What Would Mary Berry Do? by Claire Sandy ~ BLOG TOUR!

The perfect bake is no piece of cake.

Title - What Would Mary Berry Do? 
Author - Claire Sandy
Publisher - Pan Macmillan
Publication Date - July 31st 2014
Format - Paperback (Copy provided by Pan Macmillan)
Pages - 444

The blurb

Marie Dunwoody doesn't want for much in life. She has a lovely husband, three wonderful children, and business of her own. Except, her cupcakes are crap. Her meringues are runny and her biscuits rock-hard. She cannot bake for toffee. Or, for that matter, make toffee. 

Marie can't ignore the disappointed looks any more, or continue to be shamed by neighbour and nemesis, Lucy Gray. Lucy whips up perfect profiteroles with one hand, while ironing her bed sheets with the other. Marie's had enough: this is the year it all changes. She vows to follow - to the letter - recipes from the Queen of Baking and at all times ask 'What Would Mary Berry Do?'

Husband Robert has noticed that his boss takes crumb structure as seriously as budget sheets and so puts on the pinny: serious redundancies are on the horizon. Twins Rose and Iris are happy to eat all the half-baked mistakes that come their way, but big brother Angus is more distant than usual, as if something is troubling him. And there is no one as nosey as a matching pair of nine-year-old girls...

Marie starts to realise that the wise words of Mary Berry can help her with more than just a Victoria Sponge. But can Robert save the wobbling soufflé that is his career? And is Lucy's sweet demeanour hiding something secretly sour? 

Becca's thoughts

Wow, wow, wow. And wow some more. I absolutely devoured What Would Mary Berry Do? by Claire Sandy. It was brilliant, exciting, enjoyable and just so bloody tasty! All the perfect ingredients for a towering, pristine "show-stopper".

Firstly, I would like to say a massive thank you to the fabulous publishers Pan Macmillan for sending me my very own copy in the post. I was absolutely delighted when I found this delectable book inside the package. I knew as soon as I flipped it over in my hands that it would be my sort of book, and I was right! It had everything that I love in a proper, feel-good novel, from the gorgeous aspect of baking to the wholesome family feel, as well as comical drama, the notion of normal family life, and two cheeky twins that were always up to something. It was brilliant. I will admit that I am the complete opposite of a baking goddess, but after reading What Would Mary Berry Do?, I feel like tying an apron around myself and baking up something scrumptious. That's what this book will do to you! And, if it doesn't make you want to bake up a storm in the kitchen, then it will make you want to scoff a whole load of cake instead. Either way, the outcome will involve cake, and LOTS of it! ;)

The plot of What Would Mary Berry Do? takes place within one year. It begins at the School Fete in July, and ends at the same place once a year has been and gone. I absolutely loved this aspect of the novel, and Marie ends up back at the school fete, right where it all began, but with a whole load of baking experience tucked under her belt. Each chapter is titled with a month and the name of a cake that Marie Dunwoody bakes for whatever reason, and it just seemed so wholesome and exciting, experiencing each recipe for the first time alongside the main character Marie. 

Although written in third person and from Marie's point of view, there are a number of different characters involved in What Would Mary Berry Do?, as well as little extra aspects such as letters and emails etc. As well as these, there are Marie's family members too, such as the cheeky twins, her moody son Angus and her husband. Each character was fantastically brought to life with the authors words, and all played fabulous roles within the story itself. As well as the baking theme, Angus has his own personal problems going on, and the twins are always up to something, too, so your attention is always kept busy with either Marie herself, or her children. 

I've always found that the themes of baking and family go together extremely well. They make you feel safe and comforted, and a yummy cake never goes amiss either does it, folks? ;) From Victoria Sponge to Bunny-Rabbit Cake, this novel will have you wanting to reach for the spoon and mixing bowl, and get stuck in. Another delightful addition to the whole experience of reading this book was rather than numbered chapters, the author begins each new chapter with a month and the chosen cake that Marie Dunwoody conquers. From a complete baking newbie to a goddess of icing sugar and layers, and with the help of Mary Berry, Marie gets to it and puts her all into the cakes and treats that she bakes up. It was so wonderful to watch the woman school herself with a cookbook, and not only does Mary Berry train her in the art of baking, but Marie begins to use Mary Berry as a guide for her life, too. Magical, delicious and uplifting, I would recommend this novel to anyone and everyone. It is SO enjoyable, and you will bloody love it!

Becca's Books is giving What Would Mary Berry Do? by Claire Sandy a rather fitting FIVE CUPCAKES! Not only is this one hell of a baking storm, but you will fall under the spell of the cakes and the characters endlessly. Claire Sandy, what an absolute pleasure to be invited to read your novel. I feel incredibly privileged and honoured!



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