Aug 13, 2014

What Would Mary Berry Do? by Claire Sandy

Marie Dunwoody doesn't want for much in life. She has a lovely husband, three wonderful children, and a business of her own. Except, her cupcakes are crap. Her meringues are runny and her biscuits rock-hard. She cannot bake for toffee. Or, for that matter, make toffee.

Marie can't ignore the disappointed looks any more, or continue to be shamed by neighbour and nemesis, Lucy Gray. Lucy whips up perfect profiteroles with one hand, while ironing her bed sheets with the other. Marie's had enough: this is the year it all changes. She vows to follow - to the letter - recipes from the Queen of Baking and at all times ask 'What would Mary Berry do?'

Husband Robert has noticed that his boss takes crumb structure as seriously as budget sheets and so puts on the pinny: serious redundancies are on the horizon. Twins Rose and Iris are happy to eat all the half-baked mistakes that come their way, but big brother Angus is more distant than usual, as if something is troubling him. And there is no one as nosey as a matching pair of nine-year-old girls . . .

Marie starts to realise that the wise words of Mary Berry can help her with more than just a Victoria Sponge. But can Robert save the wobbling soufflé that is his career? And is Lucy's sweet demeanour hiding something secretly sour?


Marie has a busy and chaotic life and she's happy with it. She has a great family, she loves her husband and her three children very much. She works as a dentist, which is her dream job, and she has two great assistants. She isn't very good at baking though. When she needs to provide the showstopper at a school event she fails miserably with old store bought cakes. Her neighbor Lucy however is good at baking. She's pretty and immaculate plus she is calm and on top of things. She wants Marie to know how superior and perfect she is too. After the school event Marie decides this has been the last time. She has a copy of a Mary Berry book and decides to turn her life around. Meanwhile Marie's husband Robert is having trouble at work. He also tries to learn how to be more adept in the kitchen, so he can suck up to his boss with delicious rolls. Marie's twins, Iris and Rose, are usually up to no good and her son Angus is quiet and distant. Something is troubling him, but Marie has no idea what it is. Will baking help Marie to make improvements in her life? And will Mary's wisdom guide Marie when she has to solve several problems that are suddenly occurring?
When I saw the cover of What Would Mary Berry Do? I immediately wanted to read the book. I'm so glad I've received a copy of this novel via Netgalley. The story is as wonderful as the cover. Marie is such a great main character. She's honest and funny and she knows what her best and worst features are. I found the twins endearing. Angus is a great teenage boy. Marie and Robert's marriage is a great example and is quite realistic. The family across the street is very different, but they aren't as perfect as they want everyone to believe. What Would Mary Berry Do? is a story about friendship and perseverance. Marie is determined to learn how to bake and soon she's starting to love it. I liked reading about pies, sponges, icing and glaze, it was great. There's a lot of love in this book which is its strongest feature. The novel is both delicious and delightful and I enjoyed reading it very much!

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