Whilst recently browsing for a book to read on my holiday to Cornwall, I stumbled across this novel by Lucy Diamond. The premise of the novel already sounded right up my street, but when I read that it was based in Cornwall, I decided it would be the perfect read for my holiday.
Evie Flynn is in her early thirties, drifting through life with no definite plan or career ambitions. She is stumbling along with her boyfriend, Matthew, who is the complete opposite to her and tears his hair out at her lack of planning for the future. Her sisters are both settled with children, and take great amusement from Evie's failed career attempts. When her beloved aunt, Jo, dies in a car accident, Evie inherits her café on a beach in Cornwall. Despite her family willing her to sell the café, Evie believes it might give her some direction in life, and instead she decides to have a go at making the café a success......
From the beginning of this book, we know that Evie is described as the "Black Sheep" of the family, and she feels inferior to her sisters who share a close bond that Evie can't be part of because they are twins. This sets the theme of the book, and immediately gets us feeling empathy towards Evie who admittedly is a bit of a cliché being in her thirties and directionless, believing everyone else has the perfect life whilst she drifts from one temp job to another, trying to avoid the inevitability of doing her teaching course and settling down with her long term boyfriend who is dull as dishwater.
Evie's sisters are incredibly annoying, one more so than the other, but still, they did make me wonder why she hasn't just punched them in the face before now. Smug, superior, and relishing in Evie's failures, whether it be a failed career attempt, or something as minor as a bad haircut, they don't ever give Evie a break and it's no wonder she is feeling low on confidence when her aunt leaves her the café.
Once she finally takes the plunge and moves to Cornwall to attempt to run the café, the reader is on board and egging her on to make a go of things. Although she is a bit of a cliché, and in reality would never be capable of running a business due to complete lack of common sense, you can't help but like her as a character, and want to see the best possible outcome.
There is obviously a love interest for Evie, although I won't give too much away. It does have a bit of a hint of mystery around it, which adds a new dimension of interest to the book, and keeps it from being entirely predictable. Just mostly predictable instead. I have no issue with predictability when it comes to chick lit....if I want to be kept on the edge of my seat I'll read a thriller instead, so the fact you can see what's coming a mile off didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book.
I found this book to be a really enjoyable read. The characters are true to life, and we can all empathise with some aspects whether it's trying to impress or gain acceptance from family members, feeling stuck in a rut, or feeling directionless at an age we should have everything sussed. The best bit for me was the setting, as I was on holiday in Cornwall when I read this book and so this really helped me to bring the book to life by imagining the beaches and countryside the author was describing. Even the details such as the narrow country lanes they drive down and the difference between this and city life, were very well observed and a nice escape, whether on holiday or not. I did feel sometimes that the book was moving at quite a slow pace, as it was only around halfway through the book that Evie decides to move to Cornwall, which I was expecting to happen earlier after reading the blurb on the back of the book, but this didn't really pose a problem for me as I was enjoying the build up of getting to know the characters, and also the setting and scenery.
I would recommend this book if you enjoy a good chick lit novel with likeable characters and descriptive scenery which will transport you from your day to day life for a little while. If you hate predictability or clichéd characters, however, I'd advise giving this one a miss.
(Review also appears on Ciao under the username Gingerkitty)
Whilst I am waiting for some of my favourite authors to release their new books I have found myself reading a few books by authors I have not tried before. I have just finished The Beach Café by Lucy Diamond. I have seen books by Lucy Diamond on the shelves before but they have never seemed to stick out for me until I came across this one which once I had read the blurb I decided to give it a try.
Evie Flynn is in a relationship which doesn't seem to be going anywhere and is also stuck in a job which she hates. Evie is thrown a life line when she receives tragic news that her dear aunt Jo has died in a car crash but has left her precious beach café to Evie. This is an opportunity for Evie to make something of her life. Surely she can run her aunts café how hard can it be?
Evie soon finds out that running the café although enjoyable is hard work and she is missing her life back home will she be able to stick out running her Beach Café or will she decide to sell up and head back home?
I was looking for a summer read, as a few people have asked me to recommend a great holiday read and although I have read some great reads recently I have yet to find one that has been released this year which really gets me in the holiday mood! This was why this book took my eye as I was sure with the title The Beach Café it was sure to get me in the right mood.
I found that the book had a slow start but by chapter 5 the book started to pick up its pace and I really started to slip into the story. The remainder of the book continued at a comfortable pace. Personally I felt that we didn't need the first part of the book as the story really started for me when Evie arrived in Cornwall.
The main character in this book is Evie. Her character was easy to warm to from the start of the book. She seems to be stuck in a rut and is unsure of what to do about it. She is the black sheep of her family and her family always seem to be sitting waiting for her next failure to happen. It was great to see the determination in Evie to prove to her family that she can achieve something without failing miserably. As the reader we can see that Evie's relationship with Matthew is going nowhere and I was glad that the relationship was not drawn out to long as I think this would have dampened the storyline.
I really enjoyed the mix of characters in this book and the relationship between Evie and the other characters come across so well. I especially enjoyed the relationship between Evie and her chef Ed and Phoebe who was a teenage homeless girl who Evie reached out to. I thought I knew what the outcome of Phoebe was going to be but I was wrong! Although Evie was our main character we did learn about each of the other characters stories which made each of the characters feel more meaningful. I was glad that the book wasn't predictable other than the romance side of things in this book which is why I found it very hard to put this book down.
I thought the storyline was perfect and enjoyable. the story being based in Cornwall was a nice touch and made the book feel more realistic with it being set in a familiar place.
I would recommend this book as a holiday read although a word of warning put it in your hand luggage as the book is 489 pages long so will damage your luggage allowance! After reading this book I will keep my eyes open for future book releases by Lucy Diamond.
**ALSO ON MY BOOK BLOG http://reabookreview.blogspot.com/ **