When Bee (short for Beatrix) gives in to temptation and steals a bun to lessen her hunger, she has no idea that this one action will change her life forever. The baker Mr Bouts takes pity on her and gives her a job helping out in the bakery and gradually she learns the art of making cakes and buns. What she also discovers is that she can transfer her emotions into what she is baking; if she is happy then the customers are happy, if she is angry then that emotion is carried over. Soon the bakery is asked to supply cakes and buns to the palace, especially for the Mage Joris who is guardian to the Princess Anika. But all is not well in the kingdom and Bee finds herself on a quest to discover what happened to Anika’s father as well as preventing Joris from taking over the throne.
This is a fantastic story for younger readers. It is set in a country that bears a marked resemblance to Holland, with its closeness to the sea and the fascination that Joris has for growing tulips, to the exclusion of everything else. The characters of Bee and Mr Bouts are well rounded and we actually feel involved with their lives. The plot itself is full of adventure as Bee, Anika and their friend Wil start out on their journey to find what happened to the missing king. Baking is very much a central part of this story and I found it difficult to accept that Bee does not know about such things as nutmeg, lemon and cinnamon: even though there are no trees in the country surely they could be imported from other countries. It is a story full of little twists and turns and is a very satisfactory read. I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to more by the author.