Karen Clarke returns to the blog today with the first in her newest series, this one set on an island off the western coast of France in
Escape to the Little French Café
Natalie has always wanted to be a writer: a journalist who writes ‘real’ stories that touch and entertain. But, after a breakup with her ex who, unlike with her, was marrying this one, she decided to move into the little house her father had just purchased after he and her mother separated. Having spent holidays on the island, and working as a freelancer gives Natalie plenty of freedom to work from anywhere, she’s navigating her father’s ‘attempts’ to start dating, showing her mum the house via video-chat during their frequent conversations, and desperately trying to land a job with a top-drawer magazine based in Paris, to no avail.
Fortunately her best friend Charlie – also an expat, is living above the café that his mum owns, and is always available for a chat, advice or even to hang out – the two having decided that they are better friends than anything more, much to Charlie’s mum’s disappointment. Yet, as familiar (and occasionally horrifying) as her life is with her father and his befuddlement with dating and his tragic style makeovers, they’ve also made good friends and have established themselves as members of the community, even as Natalie is always chasing the dream of writing for a major publication – and hoping that, in mentioning a connection to a famous if notably reclusive actor (they grew up in the same town) that it will open the door to a job and possibly gain her advice from that magazine’s top journo.
Oh this was fun – from Natalie practically rugby tackling Jay when she mistakes a movie scene for real life, the opera-singing, Austen reading bodyguard Simon, the despicable and wholly without ethics Fleur all are embroiled in the ultimate nightmare for a reclusive actor: the context of Natalie’s interview with Jay is shared by a waitress who just happens to be related to Fleur and desperate to become an actress leaves the news outlets clamoring for more. Poor Natalie – always with the best intentions and sharing information ONLY with those she thought she could trust puts her whole dream of exploring the chemistry she felt with Jay into the bin, as he wants nothing to do with her and Simon doesn’t seem any more interested in hearing what she has to say. It’s going to take a whole village (ok – the café regulars and her best friend Charlie) to get them face to face again, without interruptions and onto their own path of happy ever after….. Like all of Clarke’s books her characters bring the setting alive, and allow us moments of escape, camaraderie and even a few moments to wince at the embarrassing bits, always leading us to new friends and places that, if not visited in person, are just as wonderful to visit in a book.
Title: Escape to the Little French Café
Author: Karen Clarke
Series: The Little French Café #1
Also in this series: Summer at the Little French Café
Genre: Contemporary Woman's Fiction, France, Friendship, Humor elements, Romantic Elements, Setting: France, Small Town
Published by: Bookouture
Published on: 18 March, 2019
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Google
On the beautiful French coast lies the Café Belle Vie, a peaceful haven offering a warm welcome and delicious pains au chocolat – and where Natalie’s quiet life is about to be turned upside down…
When thirty-one-year-old Natalie Bright’s boyfriend dumps her and immediately gets engaged to his ex-girlfriend, she escapes her heartbreak and moves to the charming village of Chamillon on the Île de Ré.
She’s determined to build a new life there: writing about farmer’s markets for a local magazine, exploring the local vineyards on her bike, and taking advantage of the sunshine. And in the Café Belle Vie she finds a bustling community – including new best friend Charlie – and a near-constant supply of cakes.
All in all, things are looking pretty good.
So when a blast from the past – her teenage crush Jay Merino – suddenly turns up in Chamillon, Natalie’s thrown. She’s sworn off men ever since she moved to France, but she and Jay have a connection that stretches back years.
But could taking a chance on an old flame complete her new life – or ruin everything she’s worked so hard for?
A gorgeous story full of sunshine, croissants and sparkling romance! Perfect for fans of Debbie Johnson, Zara Stoneley and Debbie Macomber.
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.