“Polly Madassa is convinced she was born for a more romantic time. A time when Elizabeth Bennet and Anne of Green Gables walked along the moors and beaches of the beautiful land, a time where a distinguished gentleman called upon a lady of quality and true love was born in the locked eyes of two young lovers.
But alas, she was not.
This, however, does not stop our young heroine from finding romance wherever she can conjure it up. So while Polly is burdened with a summer job of delivering baked goods from her parents bakery (how quaint!) to the people in her small beach town, she finds a way to force…um…encourage romance to blossom. She is determined to bring lovers, young and old, together…whether they want to be or not.”
I'll be honest: how cute is that cover? If the lovely people over at Egmont USA had not sent me this to review, and I had seen it subsequently in a bookshop here in the UK, I would have nabbed it - on the cover and title alone.
But, as pretty as the cover is, it is of course the story that matters. Polly is a romantic at heart. She longs for people around her to be softly romantic and share deep meaningful glances. Real life isn't like that, unfortunately, but because she's twelve and only knows romance from the books that she reads and are obsessed with, this is all she has to reference to. So, in a bit of an Amelie-way, she goes about, doing her best to find romance for those people in her sphere of ken, with some truly amusing moments. She turns a blind eye to advice and decides to follow her very stubborn head, convinced that her way is the best way.
Polly's voice is fresh and very funny indeed - she speaks in overly flowery terms. I can just imagine her swanning about in floaty dresses, trailing ribbons, and swooning and dabbing delicately at her brow. It's painfully sweet and funny and mildly irritating because you know she's a clever kid, she's just too much of a dreamer.
Her family treat her as slightly eccentric, her sister thinks she's gone more than a bit mental and there is a bit of anymosity there, especially as her sister is having quite the romantic crisis of her own.
There are sections where Polly completely fails at keeping up her romantic parliance and in these instances the story becomes really funny. I got a good few belly laughs because of it. She's like a little actress playing the lady and then forgets she's really the chimney sweep's kid. She believes everyone has a true soul mate and decides to play (read "cause") matchmaker to a certain extent. But it's not malicious or very well thought out so she runs into a bit of trouble.
What Scones and Sensibility is, is a clever little book, aimed at the middle grade market (8 - 12) and it explores a young girl questioning what she reads in a book and what she sees in real life and sort of preferring the book version.
I enjoyed Scones and Sensibility but was worried that it may be a bit on the very sweet sad for some readers. I'm sure the younger folk would enjoy it though - Polly's character is great, and she shows the promise of growing up to be someone very smart and cool indeed. I do hope we get to revisit Polly in a few year's time to see how she's grown up. (hint hint to the author)
Thanks very much to Lindsey and to Egmont USA for my lovely book. We are hosting an interview on Monday with Lindsay - make sure to pop by, because I will be giving away a random "cake in a box" from my local supermarket. It may be cheesecake or brownies or even pancake batter! This is all in aid of celebrating the underlying theme of Scones & Sensibility: pastries and cakes are best when shared with someone you like.
This weekend I'll also do random postings of favourite cookie and cake recipes. Yes, you saw that correctly. Feel free to join in.