I did not know when I first picked up a Jenny Colgan novel that she has written over 15 books, and apparently also writes under more than one pseudonym. I’ll admit that I was less inclined to take her work seriously when I discovered how prolific she is.
I know that’s not fair, and I can think of several authors offhand who have written more than that and whose work I take seriously. I think it was a combination of the profusion of novels combined with the sheer amount of pink that gave me somewhat low expectations.
I knew this was going to be chick-lit. There were numerous clues, including the short blurb from Sophie Kinsella on the cover. I was looking for something a little light and airy after the last few things I’ve read.
I would be hard-pressed to think of anything more light and airy than a paperback with an entirely pink cover, which is a story about a cupcake bakery, and which claims to be a novel with recipes.
The book did appear to be thicker than I typically expect from a chick-lit novel, but I didn’t give that too much thought. I figured it would be light reading, and that I would breeze through it. That was more or less the case.
“Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe” has a lot more depth and substance than I would have guessed, however. There are quite a few players in this story, and many of them are well fleshed-out.
The supporting characters aren’t just two-dimensional props for the lead. The reader gets to peek into each of their lives and thoughts, and their struggles are not trite or predictable. There is more complexity in this novel than is initially apparent.
There were times when I thought the author’s strong opinions came through rather transparently, and that could be a bit off-putting. Overall, however, it was a quite satisfying read.
I felt confident, given the genre, that it would all end happily, but I often found myself not at all certain just exactly how things would play out. I like that in a book. I like having my expectations surpassed, as well.
I don’t feel at all guilty for having read this. That’s an outcome I can’t always claim to have after reading chick-lit. It is cheeky, lighthearted, and a touch frisky, but it is also a book I can feel good about recommending to other ladies.
I have another of Ms. Colgan’s books checked out from the library. While I won’t be reading it right away, because I’ve learned that things get all muddled up when I do that, I am looking forward to it. If it’s as good as “Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe,” I will likely review that one, as well.