Baking fanatic, Charlie Quilter, is surprised when her late uncle bequeaths his vintage bus to her in his will. Keen to give the bus a new lease of life, Charlie thinks it will be the perfect mobile café for afternoon tea, and when her friend, Juliette, suggests Charlie comes to stay with her in the picturesque Cornish village of Porthgolow, she’s thrilled at the chance of a new start.
Charlie and her cute dog, Marmite, make new friends wherever their bus stops – except for the sexy but reclusive owner of the posh spa up on the hill, Daniel Harper, who isn’t very pleased that her bus is parked outside his lovely hotel.
Has Charlie’s Cornish dream developed a soggy bottom? Or can she convince Daniel that her bus could be the start of something wonderful for the little village – and for them?
I can never wait to get my hands on a new Cressida McLaughlin book. Over the short time she has been writing, she has quickly become one of my favourite authors when I am looking for a sweet, feel good romance with a dash of humour and some really relatable characters and her books are ones I always dive straight in to as soon as they arrive. The Cornish Cream Tea Bus, her fifth full-length novel, has not let me down, in fact I think it might be her best book yet.
The books follows the adventures of Charlie, left an old bus by her beloved Uncle Hal, and she feels like she needs to make the most of it to honour his memory. Charlie is at a crossroads, having just been through a nasty break-up, as well as her bereavement, and she seizes on this as an opportunity to shake her life up. A summer spent in the Cornish village where her best friend lives, deciding what to do with the old bus, seems just what she needs.
Of course, the path of life… and love… never did run smooth and Charlie has to face practical obstacles, difficult villagers, natural disasters, and an unwelcome love triangle as she navigates her way to a new life, all against the picture-perfect backdrop of a quaint, but a bit tired, Cornish village. So far, maybe not so unusual, so what makes this book stand out from similar books in the genre?
There is a very simple answer to this question, it is the warmth and skill in Cressida’s writing. She is someone who has a very recognisable voice and style, I would recognise one of her books if it were sent to me under a plain cover, and I absolutely love it. Her lovely personality and upbeat attitude shines through in the writing and oozes into her characters, so you can’t help but warm to them and want them to get their happy ever after. Her heroines are always approachable but feisty and go-getting, not damsel in distress types waiting to be rescued, and this is something I can totally get behind in a romantic heroine.
Of course, characters are no fun if they are perfect, so it is reassuring to see that some flaws are included, in Charlie’s case, jumping to conclusions based on flimsy evidence and acting on impulse are the main things that cause her issues. Part of the joy of the story is watching the characters recognise their weaknesses and trying to overcome them, even if sometimes they are a slow study. The book also has a host of interesting supporting characters to shore up the main story arc, including the obligatory adorable pet with personality. All the ingredients for a cracking escapist novel are here.
This book took me on a trip to a fabulous, escapist location, introduced me to some characters that quickly became friends, and led me on a journey through a light-hearted romance that gave me all the feels and left me feeling warmed and satisfied by the end. It is the ideal read for this transitional season, as summer slowly eases into the chill of autumn and, if you have never picked up a book by Cress before, do yourself a favour and get this as soon as you can. I promise you will quickly become a big fan.
The Cornish Cream Tea Bus is out now and you can buy a copy here.
About the Author
Cressy was born in South East London surrounded by books and with a cat named after Lawrence of Arabia. She studied English at the University of East Anglia and now lives in Norwich with her husband David.
Cressy’s favourite things – other than writing – include terrifying ghost stories, lava lamps and romantic heroes, though not necessarily at the same time. (Though perhaps a good starting point for a story . . ?)
When she isn’t writing, Cressy spends her spare time reading, returning to London or exploring the beautiful and romantic Norfolk coastline.
Connect with Cressida:
Facebook: Cressida McLaughlin