about her not-worth-it husband, the book grew on me. Amy was very likeable, and her sparring with Bella was amazing. I love seeing two people go at it, with a bit of humour and wit and candour and it was amazing.
Not a lot of books feature homeless people, most likely because who wants to read about homeless people because generally it just makes you sad, doesn't it? But meeting the wonderful people at St Swithin's was great. It really made me remember that not everybody has the perfect Christmas, with a tree and festivities, some barely even have a roof over their head or a hot dinner. It was important to remember that, and I liked how Amy was so desperate to get the people at St Swithin's a Christmas they could remember.
The book had a bit of everything really, baking (who doesn't love baking, especially as Bake Off has now finished for this year boo!!), catty fights, good banter between two former friends, the message that Christmas is not always happiness and roses, and two completely opposite female characters. A particular highlight to me was Crimson, Bella's researcher. She was amazing. I really enjoyed the book. Sue's a great storyteller and I really enjoyed this festive tale!