Today we are honored to be taking part in Jenny Oliver’s cover reveal for her second novel, The Vintage Summer Wedding. The cover is simply gorgeous and we absolutely love the vibrant summery colors. We definitely look forward to reading Jenny’s new book. The Vintage Wedding will be published by Carina UK on May 22nd.
A Vera Wang dress, a sophisticated London reception, and a guest list that reads like a society gossip column were all ingredients of Anna Whitehall’s perfect wedding-that-never-was…
Spending the summer uncovering hidden treasures in a vintage shop, Anna can still vividly remember both her childhood dreams; the first was that she’d become a Prima Ballerina, and dance on stage resplendent in a jewel-encrusted tutu. The second was that at her wedding she would walk down the aisle wearing a dress guaranteed to draw a collective gasp from the congregation!
Years ago Anna pirouetted out of her cosy hometown village in a whirl of ambition…but when both of those fairy-tale dreams came crashing down around her satin ballet shoes, she and fiancée Seb find themselves back, their wedding and careers postponed indefinitely…
Don’t they say that you can never go home again? Sometimes they don’t get it right… This one summer is showing Anna that your dreams have to grow up with you. And sometimes what you think you wanted is just the opposite of what makes you happy….
Pre-order your copy of ‘The Vintage Summer Wedding’ on amazon.co.uk
Find Jenny Oliver on twitter
“You are going to Paris.
I’m not going to Paris.
Yeah, you are. To bake with Henri Salernes.”
Rachel loves to cook. She doesn’t have many things in her life, but she has friends that love her very much. So, they sign her up for Paris’s next patisserie apprentice. She travels to Paris to prove herself that she is a star baker. And Henri Salernes is not nice guy at all. Among professional cooks, who step over other peple to achieve their goals, Rachel doesn’t have a chance. Or, maybe she does. Who knows? So, Rachel, ready, set, cook!
I immediately fell the connection with Rachel’s character. She is the girl next door that everyone loves. She loves children, so she works as a teacher. Rachel has always loved cooking because cooking is the only thing that connects her with her mother who died when Rachel was a child. Her mother owned a bakery, so Rachel spent her childhood helping her mom in the kitchen. Spending a week in the most romantic city in the world is a chance for a new beginning, making a dream come true, to open her mother’s bakery again, and maybe, just maybe, a chance for a kiss under the mistletoe. Among many professional cooks, Rachel feels helpless, but she is not a person who quits. Because there is always the memory of her mom’s words: “Just one more try hunny, just for me”. She would never step over other people to achieve her own ambitions. All she needs for winning the prize is to cook, and to believe in herself.
I must confess, I love Christmas and cooking. Christmas books with cooking patisseries make me hungry, really hungry. So here’s what I do: read a page, go to the kitchen :). I hope I won’t gain much weight till Christmas. I loved all those dishes mentioned in the book. I almost could smell the cinnamon cookies.
And Paris, awww, Paris. I loved Paris. I loved the way Rachel saw Paris. I could almost feel the city, like actually being there.
‘The Parisian Christmas Bake Off ‘ is a charming and warm read, one you will not be able to put down once you start reading. It’s a brilliant debut and I’m definitely gonna be on a watch out for Jenny’s next books.
My rating: 4.5/5
Find Jenny Oliver on twitter
Today’s guest on This Chick Reads is Jenny Oliver. We met lovely Jenny on twitter short before she launched her debut ‘The Parisian Christmas Bake Off’ and are thrilled to welcome her on our blog. Today she’s here to talk about what else, then Christmas:) Thank you for being with us Jenny, and guys stayed tuned. We’ll be reviewing ‘The Parisian Christmas Bake Off’ tomorrow. Off to you now Jenny.
To be honest, there were too many things that I want, and of course none that I really need, for me to reel off my shopping list of desires for this blog. But the question did make me think about the art of present buying.
For as long as I can remember a Christmas list has been required of me. My mum would tell us when it was needed by, and me and my sisters would set to work thinking of everything we’d seen in Toys R Us. But it’s hard writing a list! (NB. For point of this blog, spirit and essence of Christmas ruined by ruthless commercialism aside here.) And when we once just wrote ‘lots of nice things’ our lists were pretty quickly sent back our way.
On the lead up to Christmas I remember one of my sisters showing me the crumpled lists in my mum’s bag and we had to stop ourselves from peeking at what had been crossed off and what remained unticked. This sounds very unfestive, I know, but there was something really exciting about it – would we look, would we not? Over the years our lists became something of an art. I have a vague memory of actually laminating one of them and my sisters would elaborately decorate theirs or cut patterns in the edges. The lists went from vague – mine – to very specific – my oldest sister’s. And with the advent of computers hers became even more to the point with links and pictures to everything her heart desired. Similarly no longer were they on scraps of paper but A4 printouts or emailed to one another with annotations and additions for when nephews/ grandchildren were born. It’s a rigorous process but, without fail, everyone’s to this day still says ‘lots of nice things’ on the bottom of it.
It’s this sentence that I see almost as a challenge. In some sense, going ‘off-list’ feels like the only way to give a proper gift. The list itself, while clearly being what the person wants, could be seen to show what they don’t yet know that they want. And, perhaps, it’s the present buyer’s job to nail just what that is. This is where I straddle the two sides of the present buying population – the Listers and the Non-Listers. The people who think the list is a must to those who think it quite possibly the most hideous invention in the world (ignoring those, like my husband, who say that they don’t know what they want and just buy them a book. Who’s list, I have to confess when the call comes, I write for him.) I am torn, divided, split between a romantic ideal of skipping down a Victorian alley, all sorts of beautifully wrapped goodies clutched in my arms, and the much more practical option of not wasting any money on pointless presents and buying exactly what the recipient wants. So, after much internal debate, this year I am going to try to do both – go half off list and half on. I’ll buy one present I think they’ll like and one I have a website link to (including size, colour etc) and know they’ll like. But there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s the nicest thing seeing someone’s face when they unwrap something they weren’t expecting and truly seem to like it.
My friend though told me of another way, which goes someway to bridging the gap between the Listers and Non-Listers. A list she gave her husband a couple of Christmases ago that simply said things like: something that will make me smile, something that will make me cleverer, something that will make me feel sexy, something that will make me laugh. I have no idea whether it worked or not but the idea I thought was pretty lovely.
So, with that in mind, I would like things that make me smile for Christmas. Moments that are shared with all my family and make us laugh, food that tastes of everything festive and makes me feel happily fat, a frosty walk, a bit of rubbish TV, a ramshackle Christmas tree and, of course, lots of nice things.
Hope you all get something that makes you smile, too. Jen x
About Jenny Oliver
Jenny Oliver wrote her first book on holiday when she was ten years old. Illustrated with cut-out supermodels from her sister’s Vogue, it was an epic, sweeping love story not so loosely based on Dynasty.
Since then Jenny has gone on to get an English degree, a Masters, and a job in publishing that’s taught her what it takes to write a novel (without the help of the supermodels). She wrote The Parisian Christmas Bake Off on the beach in a sea-soaked, sand-covered notebook. This time the inspiration was her addiction to macaroons, the belief she can cook them and an all-consuming love of Christmas. When the decorations go up in October, that’s fine with her! Follow her on Twitter @JenOliverBooks