Review: 'The Christmas Cafe' by Amanda Prowse (2015)
Bea is fifty three, and she's just lost her husband after thirty years of marriage. To distract herself from grief, she throws herself into her work running the Reservoir Street Kitchen in one of Sydney's most fashionable districts.
But then an email from a cafe-owner in Edinburgh prompts her to take a trip to Scotland in the depths of winter. Her journey will be one of self-discovery, as she is drawn back to a secret past - and a secret love - that she has tried to forget.
Set between Sydney and Edinburgh at Christmas, this is a story of family ties, lost love, and the power of the past.
Over the last couple of years I've had the pleasure of reading and reviewing several of Amanda Prowse's novels such as 'Will You Remember Me?' (click here to read my review) and 'Three-and-a-Half Heartbeats' (click here to read my review). In December last year I read 'Christmas for One' (click here to read my review), which was a touching and simply stunning Christmas read, so I am really excited to have a new festive read by Amanda to dive into this year! 'The Christmas Cafe' was released by Head of Zeus and immediately caught my eye with its lovely cover. However, Amanda's name on the front is already enough reason for me to pick up the book, and I couldn't wait to get started on this latest one!
After 30 happy years of marriage, 53-year-old Bea Greenstock finds herself alone again after the death of her beloved husband Peter. Luckily, Bea has her own cafe in Sydney, the Reservoir Street Kitchen, to keep her busy, together with the troubles her teenage granddaughter Flora is having with her parents. When Bea is unexpectedly contacted via e-mail by a Scottish cafe owner, a new friendship develops and before she knows it she is on her way to Scotland; a quick trip to the other side of the world before Christmas, together with Flora. Yet this trip to Edinburgh ends up being much more to Bea than some special days spent with her granddaughter, especially when she is reminded of past times, including a past love she never quite managed to forget...
Another wonderful part of Amanda Prowse's 'No Greater Love' series, and a truly heartwarming and lovely festive read for this time of year. As with all of Amanda's novels, it was incredibly easy to warm to the female protagonist, Bea, and I already started the first chapter of the book with a few tears. As the story progressed, I was captivated by it and just wanted to continue reading to see what would happen to Bea and the other characters. I was intrigued by Flora, Bea's 13-year-old granddaughter who is having a difficult time, and loved reading about the characters at Bea's cafe, such as Nait, Kim, and Mr. Giraldi. There really is an interesting and warm group of characters at the centre of the book and there wasn't one of them I didn't like.
The book has a great setting, partly taking place in Sydney and partly in Edinburgh. Next to that, I just once again fell in love with Amanda Prowse's writing. It's so effortless and almost feels like wrapping a warm and comfortable blanket around yourself. In contrast to some of her other novels, which are quite heart-breaking and deal with serious issues, this book focuses on finding true love, that idea of a soulmate, and Amanda has once again turned it into something quite wonderful. Overall, 'The Christmas Cafe' is a great read for the festive season; a heart-warming, lovely, and simply stunning story that will undoubtedly leave you with a smile on your face.