This weekend long-awaited excerpts of Celebrate appeared in the Mail on Sunday’s YOU mag. And although it pains us to say it – we really don’t like the idea of anyone getting a book deal because they are already famous – we have to admit we are tempted to buy it ourselves…
As Pippa says herself in the preview, “It’s a bit startling to achieve global recognition (if that’s the right word) before the age of thirty, on account of your sister, your brother-in-law and your bottom.” But of course despite that Pippa does have true credentials to write such a book. After all the family business is Party Pieces – a website started by her parents where you can buy anything for a do – and for a long time she was writing many of the feel-good blogs on that website. So truthfully, despite criticism that she gained a book deal because of her Royal credentials, writing such a book was a natural progression.
And undeniably, judging from these extracts, not only does Pippa come over very naturally and down-to earth, without airs and graces, but it truly is a feel-good book. It is the sort of glossy book you’ll put on the coffee table and when you need to switch off from the humdrum of life, dip into. The photos are stunning. And although my children are no longer small enough to be bothered with Halloween, I could easily be persuaded by this book to make a lollipop studded pumpkin or Witches Fingers Cheese Straws.
For where this book scores is its heavy emphasis on an inspirational lifestyle. It does take you into a world where the most important thing will be whether you will have enough doughnuts for your family and where your biggest issue is how to lay up the table. And in amongst all the misery, and the darker evenings drawing in, surely we all need some escapism in our lives.
Not only that, but it gives tiny glimpses into the Middleton’s family life. I am quite sure – as in all families, they’ve had their ups and downs – but there’s something fascinating about reading that the chocolate cake reminds the author of holidays in the Lake District when she was a child and a friend used to make it for them.
Here I must say there is nothing sensational about the recipes. Devil’s Food Cake looks like a pretty normal recipe for a chocolate cake – the sort of recipe you can google up any day – and likewise there’s also nothing different about the apple pies (except they are in their own individual pots) or the Toad in the Hole with onion gravy. BUT at the same time, having had a fill of Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson cook books – and their bundles of ingredients not to mention calories – it is also refreshing to find a book with some fairly simple recipes. I have therefore been reminded about Toad in the Hole – a supper dish I’d forgotten about for some reason.
The recipes are also cleverly interwoven with lifestyle photos – so for Autumn we have a group of friends drinking from mugs, sparklers, people in cosy scarves, and a roaring bonfire.
Clearly the book is carefully styled – Pippa comes over as unmade-up, family orientated, warm and friendly. As she explains herself, “Celebrate is structured around the seasonal cycle and focuses on tradition, ritual and rhythm.” So she begins with Autumn and the book - Celebrate: A Year of British Festivities for family and friends will go through the seasons and traditions. Excerpts next week in the YOU magazine supplement will be focusing on Sunday lunch, cosy supper ideas and traditional Highland tea.
So in a nutshell, although of course being related to the Duchess of Cambridge is hardly not going to help a book sell (it helps get you great publicity in a top supplement for a start), we believe this is the sort of book that especially at this time of year would sell well anyway.
Celebrate: A Year of British Festivities for Family and Friends , price £25, is published by Michael Joseph. It is available from Amazon.
Read the excerpts here: YOU magazine
Read more: Pippa Middleton gains a book deal
Do you agree with us? Will you be buying this book? Let us know your thoughts below…