{Book Review} Rosie Hopkins’ Sweet Shop of Dreams

Jenny Colgan’s new novel Rosie Hopkins’ Sweet Shop of Dreams is a refreshing light summer read full of childhood nostalgia for traditional sweets. I enjoyed reading the book and having my mind wander with the thought of a quiet country life and candy…oh, the candy! If you get through this novel without drooling or with a bag of candy sweets at your side you must have a lot more will power than I do!

I have to admit that I’m not actually old enough to have bought penny candy but I do remember visiting a few of these old fashioned “candy stores”  (don’t tell Jenny I said candy) as us Americans call them. My mom’s favorite are the sugar discs with powdery sherbet inside. They look like pastel communion wafers.

The novel centers around Rosie, who is thrust from her London life as a nurse to the small country town of Lipton in Derbyshire (don’t forget the English pronounce it as Darby) to help move her elderly great aunt to a nursing home and sell her defunct sweet shop. The novel flips between Rosie’s story and the memories of her great aunt Lilian from the years during the war.  The sweet shop sounds absolutely dreamy, “…like an old apothecary’s shop, the back three walls were lined with shelves that held great bulbous glass jars filled with every imaginable sweet: neat pastel chunks of Edinburgh rock; haphazard slabs of peanut brittle; bright green gobstoppers…”. Of course Rosie faces one nemesis over the course of the novel, a melodramatic dentist who proclaims at one point, “nobody cares about the infants dying in agony. From sweets”. Being a small town the arrival of Rosie is, “clearly some huge entertainment package on par with Sky plus”.

Each chapter is prefaced with an intro of an old fashioned sweet. Soor plooms, fudge, coconut ice, tablet, and Turkish delight to name a few. I enjoyed these little tid bits of information as I didn’t grow up in the UK so I wasn’t familiar with all the sweets talked about in the book. There is also a darling little map of Lipton at the front of the book to get you acquainted with the town as you read along.

I found that I easily finished the book over the span of two days. Any time I read a good book I get sad when I reach the end as there’s no more to read. My favorite quote from the book which sums up the plot and life in general, “life is like a bag of Revels. You never know what you’re going to get, and half of it you won’t like”.

I’ve got two sweet treats in the works! There’s still time to read along.

You Might Like: