‘There was no denying it, being cheerful was a challenge. You just had to be grateful for small mercies: a sunny day, a night without an air raid, an extra rasher of bacon from the butcher.’
England, 1942: 23-year-old Betty runs away from Bristol to make a new life for herself. Betrayed by her husband, Betty flees to the seaside town of Bournemouth, where she has fond memories of childhood holidays. There, she finds a small family bakery, in desperate need of a new shop girl…
At the Barton Bakery, Betty finds a sanctuary with shopkeeper Audrey Barton, but Audrey is fighting battles of her own. Her husband is at war and in grave danger, she is heavily pregnant, and her customers are horrified by the demands imposed by rationing.
Audrey’s stepsister Lily receives a letter from a man she once loved very much, a man she thought was lost to her forever. He offers her a new future with him, but one that will mean sacrificing so many of her hopes and dreams…
As Winston Churchill tells the country to ‘never give in’, the women of the Barton Bakery struggle on to keep their families, homes and loved ones safe in a time of turmoil.
I have read, reviewed and loved the first two books in the ‘Wartime Bakery’ and I was eagerly anticipating the third book in the series ‘Telegrams & Teacakes’. As soon as I could get my hands on a copy of the book, I started reading straight away. I was not to be disappointed as I loved it but more about that in a bit.
Audrey is the shopkeeper in charge of ‘Barton Bakery’. Her husband usually works alongside her but he has joined up and at the time of the story, Charlie (her husband) is fighting overseas for King & country. Audrey hasn’t heard from him in a while and naturally she is concerned for him and how he has taken the news that she is pregnant. The thought was that Audrey was unable to have children but a miracle happened and she found herself with child. Audrey is heavily pregnant but she shows no sign of slowing down and she works just as hard as she did pre pregnancy. She isn’t finding the pregnancy that easy and she displays worrying symptoms, but like the super trooper that she is, she doesn’t let on about these worrying symptoms to others. Audrey is a bit of a mother hen too and people know that if they are in need of a bit of advice, then Audrey is your woman. Audrey is kind, considerate, honest, easy to talk to and non judgemental. I did wonder at times if she was concerning herself with everybody else’s problems to take her mind off her own problems and prevent herself worrying about Charlie. The new major character is a lady called Betty. Betty is married but she has fled the marital home after discovering a shocking secret. Betty takes all of her husband’s savings (which I silently cheered) and takes off. Betty is fearful of what might happen to her if and when her husband tracks her down, so she is constantly looking over her shoulder. Betty creates a new life for herself with a new job, a new place to live and new friends but this is threatened when an old acquaintance recognises her and threatens her with telling her husband exactly where she lives unless she gives this acquaintance over half of her wages. What will happen to Audrey? Will she finally hear from Charlie? Will Betty be able to start afresh or is she destined to be dragged back to her old life?
This is one of those books that grabbed my attention from the start. I was used to the main characters and reading ‘Telegrams & Teacakes’ felt like reuniting with old friends. I was hooked on this book from the moment I picked it up and read the first paragraph. I was so gripped by the story and so desperate to find out what happened to my favourite characters, I just kept reading and reading. The more I read, the more I got into the story and the quicker the pages turned. Before long, I had finished the book which I was so disappointed about. I was enjoying the book so much that I just didn’t want the story to end.
The author has clearly done a heck of a lot of research into the Second World War. The author uses such powerful and vivid descriptions, that if I closed my eyes I could easily imagine that I had gone back in time to the Second World War, with all the bombing, the fear, the hope, the despair, the rationing and well you get the picture. I never knew my grandparents but reading a book such as this makes me feel closer to them and have a better understanding of what people went through during wartime.
By the time I had finished reading ‘Telegrams & Teacakes’, I did feel as though I had been through the emotional wringer. There were a few times when I felt as though I could easily burst into tears, I felt angry on behalf of certain characters, I felt despair, I sensed hope and well you get the picture.
To conclude I absolutely loved reading ‘Telegrams and Teacakes’ and it is a fine finish to the Wartime Bakery trilogy. However I am keeping everything crossed that we see more of Audrey, the Wartime Bakery and the rest of the characters in future books. There is so much scope for further books. I can’t wait to read further books written by Amy Miller. I would definitely recommend this author, her books and this series to other readers, but particularly to those fans of historical family sagas. The score on the Ginger Book Geek board is a well deserved 5* out of 5*.