Book review

The Gingerbread Girl by Sheila Newberry, Book Review

I do love a family saga, multi generational, war time story. Earlier this year I read Sheila Newberry’s The house at No. 5, it was the first time I read any book by her. Her story made me a fan of her writing and when she read my review and commented on it, I was super happy. Ever since I’ve been consciously looking for more books by Sheila and grabbed a couple off NetGalley. Needless to say I absolutely loved Haybales and Hollyhocks, and this one is simply heartwarming and inspiring.


Title: The Gingerbread Girl

Author: Sheila Newberry

Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre Publishing

Published: November 2016

Format reviewed: eBook

Rating: 4/5

Time period: 1930’s  


All she wanted was a home for Christmas

London, 1936

Ill and stuck in hospital at Christmas, seven year old Cora Kelly is excited to receive a visit from her mother, who brings her the gift of a gingerbread man. But little does Cora know that this will be the last time she sees her . . .

As Cora continues her recovery on a farm in the beautiful Norfolk countryside, tragedy strikes her family and she moves back to London with her new guardian, Eliza.

Here they live a happy, if simple, life. But, as the Second World War approaches, and the past comes knocking, everything changes.

Will Cora be able to escape the inevitable, or is she destined to repeat her parents’ mistakes?

For fans of Katie Flynn and Sheila Jeffries, The Gingerbread Girl is a heart-warming, festive novel from the Queen of family saga, Sheila Newberry. 

My thoughts

The Gingerbread Girl is the story of Cora Kelly; 15 years of Cora’s life from being desperately ill to finding her feet in the post war world and flourishing. The story starts with a 7 year old Cora, recovering in a hospital, away from her mother. Once out of the hospital instead of going home to her beloved mother, whom she is desperate to meet, Cora is met and whisked off to a new house by Eliza. Eliza is her mother’s close friend, co worker and someone who will have an important place in Cora’s future.

Back from the hospital, Cora recovers at Eliza’s aunt’s farm. At the farm Cora gains her health back, makes friends with the family and even experience the first rays of young love. In the next 15 years Cora grows into a strong, hard working young lady who experiences the joys, love, friendships, heartbreaks, sorrows and hardships in the midst of ww2.

Post war Cora goes through a personal transformation and soon we see her overcome odds, heartbreak and come into her own. She is strong, happy and resilient. She takes whatever life throws her way and manages to come out stronger, she learns to smile, cry and experience life to the fullest.

Like Cora, Eliza, her caretaker and later step mother, too is a strong character. She lives life as per her rules and gives life and happiness a chance, she doesn’t shy away from hardwork and doesn’t hesitate letting happiness in her life. Cora’s character is such a relatable, warm, full of strength and dignity that it was easy to root for her. I soon got invested and was wrapped up in her family life and war, surrounding the milestones of her life. At times I forgot I was in the 21st century and was happily taken back to the war time and the post war zealous, enthusiastic building of a society and personal lives. 

From a young child to a young working, happy woman of 22, Cora and her family manage to portray a well rounded family. A family that survives hardship, a war and still manages to find smiles, love and happiness in the relationships they form in their life times. A full of life story which will take you back to the early 20th century when war was at Europe’s doorstep and how people did their best. 

Book buy link: Kindle India 

The eBook is at a great price – ₹69 only, currently, last checked at the time of publishing this review, so download it soon as you can. 

About the author

Sheila Newberry’s has been writing stories from a very young age and while she is not on Social Media o manage to find some details about her on the Romance Novelist Association’s website here 

Reviewed by Bharti 

4 thoughts on “The Gingerbread Girl by Sheila Newberry, Book Review

  1. Dear Bee, I just read your comments again to gee me up with the latest writing! Did you know that The Gingerbread Girl has even surpassed Bicycles and Blackberries and how wonderful! Another best seller…
    If you would like to know about me and my life, I have written several shorter memoirs, published by Dales books. This is the order they should be read, Come You on Inside (I was a small evacuee in Suffolk during WW2) about my extended, somewhat eccentric family, followed by my personal favourite, Knee Deep in Plums, bringing up a large family in the Weald of Kent; then Dancing in the Street (schooldays, flying bombs, and VE night – plus a little of growing up and meeting my future husband… I was an enthusiastic member of the Woman’s Institute and wrote pantomimes for the village and school – appeared in them – liked the character parts! Later we moved to Devon, and I was asked for Seven Pounds of Potatoes please! and in Who Stirs the Porridge in the Pot, we had some hard times but – I never stopped writing.
    Now I have 22 grandchildren and 4 great grandsons, and a baby girl will join us in May…
    Love to you and the readers, Sheilax


  2. Bharti, you made my day with your review! So happy you loved Cora and her story…The next one coming up is Hot Pies on the Tramcar, and I hope you will enjoy Florence’s story too! After that you can look forward to The Punch and Judy Girl. I have a new book out in 2017, Taking Kathleen Home. That will be in hardback.
    Have you read Bicycles and Blackberries yet? That one reached No.1 !! It was published last May by Bonnier Zaffre.



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