The Cornish Cream Tea BusI downloaded this book from NetGalley a few days ago, and, worried that my review level was going to slip below 80%, popped it on my Kindle for my train journey down to and recovery from my Race to the Stones ultramarathon experience. And it was exactly right for that situation, a light and fun read but well-written and with a nice independent and resourceful heroine with good friends. And set in good old Cornwall, of course.

Charlie inherits a Routemaster bus from her beloved uncle: he used it for Cotswolds tours but she decides to combine it with her love of baking and create a mobile cafe. I really liked how it didn’t all go right for her immediately: she had to work hard and call in help, and still got stuck in mud and had a disaster at her first fair. It was more realistic to have the issues and not be able to sort them out herself immediately. She ends up on the North Cornwall coast, staying with friends (and taking her dog into their two-cat household: all pets are fine and never in any kind of peril – thank you for that, Cressida!), and then the novel kicks into what appears to be a current genre – regenerating a tired seaside town. Which is fine, as there’s loads of detail and substance and it doesn’t all happen overnight, and thought has gone into what happens when an incomer tries to make everything better.

There’s romance, of course, with a kind mobile cocktail man vying for Charlie’s attentions with the local bad guy, Daniel from that fancy spa up the hill. Of course there are misunderstandings and worries, there’s a strand about coercive control (not named as such) and gaslighting which I’m always pleased to find mentioned in a place where probably only women will look and might give someone some information they need. And there is a lot about the community and local families running their businesses as well as the romance stuff. Yes, the ending is a bit dramatic but the edge is taken off with some humour and all in all it’s a charming and attractive and very readable book, and I would definitely watch out for others by this author.

Thank you to HarperCollins publishers for providing me with a copy in return for an honest review.