Review by Veronica

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Series Name: Little Beach Street Bakery, #4

“Marisa found she didn’t mind at all; having the computer connected to Italy was somehow rather nice, like she could just glance through a window and find her there.”

Marisa Rosso is having a difficult time getting over the death of her beloved grandfather, who lived in Italy. She can’t figure out why everyone else seems to be moving on with their lives, while she seems to be retreating further and further from hers. Hoping to find some peace and solitude, Marisa moves to the tiny island of Mount Polbearne. However, the solitude she is craving is interrupted by her VERY loud neighbour, who is a piano teacher and plays music all day and night. Life on a small island is not what Marisa expects. It always seems bustling with people (or a Puffin) and a community spirit that comes together during the tough times, especially when their beloved bakery needs help. Marisa doesn’t realize that she may be the right person to help save the bakery; all she has to do is believe in herself.  

Have I mentioned how much I adore Jenny Colgan’s books? Sunrise by the Sea is the latest installment in the Little Beach Street Bakery series, and it’s a delightful and charming read. It captured my attention right from the first chapter and had me on an emotional roller-coaster ride right to the last page. Jenny always manages to take her readers on a wonderful heartfelt journey. Along the way, readers always meet fabulous characters, see amazing sights, and read some delicious food talk that will leave you hungry for more.

In this book, readers are introduced to Marisa Rosso, who is struggling to get over her grandfather’s death; her anxiety has gotten so bad it has turned into agoraphobia. Marisa is such an endearing character and so easy to love. I think many of us can relate to how special grandparents are to our lives and how hard it is to lose them. Her relationship with her Nonno (who lives in Italy) made this book stand out for me. Marisa was never close to her Nonno growing up, and it was heartwarming watching as they started to create a closer relationship. Her Nonno reminds me a lot of my nanny, and I loved the scenes where they are cooking together via skype or when her Nonno is giving Marisa advice (especially advice on men) “You cook for a man, that means something. They are simple creatures”. Their relationship will have you smiling, laughing, and crying.

The food, oh the food talk in this book, was divine! The cooking scenes with Marisa and her Nonno left me wanting to get on a plane to Italy so that I could eat some fabulous Italian food. And of course, there are also plenty of scenes with Polly baking some mouth-watering bread. Jenny’s books should come with a warning “Reader Beware, you will have the urge to bake and eat lots and lots of food after reading this book.” Food also plays an important part in Jenny’s books and I think that is one of the reasons why I just love her books. 

Our favourite couple, Polly and Huckle, are back and have two adorable twins in this book, which made my heart so happy. Their two kiddos are delightful, funny and seem like they are quite the handful at times. This family is just so darn charming! But things are not all sunshine and happiness for Polly and Huckle; they are really struggling financially (a lighthouse is not a good investment financially, who knew) in this book. The bakery is still trying to recoup from the quarantine and deal with bigger and more destructive storms. Even though they were going through these hardships, their relationship remained strong and as sweet as ever.

I adore Marisa’s relationship with her neighbour Alexei. Their relationship would be a neighbour to lover trope (not sure if that trope exists, but it should if it doesn’t). Their romantic relationship does not take center stage in this book; Marisa’s relationship with her Nonno was the main focus. But there are plenty of moments between these neighbours turned lovers that will satisfy any true romantic.

This review wouldn’t be complete without a line or two about Neil. The scenes with Neil and Polly’s kids are so cute and made my heart melt! I can just see this slightly overweight Puffin fluttering around the twins with the sea in the background.

Sunrise by the Sea is a charming, heartfelt read that shows its readers the power of food, love, family, and community.