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Thursday, 8 September 2016

What Would Mary Berry Do? by Claire Sandy

Marie Dunwoody doesn't want for much in life. She has a lovely husband, three wonderful children, and a business of her own. But 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 cuts and with redundancies on the horizon, he too puts on a pinny. 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?
This is a delicious feast of a funny novel, perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan and Allison Pearson.
**This is a work of fiction, in no way endorsed by Mary Berry, and where neither Mary Berry herself nor her recipes feature.**

:        What Would Mary Berry Do?
Author:    Claire Sandy
Published By: Pan
Date:        July 31st 2014
Link:        UK: Amazon   US: Amazon

My Review

This book is the ideal accompaniment to The Great British Bake Off and tells the story of how Mary Berry changed one woman's life for the better.

Marie Dunwoody is an overworked dentist and mum of three. Her story starts when on the day of the school fair her twin daughters announce that she is meant to be making a cake for it. But this is not just any old cake it is the 'showstopper' cake that they have volunteered her for.
A couple of hours later she is unpacking some boxes of fondant fancies to the dismay of parents and teachers and feeling like a failure especially when her neighbour and nemesis, the ever so perfect Lucy, turns up with an amazing cake creation which makes her look even worse.
Suddenly Marie spots a second hand Mary Berry recipe book for sale on one of the stalls and has an epiphany, from then on Mary becomes her mentor and Marie is determined to be a better cook and a better person. The trouble is her obsession with making the perfect cake takes over her life just at a time when her husband really needs her. The funny thing is she ends up fighting over the oven as her husband Robert begins to see himself as Paul Hollywood and is determined to impress his boss with his own culinary skills. Meanwhile the kids  feeling badly done to with all this home cooked fare are craving processed foods.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found it encapsulated the life of a busy working mum absolutely perfectly. Trying to juggle a job, husband, house, teenager and young twins is no mean feat and any mum will empathise with Marie.  Especially as we all know some mums like Lucy that seem to find it so easy and manage to keep a perfect home and never have a hair out of place. However sometimes appearances can be deceiving.

The Dunwoody's were real characters and I could really relate to Marie as a busy mum of three who had gone through the devastation of losing her mum.

The book was hilariously funny throughout with lots of laugh out loud moments, Marie's employees Lynda and Aileen were very comical and there were also some really tender moments between them and Marie.

Marie has a tough time as her husband's job is under fire and she is worried about becoming the breadwinner especially when a new state of the art dentist opens up across the road and begins to steal all of her patients. He might have all the high tech equipment but can he care for the patients as much as Marie and her team do?

I loved this book and if I had to describe it in two words they would be 'deliciously scrumptious.'

Book Angel x

About the Author

Claire Sandy lives in Surrey with a husband and a daughter and loves lots of things, such as baking, reading, writing, eating, chatting about matters of global importance with her nine year old, dressing up her dog and inventing new things to do with gin. She's worked at many things - advertising, radio jingles, a wool shop - and thanks her lucky stars that writing What Would Mary Berry Do? involved every single item on her list of loved things.

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