When newly heartbroken, michelin-starred chef Millie Harper is offered a job overseeing the setup of The Paradise Cookery School she jumps at the opportunity. Leaving London and her memories of heartbreak behind she hops on a plane to the hilltop cocoa plantation in St Lucia.
But this beautiful island break might be more work than she’d expected…. With only two weeks to have the kitchen installed, cocoa pods going missing from the plantation and the notoriously relaxed island workmen to contend with, she’s going to need some help. Gruff but charming estate manager Zach Baxter, is only too happy to offer his opinions. As the two clash heads can they remain focussed on the job in hand and get the cookery school finished in time?
What I Thought:
It seems an odd time of year to be reading a book set in the Caribbean, but I guess with the snow outside a burst of sunshine is most welcome! Sunshine and Secrets begins as Millie Harper has fled a failed romance and her dream job to live quietly as a pastry chef. Her sister is having none of this and manages to get her a job testing recipes for a new celebrity cookery school on a cocoa plantation in St Lucia – despite many reservations, Millie agrees.
From then on, this book is a whirlwind of exotic locations and descriptions of spices that you can almost taste, and a lovable cast of characters who both inspire and infuriate Millie in equal measure. From beach bums to love-sick gap year students, there is definitely a character that everyone will love, in addition to a sneakily included mystery plot that will keep you guessing.
Alongside the romantic storyline, I loved the foodie aspects of this book. There are lots of descriptions of the recipes Millie is testing, and traditional St Lucian food, plus in the scenes where Millie is cooking or baking, and when she explores the market, you can almost see and smell the spices and cocoa – definitely mouth-watering!
Ultimately, this book is just good fun and it would be a great addition to your summer reading pile – but whatever the weather, it’s guaranteed to bring a bit of sunshine into your day.
I was lucky enough to be asked to host a guest post by Daisy James on a blog tour supporting the release of Sunshine and Secrets, so check back on 26th March to read that.
Please note: I received a copy of this book through Netgalley to participate in the blog tour. All opinions are, as ever, my own.