The Christmas Cafe at Seashell Cove by Karen Clarke

The Christmas Cafe at Seashell Cove by Karen Clarke

Karen Clarke returns with the third book in her Seashell Cove series, a lovely little town on the English coast – all about three childhood friends reconnecting and moving into ‘adulthood’ in

The Christmas Café at Seashell Cove

This is Tilly’s story: Tilly the happy-go-lucky, drifting from one ‘thing’ to another with a flair for decoration. Tilly has always been different from her best friends Cassie and Meg: by the time she was born, her father was eminently successful, her sister was resentful of losing her place in the family, and Tilly didn’t experience the financial struggles her friends had. Now returned from her family’s relocation to Canada, and with her sister and toddler daughter back at home for ‘a break’, an extension on the Café that is to be opened for a party on Christmas Eve and a ‘boyfiend’ her first ‘adult relationship’ in her life – she’s got plenty to keep her busy. The work on the extension is backed up due to a burst pipe, and only a few days are left to get things done. Dating Rufus is making her increasingly uncomfortable, he’s demanding more commitment from her – and pushing her into uncomfortable situations. Her best friends Cassie and Meg are both ‘in love’ and happy- and her sister Bridget is busily applying all of her control freak tendencies to her two year old daughter Romy, while never missing an opportunity to snipe at Tilly and her ‘lack of”. Meanwhile, Tilly is completely obsessed with not breaking her promise to have the function room complete and ready for the party – even as she’s hitting roadblocks left and right, and isn’t completely comfortable with the brusqueness and manner of Gwen – now managing the café as Cassie’s parents are on holiday.

An escape walk along the beach leads to Tilly’s diving in the icy water to save a young boy who went in after his dog – an interesting first impression of good parenting from his father, the gorgeous Seth. A former Formula One driver, Seth has purchased a small cottage to live with his son as he tries to bond with the little boy who seems, to Tilly, cloaked in sadness. Seth is trying his best with his fear of rejection keeping him from pushing his son, Jack, into closer quarters. In the midst of a nasty custody battle with his mother, who uses his former career and his history with women after divorcing his son’s mother as a bludgeon – she’s judgmental, sharp, controlling and utterly intimidating Seth- as he’s desperately ceding ground in order to keep Jack with him. With his attraction to , and perceived debt for saving his son, Seth likes Tilly, and the feeling is mutual. But, aside from being kind and mostly happy, Tilly is also completely unselfish – thinking that Seth and her sister would be perfect together – and perhaps that would make things better between them.

Clarke does a lovely job of exploring difficult issues with characters who have long played background roles in their own lives. Tilly has the ability to bring laughter, peace and sunshine into the lives she touches, yet rarely thinks of her own desires. Everyone knows that they can rely on her for anything, as long as that anything doesn’t involve her finding just how marvelous she is. This is the book where Tilly learns just how strong, capable and important she is to both Seth, her sister and her friends – and along the way discovers some simple truths about herself: she won’t allow those she cares for to be hurt, and she’ll always go out of her way, in every situation to do what she thinks is best. When she dumps Rufus (far too long after he vandalized the function rooms of the café to ‘make a statement’, she’s more angry than hurt, and learned that her unease with Rufus is a complete contrast to the comfort she feels with Seth – even with his harridan of a mother lurking around every corner. With the multiple events planned for Christmas eve – from a wedding to a snogging to an announcement of a baby to come, the return of her niece’s father, her parents from holiday and new romance, the story is far more one of finding yourself and your happiness – and fits with the others in the series seamlessly, All the characters from earlier books are here, the atmosphere is Christmassy with treats from the bakery and heartfelt emotional moments making this a series and little town you want to exist in.


The Christmas Cafe at Seashell Cove by Karen Clarke

Title: The Christmas Cafe at Seashell Cove
Author: Karen Clarke
Series: Seashell Cove #3
Also in this series: The Café at Seashell Cove , The Bakery at Seashell Cove
Genre: British, Contemporary Romance, Holiday Themed, Humor elements, Setting: Britain, Small Town
Published by: Bookouture
ISBN: 9781786815873
Published on: 5 October, 2018
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 303
Rated: four-stars
Heat: One FlameHalf a Flame

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See this Title on Goodreads

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the café at Seashell Cove, where there’s hot chocolate to keep you warm – and the man of your dreams could be waiting…

Interior designer Tilly Campbell loves being carefree and single. But her latest job is redecorating the cosy local café for a Christmas party, and when her friends confess their plans for the big night – including a proposal, a declaration of love and a pregnancy announcement – Tilly starts to wonder if she might be missing out…

Transforming the café into a winter wonderland is more of a challenge than she thought, so when she bumps into gorgeous newcomer Seth, Tilly welcomes the distraction. Seth is a single father, struggling to settle his son Jack into their new cottage, and Tilly is determined to help them make their house into a home in time for Christmas.

But with the café still in chaos just days before the party it looks like it’s going to be a Christmas to remember for all the wrong reasons… With friends old and new relying on her, can Tilly save the Christmas party?

And could she finally find love waiting for her under the mistletoe?

A heart-warming, hilarious read about friendship, family and the meaning of Christmas. Perfect for fans of Sue Moorcroft, Holly Martin and Debbie Johnson!

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.


About Karen Clarke

After giving up her job as a library assistant, Karen Clarke now writes full-time. She’s had over 300 stories published in women’s magazines in the UK and abroad, and has written three paranormal romantic comedies, published by Little, Brown/Corsair. When she’s not writing she reads avidly, walks dogs at her local rescue centre, and is eagerly awaiting the next season of The Walking Dead. She lives in Buckinghamshire with her husband and three grown-up children.



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