Review: 'Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe' by Debbie Johnson (2016)
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.
But following the death of her beloved husband David two years earlier, Laura knows that it’s time to move on. To find a way to live without him, instead of just surviving. To find her new place in the world, and to fill the gap that he’s left in all their lives.
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…
I love Debbie Johnson; over the last two years or so she has really become one of my favourite chick lit authors and whenever a new novel of hers is about to be released I can't wait to get my hands on a copy. Luckily, the lovely people over at HarperImpulse are always willing to send me review copies of Debbie's work (you can check out my review of Debbie's previous book 'The Birthday That Changed Everything', by clicking here), so I was lucky enough to also receive a copy of Debbie's latest novel, 'Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe', which was released on May 1st. The lovely colourful and summery cover already made me smile and the blurb only made that smile bigger... I had my fingers crossed for a great read, but was secretly already sure Debbie wouldn't disappoint!
After losing her husband, Laura Walker, now a single mum of two teenagers, never really managed to pick up the pieces of her life, and how could she, after something so horrible? But she knows she has to at least give it a shot for Nate and Lizzie, her kids, so when she stumbles upon an advert for a summer job at a cafe near the beach, Laura applies. When Cherie, the owner of the Comfort Food Cafe, picks Laura for the job, Laura and her kids pack their bags and make the journey to spend a few weeks away from it all. But the Comfort Food Cafe isn't just your average place, as Laura soon discovers, and it has quite a few things in store for her and her children...
I think I mentioned before in one of my other reviews that I feel Debbie Johnson is just getting better and better with each novel, and 'Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe' definitely proves this; what a simply stunning read! I honestly loved everything about this book: the gorgeous setting, the idea of the Comfort Food Cafe, the storyline, the writing style, and, of course, the great characters. I easily warmed to protagonist Laura and her story made me both smile and shed a few tears every now and again. As with Debbie's previous works, there is also a fantastic group of secondary characters that I couldn't help but fall in love with as well. Debbie has the skill of adding numerous extra characters to her stories, but making sure you can remember all of their names, background stories and specific roles in the book with ease, which is a skill not every author has.
The book starts with a job advertisement and Laura's application letter, which I thought was a really inviting beginning that made me curious to read on. The story has quite an emotional side to it as well, showing how important it is to be brave and try to go on with life after a set-back, and I can only applaud Debbie for writing another amazing, warm, heartfelt novel which will make you laugh at times but also make you feel all kinds of other emotions. I, once again, couldn't get enough of the storyline, the characters, the comfortable writing style... If you're a chick lit fan and haven't picked up a Debbie Johnson novel yet, go and get one RIGHT now, because you're definitely missing out on something!