Loves, Lies and Lemon Cake by Sue Watson

'Putting up' with your husband is not a marriage and 'getting on with it' is not a life.

Title - Love, Lies and Lemon Cake
Author - Sue Watson
Publication Date - 27th June 2014
Publisher - Bookouture 
Format - eBook (Provided via NetGalley)
Pages - 290

The blurb

Faye Dobson has lost her sparkle. Living on film star fantasies and vague memories of a marriage that once was, she can't help feeling that life is passing her by. She dreams of being whisked to Paris for dinner, making three wishes at the Trevi fountain and having sex under the stars. But the wrinkles are multiplying, her husband's passion is for plumbing, and the nearest she'll get to Rome is a take-away pizza. 

So when Faye meets Dan the gorgeous Australian surfer guy working in the local deli she can't help but wonder what it would be like to see the world. He is blonde, tanned, ten years younger and bakes the most amazing lemon cake. Unlike her husband Dan actually listens to Faye, his smile makes her feel fizzy inside, and when he smiles... Oh. My. God. 

But is Faye being silly? What would Dan see in someone like her? Even if he did have feelings for her, could she give up everything to be with him? 

Becca's thoughts 

Firstly, I'd like to thank the fabulous publishers Bookouture for providing me with a digital copy of Love, Lies and Lemon Cake by Sue Watson in exchange for a fair and honest review. I'd also like to say thank you to the wonderful Sue Watson who is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors. Yet again, I am blown away by the sheer quality of her writing, and after reading Snow Angels, Secrets and Christmas Cake back in December (see my review here!), it was an absolute must that I found my way to Love, Lies and Lemon Cake as soon as I had the chance. 

Love, Lies and Lemon Cake was absolutely stunning, and trust me when I say that I'm not using the term lightly. It was evident in Snow Angels, Secrets and Christmas Cake that Sue was an artist with words, creating some of the most scrumptious descriptions I've come across, whether that be food, settings or her characters, and that truly remains in Love, Lies and Lemon Cake. Sue has such a gorgeous way with words, and I think I spent the majority of my time when reading the book unattractively salivating. It is these descriptions that whisked me away to the world within the pages. Every tiny thing was sprinkled with creative glitter, highlighting it and bringing whatever it was to the very front of my mind. Sue's writing style is effortlessly smooth and sleek, hypnotising almost, and it was incredibly easy for me to lose myself completely to the fictional world and people that I was being given. 

In Love, Lies and Lemon Cake Sue introduces us to her heroine Faye Dobson. From the get go, it was strikingly obvious that Faye was not happy with her life, including her marriage to plumber Craig, a grumpy man who seemed to touch dishwashers and washing machines with more passion than he could muster up for his wife. As Sue opens the story, we're provided with a glittering scene, involving Ryan Gosling and Faye, relaxing on a sunlounger, sipping a martini beside a shimmering pool with the iconic Hollywood sign viewable in the distance. What surprised me was how disappointed I felt on Faye's behalf when I realised that she was daydreaming in the bathtub! As Craig begins to hammer on the bathroom door, interrupting Faye's glorious fantasy, it's back to the stark, dreary reality of what Faye's life acutally consists of. Written in first person narrative, Faye tells all; about the times she attempted to woo Craig into the bedroom, about the huge amount of time they'd spend not saying a single word to each other, and she described how it had begun to feel like they were more like siblings, rather than a married couple, simply sharing a home and avoiding each other. I felt, on Faye's behalf, worn-out by the routine, angry and frustrated, and utterly bored with her circumstances. It was the same thing every single day. Sue did such an excellent job of setting the tone with the opening of Love, Lies and Lemon Cake. Not only was it downright dismal, but I knew that if it was going to be started in this way, then it could only get better, and I fizzed with excitement at the thought of where Sue would take Faye Dobson next!

