Hi guys, and happy Wednesday, hope you are all enjoying your summer!
I am so thrilled today to ba again a part of Cathy Bramley’s blog tour – I love this author and her uplifting novels! No matter what, her books will for sure make you feel better and you won’t want them to end. There is everything I am looking for in a great read – joy, romance, immediately likeable characters and enough twists and turns to keep you on your tenterhooks. Yes, I probably could read Ms Bramley’s novels on daily basis 🙂
The Lemon Tree Cafe by Cathy Bramley
Publishing Date: 24th August 2017
Source: Received from the publisher in return for an honest review!
Number of pages: 464
Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction
The Lemon Tree Cafe was originally published as a four-part serial. This is the complete story in one package.
When Rosie Featherstone finds herself unexpectedly jobless, the offer to help her beloved Italian grandmother out at the Lemon Tree Cafe – a little slice of Italy nestled in the rolling hills of Derbyshire – feels like the perfect way to keep busy.
Surrounded by the rich scent of espresso, delicious biscotti and juicy village gossip, Rosie soon finds herself falling for her new way of life. But she is haunted by a terrible secret, one that even the appearance of a handsome new face can’t quite help her move on from.
Then disaster looms and the cafe’s fortunes are threatened . . . and Rosie discovers that her nonna has been hiding a dark past of her own. With surprises, betrayal and more than one secret brewing, can she find a way to save the Lemon Tree Cafe and help both herself and Nonna achieve the happy endings they deserve?
Guys, “The Lemon Tree Cafe” is Cathy Bramley at her best! Which delights me terribly as I had some issues with her last novel and to be absolutely honest I was afraid how I’m going to like this book. But no worries guys, no worries, reading “The Lemon Tree Cafe” was really a great joy. Of course initially this book was published as a four – part – series but I am incredibly happy to have waited for the whole story being published as one gorgeous novel. I just can’t have enough of Cathy Bramley’s writing, her storytelling, quirky characters and beautiful settings, and with this book she has fulfilled all of my expectations. You know, it is really hard to explain why I love Cathy Bramley’s books so much without repeating over and over again that they are full of warmth, honesty, genuine characters and this so hard to capture feel – good factor – and “The Lemon Tree Cafe” had it all!
I absolutely adored the fact that some of the characters were already introduced to us earlier in “The Plumberry School of Comfort Food”. It felt like coming back home, to some friends of yours. I warmed to the book and the characters right at the beginning – even to the all – knowing nonna (you know I have huge problems with wiser than wise older aunts, grandmas, cousins in the stories. However, Cathy Bramley has managed to write Maria in the best possible way, without her being patronizing but also showing her weakest points, showing that she is a real woman, with dark past). Rosie was my hero from the start – the way she stood for her beliefs was absolutely inspiring. She was not afraid to gave up her job only to prove her point – that was SO right, btw! To not go too crazy without a job she offers to work for a month in her nonna’s cafe, and perhaps bring it back to its glory days, even though Maria doesn’t think it’s necessary, make it a little bit better – but does the nonna need Rosie’s help? Or perhaps does she keep some secrets that she doesn’t want to see the daylight?
Now Gabe. I know I’ve said once that Gabe is not my favourite character – because Gabe was already introduced to us in “The Plumberry School of Comfort Food” and well… OK, yes, I started to warm to him but it took me some time. You know, in the previous book he had a moment that he tried to persuade Verity they should be together, even though he didn’t love her, and in “The Lemon Tree Cafe” he entered the scenes, took a look at Rosie and tried to convince her they should be together – again. And I just couldn’t stop thinking, Gabe, really, get a grip. Are you so desperate? But yes, I admit – he turned out to be a really nice guy and showed where his priorities are, and yes, there were moments that I pitied him so much when he wanted to explain to Rosie some things and she didn’t let him, jumping to conclusions – just like real life, no? However, the romance element in this book was rather absent, and it felt forced on us. I mean, I want my hero to appear on the pages more than Gabe appeared, so the end felt so pushed and rushed and I wondered, when did they really have time to fell in love? This relationship was more off than on, and it’s a shame because Cathy Bramley can write brilliant romance! (This was my one and only problem with this book. No more whining, promise. And really, even with this I adored this story.)
The book was full of twists, turns and surprises. There were some secrets kept and while I guessed the one kept by Maria, this of Rosie’s broke me. It explained a lot, why she was so cautious about relationships and why she wanted to focus on her career, and it really was breaking my heart because she deserved so much more after what she has experienced.
And of course, as this book is about an Italian cafe, there are plenty of deliciously sounding descriptions of food, as well as some great recipes at the end of the story.
It was so warmly written that I didn’t want to put it away, even for a moment, and cursed life getting in the way. The story only got better and better, guys, there are no flat moments in it, the pacing is just right and I loved how well balanced were the humorous and poignant moments. There is also this lovely, brilliantly captured community spirit when the people support each other, and the cafe was in the heart of all things happening. This story is full of fun and of little dramas that can be life – changing for some of the characters, and I think this is one of the factors that make this novel so lovely to read, so relatable and just so down to earth. The characters hit rock bottom, just like it happens with us, they sometimes lose all their hopes but they never lose their spirits, and this is why I admire and adore them so much. They always come up with a plan, they support each other and this is always so lovely to see.
Cathy Bramley smuggles so many important issues and messages into her books. It is the same with “The Lemon Tree Cafe” – it is a story of finding yourself, finding what brings you happiness, it’s about daily struggles of new mothers, about learning to appreciate yourself again, about family, secrets and letting the old demons go, about being proud of who you are and your roots – this all in this lovely, heart – warming, light – hearted and gorgeously delicious story. I can only salute the author for writing another unforgettable story. This book was for me like a huge mug of hot chocolate with marshmallow topping, so welcoming, comforting and tasty. Highly recommended!
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