A Perfect Cornish Summer by Phillipa Ashley
Publishing Date: 25th April 2019
Series: Porthmellow Harbour #1
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!
Number of pages: 400
Genre: Women’s Fiction
The first in a gorgeous new series from the author of Summer at the Cornish Cafe.
Summer is on the horizon, and the people of Porthmellow are eagerly awaiting the annual food festival. At least, most of them are…
For Sam Lovell, organising the summer festival in her hometown is one of the highlights of her year. It’s not always smooth sailing, but she loves to see Porthmellow’s harbour packed with happy visitors, and being on the committee has provided a much-needed distraction from the drama in her family life (and the distinct lack of it in her love life).
When their star guest pulls out with only a few weeks to go, everyone’s delighted when a London chef who grew up locally steps in at the last minute. But Gabe Matthias is the last person Sam was expecting to see, and his return to Porthmellow will change her quiet coastal life for ever.
Curl up with this gorgeous novel and savour the world of Porthmellow Harbour.
Sam Lovell owns a Catering Company and organises the yearly local food festival. This year, however, there is a major incident, as the guest celebrity chef pulls out at the last minute. Sam’s friend Chloe manages to organize a replacement but when Sam learns who it is, she’s not too happy – Gabe Matthias, TV chef, who’s local and has history with Sam, history that she’d rather forget, and there is a serious reason why she feels like this. But not only Sam, also part of the town as well. Will Gabe be able to get them all on side again? Is it at all possible that the food festival make it to another year, and more?
There were plenty of characters in this novel, and every single one of them with their own story, so in the end there are many threads running through the novel. It wasn’t the easiest to keep them all on track and I often felt confused at who, why and what, and where shall I pay attention? But of course those storylines are much relevant and they tie well with one another, and I’m guessing we needed them in this book as a kind of introduction for the next books in the series that will for sure focus on different characters. Nevertheless, I had a feeling that simply too much is going on in this book.
My biggest problem with this novel was the fact that there was actually nothing that has surprised me. All the time I had a feeling “I’ve been there, I’ve seen this” and this is probably why it couldn’t keep my attention. There was all you could wish for in that kind of a book: friendship, community, romance, good food etc, and it’s great, please don’t get me wrong, but it simply felt too flat and too repetitive. And the names Samphire and Zennor, well, at the beginning I’ve though that must have been a spelling error but it turned out they weren’t. I couldn’t get used to them till the very end of the book, to be honest. And why was their brother called Ryan then? In for a penny, in for a pound, right?
As much as the circumstances of bringing Sam and Gabe back together were really nice, I still had a feeling that there is not enough interaction between them, that there is not enough chemistry, and so this relationship left me feeling a bit lukewarm. Also, huge parts of the book are dedicated to the festival, and of course it was absolutely all right, and I enjoyed them, but somehow, Gabe and Sam simply went astray in all those descriptions of the events, all the organizational issues.
Phillipa Ashley’s writing style is lovely, sunny and bright. She must be one of the best when it comes to the settings of her novels, because they are always picturesque, exceptionally beautiful and effortlessly brought to life. She easily transports you to the place she’s writing about. And altogether, !A Perfect Cornish Summer” was a light – hearted, warm story about second chances, community spirit, friendship and family, and it had this brilliant Food Festival in it as well – though I’d love more of it itself than the build up towards it, more lush descriptions of food. An uplifting tale about working together, sticking together and helping one another to succeed.
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