Guilty Pleasures and Smart Remarks

As you’ve read, I got a lot of great recommendations for light reading—which I am still pursuing as if my life depended upon it, because I’m pretty sure it does—and I truly enjoyed the first Jenny Colgan title I read, The Bookshop on the Corner. (Even though it was a mobile bookshop in a van, and not actually ever on a corner, as best I could tell. But, hey. I wasn’t the editor.)

But the second one, which I just finished—Little Beach Street Bakery—was … pretty silly. First, there’s a pet puffin. Yes, I’ll pause while you take that in. In the US and Canada private ownership of a puffin is illegal; in the UK—where the book is set—it’s illegal to trap them or rob nests, and that doesn’t happen in the book, so technically, I guess, this puffin thread of the story works (remember: possible, not probable) but—really? An uncaged puffin in the house (and it is) means, ahem, puffin poop in the house, as this hilarious piece reveals. That’s the reality of “pet” puffins.

The fictional puffin (a fledgling) is blown through a window into the house, breaking both the window and a wing in the process. It is nursed back to health and it and our protagonist bond. When it is healed, the puffin is released back into a wild puffin colony an hour’s drive away—but weeks later, the puffin finds its way back to our heroine! How sweet, right? I don’t believe a word of it.

(Also, I’m just philosophically opposed to the idea. Wild birds should be wild.)

There were some wild, unbelievable human characters too—hard to believe they were even able to keep themselves alive, since they were either epically emotionally damaged, rude, or just not particularly bright. And there’s head-hopping like you wouldn’t believe—a very unskillful POV altogether.

I could overlook that stuff but worst of all, there were two continuity errors that leapt off the page, and that’s what ultimately killed my enjoyment of Little Beach Street Bakery.

In one, our heroine’s phone rings, and her hands are covered in flour so she asks her bestie to answer it, and then some narrative is inserted, and by the time we get to the dialogue, it is worded in such a way that it’s implied she was the person making the call. (The incoming caller says, “Hi, what can I do for you?”)

In the second error, the love interest—who has run away (emotionally damaged, remember) and been gone for many weeks without calling or texting, until he and our heorine run into each other at a wedding—asks the heroine how her pet puffin (rolling my eyes) is doing now that it’s come back. But he couldn’t know this bit of information because the bird returned after he left. That one really bothered me.

For a second I felt like I should give this book the “How Did This Book Get Published?” treatment … but Now & Then was a special kind of awful that Colgan, with her happy characters and happy outcomes will just never reach (thank goodness!). So I’ll give her one more shot. Beach Street was written in 2015, Bookshop in 2016, and it was the better book, so I’ll try something recent. (That’s another red flag, of course: these books are coming out so fast* they couldn’t possibly be getting the editorial attention they deserve.)

I do realize I’m expecting too much, maybe, from my light reading. But Georgette Heyer’s editorial team didn’t make these sorts of mistakes. Just a thought.

* Starting in 2000 (when 1 was published), in subsequent years this is the number published: 2001 (2); 2003 (1); 2004 (2), 1 each in ’05–’07; 2008 (2); 2009 (1); 2010 (2); 2011 (1); 2012 (2); 2013 (2); 2014 (2); 2015 (2); 2 in 2016; 2017 (1). I’m not counting children’s books.


Tweet: I do realize I’m expecting too much, maybe, from my light reading. :)

Tweet: A pet puffin? An uncaged puffin in the house (and it is) means, ahem, puffin poop in the house. Just sayin’.

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  1. Well, I’ve had wild rabbits following the Pit Bulls into the house…and playing with them.

    No joke. Pits can be awfully nice, and rabbits very brave.

    • jamiechavez says:

      Oh, pitties can be soooo nice! I agree that animals often surprise us. But I’m not convinced about this puffin. :)

  2. Tiffany Walker says:

    A good read I just finished in a day and a half…The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson. The lead character was SO relatable for me and her ‘voice’ was spot on! Surprising to me as the author is a male. If you read it, would love to know what you think!

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