Donna Ashcroft comes to the blog today with her Debut offering, a contemporary woman’s fiction full of growth, challenges and plenty of heart in
Summer at the Castle Café
Far less about the café and it’s workings, this is a story about finding yourself and accepting challenges that take you on a path to happiness. Alice has moved from London to Castle Cove after her mother’s death – a stopgap to clear out her house and find a tenant before heading to Thailand to spend time with her father. After her parent’s divorce six years back, Alice has buried herself in busywork, using her ocd tendencies to organize, arrange and make her way in the world. Riddled with guilt that she hadn’t spent more time with her very adventurous mother, she’s decided that competing in the local triathlon, a regular event for her mother, is a way to make up for the lost years and lack of adventure in her life. But, she needs to stay busy, and training won’t do that – so she works with Cath at the Castle Café – occupying the ground floor of a turret in Cove Castle.
Jay O’Donnell is a member of the lifeboats crew, a carpenter, and been in Castle Cove since childhood. He’s always been one who was ‘responsible’ and protected others from harm: even if they don’t want it. When he comes across Alice biking to work in stormy weather, without headlamps, he takes it upon himself to follow her and keep her from harm. Thus begins their back and forth, as both have walls up and secrets that keep them from actually trusting or engaging fully. Through challenges and rescues, Alice is convinced there’s more to Jay’s story than she knows, yet the seeming complicity to keep her in the dark is frustrating. Through struggles and growth, the attraction between the two cannot be denied, but Jay’s walls and pushing Alice further and further away become too much, and she heads off to Thailand, triathlon unfinished and weeks earlier than planned.
Throughout the story Alice’s ocd tendencies become less of a shortcoming for her and others, as people rely on her ‘quirks’ and organization – since most of it makes sense and their live easier. Fitting in comfortably with Cath, and welcomed (mostly) by the locals, there’s plenty of opportunity for Alice to grow and discover that adventure isn’t everything, and perhaps finding a place with friends, love and potential is all she needs. Clever plotting with issues that are large, but not insurmountable, Alice’s need to organize becomes less a disorder and more her personality – as she comes to lean that being busy isn’t actually solving anything, and perhaps thinking and talking things through are more important to her future and potential. A lovely debut that has me wanting more from Castle Cove just to see how everyone has fared.
Title: Summer at the Castle Café
Author: Donna Ashcroft
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Comedy
Published by: Bookouture
Published on: 11 May, 2018
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ Kobo ♦ Google
The cosy, crumbling Castle Café is a place like no other. With stunning views of the sparkling sea and sandy beaches, you’re guaranteed a warm welcome, delicious cake and plenty of laughter as soon as you step through the door...
When Alice Appleton escapes to the gorgeous seaside town of Castle Cove it’s the change of scenery she didn’t even realise she needed. Taking up a job in the charming Castle Café Alice finds herself surrounded by cream teas, chocolate cake and quirky characters. Could this be the perfect place for Alice to embrace the summer?
Mysterious and hunky Jay O’Donnell has lived in picturesque Castle Cove since he was a child. As a volunteer on the lifeboats, his days by the sea are far from predictable. Haunted by a tragedy from his past, he’s on a mission to save as many people as possible. But when Alice Appleton walks into his life - and turns his world upside down - he begins to realise that perhaps it might just be his turn to be rescued…
As Alice and Jay find themselves unexpectedly falling for each other, will they learn the importance of letting go to make way for second chances? And will Alice find the life she’s always dreamed of in Castle Cove?
Heart-warming, hilarious and utterly romantic, you’ll fall in love with Summer at the Castle Café and want to return time and time again. The perfect read for fans of Debbie Johnson, Lucy Diamond and Phillipa Ashley.
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: