When Ellie Hall lands her dream job running the little teashop in the beautiful but crumbling Claverham Castle, it’s the perfect escape from her humdrum job in the city. Life is definitely on the rise as Ellie replaces spreadsheets for scones, and continues her Nanna’s brilliant baking legacy.
When Lord Henry, the stick-in-the-mud owner, threatens to burst her baking bubble with his old-fashioned ways, Ellie wonders if she might have bitten off more than she can chew. But cupcake by cupcake she wins the locals over, including teashop stalwart, Doris, and Ellie’s showstopping bakes look set to go down in castle history!
Now all that’s missing in Ellie’s life is a slice of romance - can Joe, the brooding estate manager, be the one to put the cherry on the top of Ellie’s dream?
Source: Blog Tour | Review Consideration | NetGalley Request | Purchase | Library
5 Words: Castle, tea, family, love, tradition.
I love tea. I love castles. I loved this book.
This book is set in the Northumbrian countryside, and the descriptions really bring it to life. I immediately recognised the castles that inspired Claverham, they were so vivid that I could smell the old stone and feel the chill. The colloquialisms and family dynamics only served to strengthen the setting (as well as the story) and provided this whole other element, giving the story extra depth and bringing the characters to life.
The descriptions of food in this book made me So. Hungry. Read this book with cake. I loved that the recipe for the Choffee cake was tucked away at the back, and it's easy enough that even I could manage it, and I take after my mother when it comes to baking. We are both serious fire risks when put in charge of batter and an oven.
I loved that as much as Ellie wanted to be prepared, she pretty much made everything up as she went along. I recognised myself in her, with her last-minute slap-dash actions, her unsuitable footware, her inability to say no to cider and pizza and cake and a decent cuppa. I saw myself in her long baths and piles of books, her attraction to the brooding Joe, her love/hate of the Northumbriand countryside.
I have to be honest - when I first heard about this book I did everything in my power to get my hands on an ARC. I read the descriptions and I just couldn't wait for it. And when I got a copy, I read it straight away (and stayed up into the early hours) and was just about to post my review when I saw that there was going to be a tour. I had so many questions and I enjoyed the book so much that I jumped straight on it.
Often I find that my initial excitement and anticipation for a book spoil it for me, because it's rare that the book will live up to it. But this book easily surpassed everything I imagined it could be, and it was magnificent.
Caroline Roberts on Castles
There’s a scene in “The Cosy Teashop in the Castle” where Joe takes Ellie for a country walk up to the top of the hill behind Claverham Castle.
"There you go. Just look around you.” He motioned to the 360-degree view; the hills on one side, the sea the other, and their castle down there in the valley below. It was stunning and she had to admit worth the effort of getting up there. “Right out on the coast that’s Bamburgh Castle and Holy Island.” He stood close behind her as he pointed out the landmarks. The view was amazing. She could smell the warm citrus of his aftershave.
This is inspired by a real hill in Northumberland called Ros Hill. To the west you can see the majestic expanse of the Cheviot Hills, and to the east you look out to the North Sea and along the coast. On a clear day you can see six castles from here!
|The author, Caroline Roberts, on Ros Hill|
In the valley below there is Chillingham Castle, a wonderful quirky castle that was my main inspiration for the setting of The Cosy Teashop, and to the opposite side, along the coast you will see: Lindisfarne Castle at Holy Island, the stunning Bamburgh Castle set right on the beach, further along, the ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle at the far end of Embleton Beach, slightly inland to the south is scenic Alnwick Castle, and then in the distance Warkworth Castle.
Northumberland really is so rich with historic and wonderfully scenic places. It has more castles than any other county in England. A legacy of its turbulent past, including the infamous Border wars which raged from the 14th to 16th centuries, Northumberland boasts over 70 castle sites!
All the castles I have mentioned above are open to visitors - check for times, especially in the winter months, as some are not open all year.
You could win a paperback copy of The Cosy Teashop in the Castle by Caroline Roberts. This giveaway is open internationally, so long as The Book Depository deliver to your country!