Karen Clarke returns to the blog today with a new contemporary woman’s fiction, this one focusing on a life redirected and the struggle between dreams and the need to live up to expectations. Please read on for my review of
The Café at Seashell Cove
Cassie has returned home to Seashell Cove with a big secret, plenty of questions and a determination to reframe her life. She used the last bit of her trek from London to gather her thoughts – and surprises her parents in a topless clinch on the sofa. Aside from the “ick” factor – this scene gives a peek into the connection and affection her parents share: something she longs for. But – there’s more to Cassie’s return than she’s let on. Fired from a prestigious event management company in London, her life, despite the highlights she shared (and perhaps played up) with her parents was one long round of stress, struggles and ultimately, disappointment. Sure, she was good at her job, mostly, but she wasn’t in love with the work or even able to see the point most of the time. Now with that black mark on her resume, she’s going to find event management, and London, unwelcoming unless she has a list of proven successes to bring with her. Deciding that her parent’s little café is the perfect option to use her ‘help’ as she is determined to make her mark by planning evenings at the café with different themes: tastings, cat days, game nights, even comedy: all intended to bring in new customers and boost the bottom line.
From the start, Cassie’s character was difficult for me: the fact she was hiding so much from everyone, and her desperation to forge ahead with her plans, with no thought to anyone else’s wishes or desires. Sure, she means well, but her own tone-deafness to those around her just seemed to give her an extra dose of immaturity and cluelessness as to what she actually is accomplishing. Fortunately, Clarke manages to offset Cassie’s problematic moments with some wonderful characters: her Nan in the midst of a ‘back to nature clear-out’ is adorably quirky, her brother, now back in school with a new focus on life and moving forward, her parents: loving and so beautifully drawn and so determined that their children will not be “stuck” as they were. Lastly there are Cassie’s school friends and a leaving-year crush… her friends have been back in town with one leading walking tours when the mood strikes, the other engaged and splitting her work time between the bakery next door and her parent’s café: then there’s Danny, seeming to be everywhere and a dab hand at everything, much to Cassie’s discomfiture.
Round and round the story goes: Cassie is stuck on her own merry go round of secrets, ambitions, desires and dreads, and only manages to get off that ride when circumstances force her to adapt. From Danny putting her artwork on the café walls, to a liquor fueled confession and the offer of a “dream job” in London from the man she was just starting to date, the story kept me reading and wondering: for if ever there was a character that could invent difficulties for herself, Cassie is she. And it was interesting to see how Clarke managed to keep her sympathetic and show all of her reasons (even if arrived at wrongly) that kept her from being honest with her family and friends, and her own struggles with the word success, and just what that means. Clarke managed to make this story one of reframing a life with the help of family, friends and the potential of new romance: and give Cassie, even in her difficult moments, a future she deserved.
Title: The Café at Seashell Cove
Author: Karen Clarke
Genre: Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Humor elements, Setting: Britain, Small Town
Published by: Bookouture
Published on: 15 March, 2018
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Google
Welcome to the Café at Seashell Cove, where you’ll find irresistible home-baked cakes, smiling friendly faces – and maybe even a second chance at love…
When Cassie Maitland needs a holiday from her glamorous but stressful job in event management, she escapes home to gorgeous Seashell Cove, where her family’s cosy café sits perched on the cliffs above sparkling waves and golden sand.
But a lot has changed while Cassie’s been away: her parents have transformed their tired café into a welcoming haven, her friends Meg and Tilly have whole new lives, and old flame Danny’s twinkling eyes and winning smile make Cassie feel even more flustered than they used to.
Keen to throw herself back into local life, Cassie starts to run themed events – including a not entirely successful cat-café day, complete with dozens of felines. Luckily Danny is always around to lend a helping hand, and Cassie soon begins to wonder if her life in London was really all she made it out to be…
Could a new start in Seashell Cove be exactly what Cassie needs?
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: