ShortBookandScribes #BookReview – Mrs Quinn’s Rise to Fame by Olivia Ford

Mrs Quinn’s Rise to Fame by Olivia Ford will be published by Penguin Michael Joseph on 28th March in hardcover, eBook and audiobook. My thanks to Jessie Beswick for the proof copy.

Mrs Quinn is the unlikely star of Britain’s favourite baking show, but could her newfound stardom cause her biggest secret to unravel?

Jennifer Quinn has a secret. Her love of baking has just won her a spot as a contestant on a primetime TV show. It’s only the second time in fifty-nine years that she’s kept something from her beloved husband Bernard.

She’s about to be whisked into an unfamiliar world of cameras, timed challenges and celebrity judges. She could be in with a chance of being crowned the best baker in Britain.

But, as Mrs Quinn’s quiet ambitions turn into unexpected stardom, the other secret she’s been keeping is in danger of resurfacing. It was supposed to stay hidden forever.

Will Mrs Quinn rise to the challenge? Or, will her success become a recipe for disaster?

Jennifer Quinn is 77 and she loves to bake. She bakes every day for herself and her husband of almost sixty years, and for family and friends. Desiring a challenge, she applies to go on Britain Bakes, a TV show very similar in format to a real well-known TV baking competition, and in doing so a secret she has held close to her heart for decades is in danger of being revealed.

There is so much I loved about this wonderful book. First of all, Jenny and Bernard = relationship goals. They are a devoted couple and my heart melted at their every interaction and the support they showed to each other, especially Bernard as Jenny throws herself into the competition.

Then there’s the contest itself which felt so very familiar but which offered a well-researched glimpse behind the scenes, showing the camaraderie between the contestants and the stress of getting the bakes right. My mouth was practically watering at all the delicious delectations such as treacle tart, blackcurrant and elderflower doughnuts, rhubarb and custard drizzle cakes, Eton……actually I’d better change the subject now! I really loved how Jenny poured so much love into her creations, how some of the recipes were handed down through her family and meant so much to her.

There’s a storyline from the past too, which eventually uncovers the secret Jenny has been keeping. Whilst it doesn’t overwhelm the present day narrative, it does fill in the background to Jenny’s life and leads to an ending that caused a tear to be shed and for me to close the book with a very satisfied ‘aah’.

I absolutely loved this splendid debut novel. It has a soothing and uplifting plot with the most delightful characters. Reading Mrs Quinn’s Rise to Fame is like settling down with your favourite comfort food because it brings so much pleasure and joy.

Olivia Ford has spent the last ten years in entertainment TV, most recently as a story producer. Olivia is a graduate of the Faber Academy where she wrote the beginnings of Mrs Quinn’s Rise to Fame, which was longlisted for the 2021 Women’s Prize Trust’s Discoveries Prize. Raised in Lincolnshire, Olivia now lives in London.


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