Title: The Wedding Cake Tree
Author: Melanie Hudson
Publication Date: 7 April 2015 (paperback version)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Can a mother’s secret past provide the answers for a daughter’s future?
Celebrity photographer Grace Buchanan has always known that, one day, she’d swap her manic day job for the peace and quiet of her beloved childhood cottage, St Christopher’s – she just didn’t expect it to be so soon. At the reading of her mother’s will, she’s shocked to learn that she hardly knew Rosamund at all, and that inheriting St Christopher’s hangs on one big – and very inconvenient – condition: Grace must drop everything for two weeks and travel the country with a mysterious stranger – war-weary Royal Marine, Alasdair Finn.
Caught in a brief but perfect moment in time, Grace and Alasdair walk in Rosamund’s footsteps and read her letters at each breathtaking new place. As Grace slowly uncovers the truth about her mother’s incredible life story, Alasdair and Grace can’t help but question their own futures.
Will Rosamund’s madcap scheme go to plan or will events take an unexpected turn? An emotional, fun-filled and adventurous journey of a lifetime.
Thank you to Choc Lit for providing me with a copy of The Wedding Cake Tree for review purposes.
The Wedding Cake Treewas a bit of a surprise for me. From the title, I expected the book to be a fairly light hearted piece, yet it proved to be a poignant and heartfelt story. It is the tale of Grace and her adventures as she follows her deceased mother, Rosamund’s, footsteps on a journey to learn the truths that her mother had not had time to impart to Grace whilst still alive. The journey allows her to get to know and understand her mother, whilst also learning about her extended family.
Grace’s journey is guided by a bundle of letters, written by Rosamund just prior to her death, leaving Grace to each new place and explaining the significance of that place through Rosamund’s eyes. The letters are very honest and, to some degree, painful for Grace, yet they allow Grace to really hear her mother’s story and, along with the accompanying adventures, help Grace to grow into the person her mother knew she could be.
Having recently experienced a death in my family, I found this story to be very touching. We take it for granted that we know our parents and grandparents, yet in reality, a lot of us have only a snapshot of their life before us.
The Wedding Cake Tree evoked feelings of joy and sadness in me in equal measures. I thought that it was lovely that Grace has this journey to go on, following in her mother’s footsteps, in a way which brings her mother more to life for Grace. However, I also felt sadness at the realisation of how little we sometimes know about those we truly love.
The locations that Grace visits are well thought out and tie in perfectly with the development of the story. The author pays particular attention to the locations and paints colourful and vivid descriptions for the reader. This enabled me to join Grace and Alisdair on their journey, picturing in my mind’s eye the places that they were visiting.
There are a few twists throughout the story (something every good book should have!) which keeps the reader on their toes and stopped the tale from becoming too predictable.
The book is not only a mother/daughter tale of discovery, but also a charming romance cunningly instigated by the cunning Rosamund. The love interest, Alisdair, is a wonderful addition to the story, handsome, confident and supportive, making sure that Grace is able to fulfil her mother’s last wish. I spent the second half of the book hoping that theirs would be a happy ending.
There is quite a few mentions of the RAF in the book and I am assuming this is because the author is ex-military herself. This element was not overdone and tied in nicely with the overall story.
I found The Wedding Cake Tree to be a touching, charming and uplifting story, reminding us to enjoy life and to make sure that we don’t take our loved ones for granted. It has spurred me on to ask more questions of my parents, as even the smallest bit of information helps me to know them just that little bit better. It is beautifully written and a joy to read.
About the Author
Melanie Hudson was born in Yorkshire in 1971. Her earliest memory is of standing with her sullen brother on the street corner selling her dad’s surplus vegetables (imagine The Good Life in Barnsley and you’re more or less there). After running away to join the British armed forces in 1994, she experienced a career that took her around the world on some exciting adventures. In 2010 when she returned to civilian life to look after her young son, on a whim, she moved to Dubai where she found the time to write women’s fiction. She now lives on a nature reserve in Devon.