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Estelle owns Cafe Crumb, and is struggling to make ends meet at the moment. When she spots the local bookshop closing its doors for the last time, she gets an idea - to run a book club all of her own in the cafe to help raise some money, and to indulge in her favourite passion too - reading. When 4 new members turn up, Estelle is unsure if she can make the club a success. But together with Gracie, Reggie, Rebecca and Sue, the foursome find that it isn't ordinary books that they want to read... it's erotic novels, but with a bit of a twist. Soon, the five members of the book club are allowing their lives to be more influenced by their reading material than they ever would have imagined...
Like I said, I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, but I certainly didn't expect the fantastic story that I would get completely hooked on. Yes, there is some sex in there, but they are well written and fit in well with the theme of the book, and don't get too graphic and involved so I imagine most people wouldn't mind reading them. In fact, they're few and far between so it isn't too in-your-face at all which is good for those readers who would rather avoid scenes of that nature in a book. It was the lives of these 5 very ordinary people which drew me in and kept me wanting to read more, and find out what was going to happen to them next. Estelle, the lady who held the group together as the café owner, was fantastic, a hard-working single mother to a teenage son, and someone who is sure she'll never find love again. As the book progresses, you hope for her that she will, and I really enjoyed reading Estelle's parts of the book.
Gracie was probably one of my favourites, along with Rebecca. Gracie is a librarian with strong feminist views, and a love of all things 1950's, and I loved how Hart described her gorgeous outfits, and her bold attitude and how she isn't afraid to speak up for her beliefs. Rebecca is a teacher, and quite newly married but is worried their private life has gone stale. Rebecca got really into reading the books, and it was fun to read her attitude change. Reggie was the only male of the group, and I loved that Hart wrote a man into the book, he certainly added a new perspective into it. Sue, a newly retired married woman, is in a slump. Her husband doesn't want to do anything except sit and watch telly, but Sue is eager to get out and explore the world. The books they read change their perspectives on so many things, and I liked that they read lots of different types of erotica, just not the new stuff that's out, and it certainly enlightened me on books I've never read before!
The pace of the book was fantastic, and I enjoyed everything that happened as it went along. The scenes in the café were great, and I wish there was a local little café like that I could go to, it sounds so friendly, and the cakes sound delicious! The book isn't afraid to explore the sadder side of relationships as well as the naughtier and more fun sides, and I felt like there were lots of ups and downs, but I hoped these characters would get their happy ending, and I have to say there were a few scenes that were quite moving for me! I really did enjoy this book and thought it was so much more than what I thought it would be, and makes me look forward to reading more books from Sophie Hart! It's got a cast of characters that I really got to know and love, and some interesting looks at different erotica novels too, and I found Sophie Hart's writing style to be so easy to read. It was a really enjoyable book that I can highly recommend, I loved it!
ISBN: 978-0007514946. Published by Avon on 6th June 2013. Pages: 400. RRP: £6.99. Also available as an eBook.
Thank you for reading, and to the publishers for sending me a copy to review for http://chicklitchloe.blogspot.com.