Thursday, August 25, 2011

Book Review: The Beach Cafe

By Becky Gulc
Ask anyone who has read the Get to know our associates! post; I do love to be beside the sea, even if it’s rainy England! "The Beach Cafe" by Lucy Diamond (aka Sue Mongredien) was therefore a natural choice to take on my summer holidays recently. I’d not read any of Lucy’s other books but knew if it involved a beach it would be difficult to disappoint me! I unashamedly put ‘beach’ into the search criteria on Amazon for this one after thoroughly enjoying both "The Beach Hut" by Veronica Henry and "The Beach House" by Jane Green on other holidays. I wasn’t disappointed.

The story revolves around Evie Flynn, a 32 year-old dreamer and drifter living in Oxford who’s always aspired to be something special, an actress maybe, but has never quite made it. Instead she finds herself ricocheting from one temp job to another. Evie has a difficult relationship with her family and is regularly made to feel inferior to her successful and settled older twin sisters. She is in a long-term relationship with Matthew, but they are opposites and not in a good way – it seems Evie’s bond with Matthew’s son Saul could be the only thing keeping them together.

When tragedy strikes and Evie’s beloved Aunt Jo dies in a car crash, Evie suddenly finds herself inheriting Jo’s beach cafe in Cornwall. The family expect Evie to sell up immediately, after all, what does she know about running a cafe? She doesn’t cook for a start. We see how Evie struggles to come to a decision; can she leave Matthew and Saul behind after so many years? Can she get the staff in place but remain in Oxford? It wouldn’t be much of a book if she stayed in Oxford, so we follow Evie as she embraces the highs and lows of getting the cafe back up and running and making it the place her Aunt would have been proud of.

I enjoyed the build-up to the permanent move to Cornwall, but it’s Cornwall where the book really kicks in and delivers pure escapism. There are so many great characters I think that’s what I really loved about it. The way different generations interact with each other in this book is lovely and it’s great how Evie manages to bring a wide-range of people together through her cafe and through the different people Evie employs to help build the cafe back up to be a success. All this and I’ve not mentioned a love interest! Yes there is one, and a lesson in there for anyone sat wondering what happened to that lovely gorgeous guy you kissed when you were a teenager on holiday. I enjoyed the love story interest but it was one of many elements of a great book for me, not the central part at all.

It’s hard for me to pick fault with this book as I really thought it was a perfect summer escapist read. I’ve never visited Cornwall, but I want to after reading this book. If I could find a cafe like this (that also lets dogs in...theme here) that would be a bonus!

More by Lucy Diamond:

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