Sunshine at the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publishing Date: 8th March 2018
Series: Comfort Food Cafe #4
Source: Received from publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review, thank you!
Number of pages: 400
Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction
Come to the Comfort Food Café this spring for sunshine, smiles and plenty of truly scrumptious lemon drizzle cake.
‘As cosy as a buttered crumpet’ Sunday Times bestseller Milly Johnson
My name is Willow Longville. I live in a village called Budbury on the stunning Dorset coast with my mum Lynnie, who sometimes forgets who I am. I’m a waitress at the Comfort Food Café, which is really so much more than a café … it’s my home.
For Willow, the ramshackle café overlooking the beach, together with its warm-hearted community, offers friendship as a daily special and always has a hearty welcome on the
menu. But when a handsome stranger blows in on a warm
spring breeze, Willow soon realises that her quiet country
life will be changed forever.
Curl up with this gorgeous novel and make yourself
at home at the Comfort Food Café.
Oh guys, I can’t tell you how happy I am that The Comfort Food Cafe series is going strong! I could read about it, and the characters, over and over again and I won’t have enough. “Sunshine at the Comfort Food Cafe” is already the fourth addition to the series and yes, it is a stand – alone novel but without reading the previous books you’re going to miss too much on the characters, the incredible warmth and hidden wisdom.
“Sunshine at the Comfort Food Cafe” focuses on Willow. Willow, the youngest of Lynnie’s fourth children. Willow with pink hair, Doc Martens boots, and a dog. Willow, who’s currently looking after her dementia suffering mum and juggling her own cleaning business with working as a waitress at the cafe. Willow is not angry with her siblings for travelling the world and for the fact that she’s left alone to look after their mum. No, she’s cheerful and happy with her life and takes things as they are. To help her mum remember things they both have journals in which they write things – who is who and what has happened.
Willow’s cleaning business has been engaged to clean The House on the Hill – a large old house that previously served as a children’s shelter and has just been bought after years of standing alone. When Willow spots the new owner she can’t believe her eyes, as it’s Tom, a former resident of Briarwood, and there is something that happened many years ago that is a reason for her being so shocked right now – you must read this scene for yourself. It’s hilarious. They bond very quickly not only over their dogs or plans for renovating the House but also over plans for surviving the Zombie Apocalypse – don’t ask. But you will love it.
I can’t express enough how much I loved this book. It is full of so extremely beautifully captured emotions and feelings and standing ovation to Debbie Johnson for being able to put them so well into words. The dynamics between the characters were brilliant, and there was so much love and acceptance that you could spot and feel it through the pages. Also, the author has this talent to immediately draw you into the heart of the book – I, for once, right from the beginning felt at home, and yes sure, it was the fact that I’ve already known and loved the characters, but it was also the lovely writing style, so inviting and so enveloping, like the cosiest of blankest. The author always knows when to drop a surprise on your not – expecting – it head, or to put a joke or two to break the ice.
The banter between the characters was abso – bloody – brilliant, especially between Willow and Tom. I adored those two, they were so honest and so genuine around each other, and they talked, which made such a great difference…! There weren’t any understatements, they knew where they stand, and I loved their testing, checking and their feelings and emotions. It was just so real and so true, you know. And I adored how much they loved their dogs, Bella Swan and the perfect mix of German Shepherd and Rottweiler, Rick Grimes. And the way Willow has done a very handy Game of Thrones – style recap on the residents of the village for Tom’s benefit was brilliant, and it was also a great recap for us all.
The story also introduces us to some new characters, such like Willow’s siblings, especially her sister Auburn who comes home to help Willow look after their mum. My gut feeling is telling me she’s going to be the heroine of the next novel – I hope I’m right because she seems to be a very colourful person that has a lot in store.
This was a brilliant, feel – good, poignant and touching romance, set in a wonderful, full of lovely people, village, and the community spirit there is very easily spotted. They all know about each other’s businesses and they meddle in each others’ lives, and not always in a very subtle way, but it is hilarious and so uplifting, to know that they had their backs. They also always have time to eat a slice of cake and to try Laura’s new recipes.
I simply loved this book and didn’t want it to end. I’ve been hooked by Willow’s story and fell for her immediately. It was bitter – sweet, with many emotional and poignant moments, and with many hilarious as well, it made me cry and it made me laugh – out – loud, just the perfect mix for me. It touched upon some heavier issues as well, just like Tom’s past or Lynnie’s disease but it’s done in such a subtle and gentle way and it opens eyes to what it really means to be an orphan or how it is to live with a person suffering from dementia, how emotional and unstable this life is. I was truly hanging onto every single word of the story and I could beg for more, guys. A gorgeous story about family, friends, love and forgiveness, with a lot of hidden depth that made me feel so warm inside and left me feeling hope and optimistic. Highly, highly recommended!