Monday, 24 June 2019

Emma's Review: The Eclair Affair by Cressida McLaughlin (The Cornish Cream Tea Bus, Book 2)

Reviewed by Emma Crowley

Charlie’s unveils her signature bake…

Charlie and Marmite finally arrive in the picture-postcard Cornish village of Porthgolow in thier vintage Routemaster bus. Not everything is as it seems and Charlie’s friend, Juliette, tells her about the owner of the big hotel up on the hill who has managed to upset the locals. That doesn’t stop Charlie and Marmite making new friends and the bus finds a new lease of life as the perfect mobile café for afternoon tea. But what will Charlie make of the enigmatic Daniel Harper when they meet, and more to the point, what will he think about Charlie and her bus parked outside his lovely hotel?

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Many thanks to Harper Collins UK via NetGalley for my copy of The Cornish Cream Tea Bus:Part Two: The Éclair Affair to review and to Sharon for having my review on the blog.

Thankfully the time between finishing part one of Cressida McLaughlin's new series, The Cornish Cream Tea Bus, and being able to read part two The Éclair Affair was very brief. As soon as part two was available I couldn't wait to dive in and it didn't linger for long on my Kindle. Charlie Quilter is settling into her new surroundings in the Cornish coastal village of Porthgolow and we more or less pick up where the introductory part left off. I simply adored part one and the Éclair Affair was just as good.

We know a little bit about Charlie but I think there is still lots more to be revealed and her ambition and courage really shine through here. She is determined to continue the legacy of her Uncle Hal and to not let him down. She is a person that once she has made a promise, she really does stick to it and sees things right through to the bitter end. The focus on this part of the story was on establishing the Porthgolow Food Fest. One might think why had Charlie such energy and enthusiasm in getting Porthgolow back on the map? Well she could see its potential and like this reader she had fallen in love with the area and didn't wish to see it slowly fall apart due to lack of tourism.

Porthgolow is a special place and the way the author describes the village and the surrounding areas makes you instantly feel like you are there alongside Charlie and all the various characters she encounters. Charlie has her own personal issues to deal with but she views breathing new life into the village as being her main objective. If she can do this it will also help her with her own healing and she feels she will be doing good for the village which desperately needs the help even if there are a few unwilling residents. The village has become forlorn and unloved but it has plenty of potential.

Charlie's plan to revitalise the village really gets going and she is decisive and resolute that one way of going about this is establishing the Food Fest on the beach with lots of food trucks there with her pride and joy Gertie, the double decker route master she inherited, at its centre where she serves delicious cream teas as well as many other tempting treats. Given the title of each part features a pun to do with cakes, of course cakes and other goodies have to be mentioned and my mouth was watering whilst reading. SO much so I wish I could have attended the festival.

Nothing comes easy for Charlie and she doesn't want to let the village down so she persists in her quest and I admired her for this. She is a brilliantly written character with nothing but good intentions and when faced with opposition she finds ways to work around it. I also loved the simmering tension of romance bubbling away with her, it's almost like she has gotten herself in a little love triangle. This aspect of the storyline isn't the sole focus instead I think it balances nicely with her main goal of the festival. Oliver from The Marauding Mojito cocktail truck is calm, kind and a safe bet in my eyes. He was there in a supportive role for Charlie and they had a lovely friendship but was he the safe bet and was Charlie leading him to think things could develop into something more? As for Daniel who runs the luxury hotel nearby which everyone feels is threatening the village. People believe he is taking away the tourists and offering so much that they can't possibly compete.

Daniel really was an enigma. I don't think he ever revealed too much about himself but then saying that some of his actions in this story surprised me because he did things that wouldn't have been expected of him given his reputation. I loved the tension between himself and Charlie, they seemed to constantly rub each other up the wrong way but that was more to do with preconceived opinions of each other and the lack of communication and the willingness to work with instead of against each other. Compromise is a word that springs to mind and I think Charlie could apply this to both her personal and professional life. There were numerous humorous moments dotted through the story which added fun and laughter. Marmite, Charlie's Yorkipoo, just watch out for her antics.

All in all this was another fantastic read and one which I enjoyed very much. Charlie is facing many decisions when we leave her and she has to ask herself can she risk the possibility of her heart being broken again but as she always remember Uncle Hal saying 'live life to the full, you only get one chance' but what happens if she can't transform the village, will she cut the ties that bind her there and run? Part Three Scones Away will be with us in early July and I am eager to continue reading Charlie's story.

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