Today I hand over to Mandie who has a review of Debbie Johnson’s Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe.
About the Book
The brand new book from bestselling author Debbie Johnson will make you laugh, make you cry, and make you raid the pantry in the middle of the night…
The Comfort Food Cafe is perched on a windswept clifftop at what feels like the edge of the world, serving up the most delicious cream teas; beautifully baked breads, and carefully crafted cupcakes. For tourists and locals alike, the ramshackle cafe overlooking the beach is a beacon of laughter, companionship, and security – a place like no other; a place that offers friendship as a daily special, and where a hearty welcome is always on the menu.
For widowed mum-of-two Laura Walker, the decision to uproot her teenaged children and make the trek from Manchester to Dorset for the summer isn’t one she takes lightly, and it’s certainly not winning her any awards from her kids, Nate and Lizzie. Even her own parents think she’s gone mad.
Her new job at the cafe, and the hilarious people she meets there, give Laura the chance she needs to make new friends; to learn to be herself again, and – just possibly – to learn to love again as well.
For her, the Comfort Food Cafe doesn’t just serve food – it serves a second chance to live her life to the full…
This is the first book in the Comfort Food Café series. In it we meet Laura Walker, who after losing her husband decided to up sticks and take her children Nate and Lizzie and Jimbo the dog off to Dorset in the hope that she can rebuild her life and give herself some purpose, whilst getting the kids to be kids again.
There are certainly some characters in amongst the residents of Budbury. The biggest of all has to be Cherie Moon the owner of the Café. You get the sense right from the start that she doesn’t follow normal conventions but she seems to hold the community together and treats each customer as though they are special, knowing all the exact likes of her “regulars”.
Laura is constantly full of self-doubt, never sure she has done the right thing but as time goes on and she becomes part of the community, she relaxes and starts to have fun. She even starts up a relationship with the local vet Matt.
I would have loved to have learnt more about the past of Edie May, a resident of Budbury pushing 90 who would often sit in the café just minding her own business. She would always take home a portion of food for her fiancé. You do get to find out he died in the war, but you can’t be sure if she does this just out of loneliness and a way to keep his memory alive or if there is something more.
Her daughter Lizzie seems intent on documenting every little thing on Instagram which causes some amusement for Laura’s sister but embarrassment for Laura. Nate manages to find the male role models he craves in Farmer Frank and Surfer Sam.
I can honestly say that I loved this book. I found myself laughing out loud at parts – let’s just say people need to be careful how they pack car roof boxes. There were also moments that made me want to cry but that’s because I am a big marshmallow when it comes to animals. One thing is certain that if the Comfort Food Café really existed then it is just the quirky sort of place I could see myself visiting… any place that has a doggy crèche gets a big thumbs up in my book. Debbie Johnson has managed to create a charming setting in Budbury and has somehow managed to make it seem very real and I am looking forward to reading all the books in the series to see what else I can find out about the characters.
With thanks to publishers Harper Impulse for providing a copy of the book for review via Netgalley. Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe is available now from the following retailers:
About the Author
Debbie Johnson is an award-winning author who lives and works in Liverpool, where she divides her time between writing, caring for a small tribe of children and animals, and not doing the housework. She writes romance, fantasy and crime – which is as confusing as it sounds!
Her best-selling books for HarperCollins include The Birthday That Changed Everything, Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe, Cold Feet at Christmas, Pippa’s Cornish Dream and Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Jumper. Debbie’s next title is The A-Z of Everything, released on April 20.
You can find her supernatural crime thriller, Fear No Evil, featuring Liverpool PI Jayne McCartney, on Amazon, published by Maze/Avon Books.
Debbie also writes urban fantasy, set in modern day Liverpool. Dark Vision and the follow-up Dark Touch are published by Del Rey UK, and earned her the title ‘a Liverpudlian Charlaine Harris’ from The Guardian.