Debbie Johnson comes to the blog today with the third book in her Comfort Food Café, a story about changes, loss and finding new possibilities
Coming Home to the Comfort Food Café
It’s been nearly a year of changes for Zoe, losing her best (and only) friend to breast cancer and inheriting the guardianship of her sixteen year old daughter Martha, constantly put down by Martha’s grandparents and second-guessing her every move. With grief almost overwhelming her, constantly doubting her ability (and her sanity) at taking on the pseudo-parenting of Martha, and spending more hours sleepless than not, something has to give before she utterly fails at the one thing, from the one person who ever trusted or accepted her, Kate.
Martha is sorely feeling the loss of her mother, and with the usual teenaged ups and downs is a pretty miserable person to deal with –understandably, but still. When she snuck out yet again, was tossed from college, not doing her A-level work and generally taking every chance to pick the wrong choice, Zoe makes a decision and starts to plan for a six month getaway to somewhere new –where they both can get a fresh start. Zoe is all that Martha has for choices, Kate’s parents are too controlling and stifling, and Martha’s now basic teenaged acting out would surely escalate. And, with her father being a virtual stranger, and living half a world away, he was never an option, and never missed.
Off they go to a small coastal Dorset town – a cottage community of holiday lets becomes their home base – Zoe hoping for everything to turn around instantly, Martha sullen and reserved, declaring everything ‘boring’. But this may just be what they need – some wacky and wholly accepting people who open hearts and homes to the two of them, there for advice for Zoe, no judgment for Martha, and a surprising arrival.
Martha’s father Cal arrives to save the day (or the delivery) of the town’s newest resident during a knock-down storm, and while he is accepted and makes a place in the town, and starts to spend time with Martha, he’s clearly not trying to take over Zoe’s position. But ingrained self-doubts are hard to shake, and with Zoe’s only experience of acceptance and family coming from Kate and her constant defense, friendship and openness, the doubts Zoe carried that would wake her at night with panic-attacks, this chance to take away the one constant in her life for the last sixteen years is one thing she’s not sure she can trust. Until she sees she can, and starts to believe it, until ….
Johnson brought so much to play here: the little community, fully committed to accepting, pitching in and even jumping in to defend those who need it. Zoe’s own struggles for herself and her ‘parenting skills’ – convinced that she’s doing everything wrong, and the certain yet quiet support of another mum who can assure her that everyone gets it wrong sometimes, that everyone is simply punting and hoping for the best. The strength and honest support from Cal, Martha’s true ‘teen strop’ moments, and even the confrontation and reconciliation (of sorts) with Kate’s parents, a huge revelation from them all. An interesting place to be, full of, as Cheri says, people who were meant to be there.
Title: Coming Home to the Comfort Food Café
Author: Debbie Johnson
Series: Comfort Food Cafe #3
Genre: Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Family Saga, Romantic Elements, Setting: Britain
Published by: Harper Impulse
Published on: 9 October, 2018
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google
Welcome to the cosy Comfort Food Café, where there's kindness in every cup of hot chocolate and the menu is sprinkled with love and happiness…
When Zoe's best friend Kate dies of breast cancer, her whole world is turned upside down. Within hours, she goes from being the wacky neighbour who can barely keep a houseplant alive to a whole new world of responsibility when she realises she's guardian to Kate's 16-year-old daughter, Martha.
Moving to the little village of Budbury in the West Country, Zoe hopes the fresh Dorset sea breeze and the gentle pace of life will help them heal.
Luckily for them both, the friendly community at the Comfort Food Cafe provide listening ears, sage advice, shoulders to cry on, and some truly excellent carrot cake. And when Martha's enigmatic, absent father suddenly turns up, confusing not only Martha but Zoe too, the love and support of their new-found friends is the best present they could ask for…
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss 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: