Book Review: The Sweetness of Liberty James by Janey Lewis (DNF)

The Sweetness of Liberty James by Janey LewisThe Sweetness of Liberty James: What it is about

From the publishers: “Sweet-natured Liberty believes the recipe for her own happiness is making others happy, and she sets about gathering the ingredients for the perfect life. She does well at school, makes glamorous friends and marries her university sweetheart Percy, the heir to the Radley Bank fortune. Now all that’s missing is the icing on the cake: a baby.

When a traumatic event changes everything, she finds herself on a journey to rediscover her love of food that takes her from Florence to the French Riviera and finally back home to the Sussex village of Littlehurst, with a crazy plan to open her own patisserie. With flirtatious Fred the blacksmith and the dark, brooding Edmund on her doorstep, will she finally find that elusive ingredient: love?”

The Sweetness of Liberty James: What I thought

Let’s start at the end: I never got there. I read about half of the book and then I’d had enough. The reason: the book is too nice. Everything goes well for Liberty, except near the beginning, when her marriage goes wrong. But other than that, she has everything going for her. She wants to set up her own café, and hey, her mother helps her out getting sorted, the café premises are easily found (and paid for by Liberty’s liberal savings). She finds a lovely house to live in, buys it without too many glitches and she has a whole community of friends and family and villagers to support her. It’s wonderful!

But with all that, Liberty didn’t need me, the reader, to root for her. It went all a bit too smoothly for her. So I was happy to let her loose to find her own way in life. I know she’ll get there! I really don’t have to worry about her, so I decided I wouldn’t and move on.

There were also certain things I didn’t understand, such as: what was the use of Liberty first losing her sense of smell and taste and later recovering it again (without much fanfare being made out of this great recovery), why did her husband take her to Florence, why did her childhood friend Savannah know absolutely nothing about Liberty’s current life even though their parents lived in the same village? Not everything in this book added up for me.

What I really liked about the book were the descriptions of the village and of Florence where she goes for a short holiday with her husband. The atmosphere is so well described, in both cases, it felt very much as if I was present myself.

I would have liked things to be a bit more difficult for Liberty so the story wasn’t quite so sweet. And had the book been around half the size it was, I’d happily read until the end.

Rating: DNF (Did Not Finish)

Number of pages: 512 (I read until page 240)

First published: 2014

I got this: from the publishers, The Book Guild, for review

Genre: contemporary fiction

About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

11 Responses to Book Review: The Sweetness of Liberty James by Janey Lewis (DNF)

  1. Leslie says:

    I enjoyed your review – probably more than I would enjoy the book! Too nice doesn’t do it for me either.

  2. Isi says:

    Great review, Judith! Well, now we know that Liberty lives happily somewhere for sure, we can pick up another book 😀

  3. Marie says:

    This all sounds a little bit sickly sweet – not one for me, I think. I think I would have been tempted to just skip ahead to the end to find out which man she ends up with!

  4. trish422 says:

    Without struggle, we have nothing. Love the review.

  5. Charlie says:

    What Trish said. Where’s the conflict?…

  6. Nish says:

    I guess the book lives up to the title, huh. I get where you are coming from, I don’t like overly sweet books either.

  7. This book sounds worth reading for the description of Florence! We adore Italy as well and setting up a cafe someplace sounds like a fun adventure. Cheers!

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