Am I the only one who always starts her summer break in a bookstore? I hope not. Otherwise my bank account might have a reason to call me slightly crazy. 🙂
As you can see, I bought quite a stash. Perfect to go on holidays, right? Wrong. Turns out I hadn’t thought about having to pack all these books which are quite heavy into my already overloaded suitcase. So come July 17th, I had to buy some more books. I mean you can’t go on holiday without having something to read, can you? This time thinking about the 23 kg weight limit of Swiss flights, I browsed Amazon for some good ebooks. And five of them just happened to be Jenny Oliver’s Cherry Pie Island Books. A good pick, it turned out, because they made for the perfect light plane read.
Before I start all the reviewing, let me give you a brief overview over what they are all about.
The Grand Reopening of Dandelion Cafe (Cherry Pie Island #1)
The first book follows Anna on her journey to reopening Dandelion Cafe that she inherited from her late father. She has to fight against all kinds of odds, one of them being her annoying brother and all the people who think that she can never get anything right. Throw into the mix a handsome millionaire neighbour and you have yourself a delicious summer read.
The Vintage Ice Cream Van Road Trip (Cherry Pie Island #2)
The second Cherry Pie Island book follows Anna’s friend Holly who is pregnant from a one-night romance with her childhood crush. Not ideal, right? Especially if said childhood crush is annoyingly stubborn and you are afraid of letting yourself fall in love. The fact that the book is mostly set in France also doesn’t do it any harm.
The Great Allotment Proposal (Cherry Pie Island #3)
The story of the islanders continues with Emily, Holly’s baby daddy’s sister, who is looking after Holly’s allotment garden while she is away. Being the ex-girlfriend of a famous movie star and having paparazzi constantly chase her, doesn’t make settling down in her childhood home and catching up with special Cherry Pie Island acquaintances very easy. And then there is Jack who lives on a boat on her property. He couldn’t care less about all the media fuzz and generally wants nothing to do with it. But somehow he ends up being the center of it all.
One Summer Night At The Ritz (Cherry Pie Island #4)
In the fourth book, we join our Cherry Pie Island friends again. This time to hear all about Jane’s story. I believe that the term Plain Jane about describes her. She is all about being prepared for everything and never standing out. All of that changes tough, when she spends one night at The Ritz with Mr. Blackwell. He might seem arrogant and conceited at first glance, but we soon find out that there is much more to him than just money and business.
Four Weddings and A White Christmas (Cherry Pie Island #5)
The fifth and final book introduces an altogether new character. Hannah has a little girl and has just recently started designing her own clothes. Word gets out and she ends up designing the wedding dresses for all of our four Cherry Pie Island women. Having a child, falling in love and taking risks isn’t exactly on her to do list. So when she gets to design all these dresses she is over the moon. If there just wouldn’t be Harry who is all about taking risks and never being tied to anyone.
So. This much about the content. If you want to know more details on what they are all about, I recommend you head over to Goodreads. I feel like their summaries are probably a bit more extensive than mine. 🙂
Moving on to reviewing time now. 🙂 But before I get into anything, I just want to say that I have recently fallen in love with Jenny Oliver’s writing when I read The Summer House by the Sea. So naturally, I was absolutely delighted to get stuck into these books. And although there were a few things that could have been better, I don’t regret buying them at all.
Now let’s get into what I loved about the books, starting with Jenny Oliver’s writing style. As you might already know, I absolutely love the way Jenny Oliver tells a story. She has a way of grabbing the reader from the first page and not letting them go again. It’s like she welcomes you into this very special world and lets you be a part of the story. What is more, she knows how to write a cafe-related summer read. The books have absolutely everything you need in that relation. They have a bit of summery fun, a bit of romance, a lot of friendship and ever the slightest bit of drama. So all in all, perfect.
But. 🙂 As you might have already guessed, there is a but to come. While I enjoyed reading them on the plane, at the gas station, during the five minutes of waiting for my boyfriend in order to go wash the dishes (something you have to do on a campground :)), I wouldn’t say that these books are for long intense reading sessions. For that they lack depth. And then there was the hole story of Enid and Martha’s father. I don’t want to spoil anything. And to be honest, I couldn’t tell you much about it anyway, as I skipped pretty much all of these parts. Maybe they would’ve provided the depth that I was missing. I don’t know. I’m just not a big fan of an entire side-story that seems to have little to do with what’s actually going on. Plus, why are all of the Cherry Pie Island girls, except for Martha whom the story actually concerns, so into reading Enid’s diary? I just didn’t get that. It felt like big time snooping and kind of inappropriate. Did anyone else think that, or am I the only one? Let me know in the comments 🙂
The other thing that bothered me a bit although it was to be expected, is that starting with book 3, you have way too many people involved. All of the people from book 1 make an appearance in book 2 before they all go on to book 3 and so on. You get the idea, right? While this might make sense – they are friends after all – it makes it impossible for the main story to really develop. So in book 5, I felt like it was just a bringing together of all the characters while adding new ones. Somehow, it just didn’t work for me.
All of this said, I still think that this series was exactly what I needed for my holiday. Given that I only ever had little snippets of time where I had to hurry through a chapter, these light and easy to follow books were perfect. So if you are like me and don’t mind skipping a few pages every now and then, I think that you could enjoy reading this series. If not. Well, maybe just read the first three?
Having read six Jenny Oliver books already, I am now off to read my seventh: The Sunshine and Biscotti Club, personally recommended by the author herself. 🙂 Have you already read it? If not, why don’t you read it with me?