The only way is up, babyyyyy!
As Faye's story progressed, it just got better and better and better. What began as a miserable existence quickly turned into something exciting and I couldn't have raced through the story faster, even if I had wanted to. Faye's circumstances completely took on a life of their own, and I was gripping my Kindle for dear life with my eagerness to continue onwards. What I adored about Faye as a character was that she had once been a young girl with dreams and wishes and hopes. At one point near the beginning of the book, Faye slips into her absent daughter's room, who's away at university, and pulls down a backpack that she'd once stuffed away up there, out of sight, out of mind. Within that bag were items from a time in Faye's life when the world was, quite simply, her oyster. Back then, she could have done anything. In fact, her younger self had made a list...

"My Living List
Learn to Ice Skate
Lose 10 lbs
Make a wish at the Trevi Fountain in Rome (then ride a pistachio-green Vespa through the streets.)
Swim naked in the ocean
Drink champagne on a New York roof garden
See a Santorini Sunset
Eat macarons in a Parisian tea shop
Be a bride
Be a mum

When Faye found this list and looked upon what she'd wished for all those years ago, it absolutely touched my heart. It was such an emotional, bitter-sweet moment, and I felt a huge ache in my chest on Faye's behalf, fictional character or not. All those hopes and plans, everything that she'd wanted to do and see... all gone to waste, and never to be ticked off that list. Faye's past with Craig had consisted of agreeing to marriage for their daughter's sake, Emma, and as Faye looked back upon that list, I could practically feel the regret simmering as Faye stroked her finger along the paper. Not regret regarding her daughter of course, it was clear that Emma was the best thing that had ever happened to Faye, but regret that she'd allowed herself to give up on that list so easily, had turned away from it without a backward glance and decided that it was too late to make those dreams happen. At this point, I couldn't take it. What I adored was how Sue made me sit back and think about my own life. Of course, I'm not as far into life as Faye had been, I don't have a husband or any children, but it made me more determined than ever to get out there and enjoy my life. As Faye talked me through everything that had happened in her past, how she truly felt deep down inside, I realised that I just couldn't allow something like that to happen to myself. Faye's narration was absolutely beautiful, bursting at the seams with wisdom and guidance, and so damn much of it was quote-worthy. In fact, it made me well up a few times, too. Argh, look at me, I've rambled far too much here!

Faye's life really takes a turn for the better when she steps into the new deli in the street and sets her eyes upon the guy behind the counter. Young, sun-kissed, and in his thirties, Dan, well-travelled and from the sandy shores of Australia, is everything that Faye had wanted to be. To me, Dan had appeared in Faye's life at the perfect moment, just when things were beginning to become unbearable back home. Surrounded by exotic food, pink hams and juicy olives, the deli, in my mind, became a sort of sanctuary for Faye, a place where, as soon as she stepped through the doors, she became a different woman entirely. In front of Dan she was no longer a frumpy mother with a miserable husband, but a beautiful woman, sexy and attractive, someone who others would find appealing to the eye. I adored this transformation in Faye. Dan, too, was just what Faye needed. Rather than ignoring her habit of verbal diarrhoea, Dan would laugh and joke and actually, truly, appear interested in what she had to say, which was a far cry from Craig back home, who ignored her constantly. Dan really brought out a side to Faye that I felt hadn't been unearthed since her teenage years, and it was breathtaking to read. I think, from the moment that Faye wandered into that deli, overwhelmed by the scents and sights, something magical happened, and Faye decided to turn her life around, before it became too late. 

As previously mentioned above, I do believe Sue Watson is a master of description. Everything that she writes makes me feel the same way that eating my favourite meal does, or sinking back into a hot, steamy bubble bath. It's indulgent, moreish, and so incredibly addictive that I completed Love, Lies and Lemon Cake in less than 24 hours. There was a strong, powerful message hidden within Sue's words. That no matter how old you are, nothing is impossible, and half of the time, it's your own fears and insecurities that hold you back from achieving your wildest dreams. Everything about this book was perfection. The settings, the circumstances, the dramas, the narrative... Faye Dobson was a woman who, if she hadn't have been fictional, I'd have loved to have her autograph and hear her tell her story over and over again. 

Becca's Books is rating Love, Lies and Lemon Cake by Sue Watson with five delicious cupcakes! I love this author. Absolutely, utterly adore her. I don't think Sue Watson is capable of disappointing me, and that's the truth. From the Curl Up and Dye salon where Faye works, all the way Santorini, this book is a must-read for everybody! 


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