The Beachside Sweet Shop – Karen Clarke

Marnie is determined to get away from the village she grew up in. Trouble is there is a lot that is keeping her there.

Her grandmother Celia, having fallen and broken a leg needs looking after.

Her best friend Beth, soon to have a baby.

Her grandfather’s inheritance  – the sweet shop of the title.

Despite all of this Marnie is determined to get away. Others think differently.

When The Beachside Sweet Shop wins a local business award and is then thrust into a debate that sugar is poison, it seems that Marnie cannot leave her grandfather’s shop until she has preserved his legacy.

The task is going to be harder than she first thought, when she has to deal with protests, graffiti and some failed attempts at sugar-free sweets.

Marnie is rather indecisive and I was rather frustrated by her as a character, however the humour she had with her grandmother, beth and Josh the shop helper made her slightly more warm and friendly as the book went on. Though I did wonder why she just did not leave – she seemed to be so determined to prove that life in Shipley on the Jurassic Coast was the end of life for her.

Beth was fantastically funny as she waddled around helping Marnie in the shop, writing her thesis on Katherine Parr and incubating the baby that she was convinced was going to kill her.

Josh who arrives in Marnie’s life and into the sweet shop just at the right time, seems to be the answer to her prayers in sorting out the future of the shop. Trouble is he is rather evasive as to his surname, his address and even his bank details for his wages. Josh has a kind heart and they worked well as a team i the shop, but it was not meant to be because Marnie was determined to leave.

As events take a different turn, Celia gets better, Beth goes into labour, Marnie’s mother reappears, as does her ex boyfriend, it seems that Marnie needs to start listening to those that care about her.

The book lacked a bit of substance on occasions, to make it an excellent read for me. The animosity between Beth’s husband and Marnie, perhaps needed to have been set up differently from the beginning so at least we were aware there was a background to it as opposed to this automatic dislike he had of Marnie. More background on Isabella Sinclair would have given her campaign against the sweet shop more reality than it was shown as. It was these areas that I think the book began to lack reality as if the reasons for their behaviour only came to the author as the book was written.

However, despite my observations it is an entertaining read and makes your mouth water with the thought of all those delicious sweets that we all remember from our childhood, the author painted the picture of the sweet shop well to hold my attention.

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for allowing me the opportunity to read this book. 

The Beachside Sweet Shop is out on 2 March