Friday, 17 October 2014

Bargain Read: The Beach Cafe - Lucy Diamond

Evie Flynn has always been the black sheep of her family - a dreamer and a drifter, unlike her over-achieving elder sisters. She's tried making a name for herself as an actress, a photographer and a singer, but nothing has ever worked out. Now she's stuck in temp hell, with a sensible, pension-planning boyfriend. Somehow life seems to be passing her by. Then her beloved aunt Jo dies suddenly in a car crash, leaving Evie an unusual legacy - her precious beach cafe in Cornwall. Determined to make a success of something for the first time in her life, Evie heads off to Cornwall to get the cafe and her life back on track - and gets more than she bargained for, both in work and in love...

At this very moment I have a cold and Scotland has well and truly entered autumn, in a desperate attempt to ignore anything festive beginning with the letter 'C' I decided I'd delve into my first Lucy Diamond and reach for a little bit of sun.

The Beach Café is my first Lucy Diamond but definitely won't be my last. For me, Beach Café is reminiscent of Jenny Colgan's Great-Aunt series (Meet Me at the Cupcake Café, Sweet Shop of Dreams, Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris, Beach Street Bakery), which is no bad thing. As it turns out Beach Café came out in the same year as Colgan's Meet Me at the Cupcake Café and there's been a spate of this plot in recent years. Anyway...

The Beach Café tells the tale of Evie Flynn, a bit of a flitter who's stuck in a rut. The black sheep of the family, working at a temp agency and in a relationship where she may have more attachment to her boyfriend's son than the man himself, Evie is at a bit of a loss. When her beloved aunt passes away and leaves her an adorable café in Cornwall, Evie seems to find her place and is determined to make it work.

I do love these plots, it's always nice to see characters find their purpose in life outside of romance and, let's be honest, who hasn't dreamed of opening up their own café at some point in their lives? Evie's new life in Cornwall doesn't get off to the easiest of starts and Diamond takes us along with Evie as she really settles in to her own. Evie is a great character and all too easy to connect with, I did occasionally got a little frustrated with her when she took time to stand up for herself but that just made it all the sweeter when she finally did. Evie firmly establishes herself as part of her community, introducing us to a host of wonderful characters, and along with that comes love interest, Ed.

Ed was an intriguing character who definitely had appeal and his fair share of secrets. For me, the inevitable complications that Evie and Ed hit upon were a little rushed and manufactured, especially since Evie didn't seem to concerned about not knowing Ed's surname never mind his hidden past. The epilogue too, which could have saved this rushed romance between Ed and Evie, takes place only two weeks after we last saw everyone and could have benefited from a bit more distance to ensure readers of a true HEA. However, on that front there is a silver lining, Diamond published Christmas at the Beach Café last year and it's immediately gone on to my festive TBR list.

Despite the rushed romance, Beach Café is a must read if you're a fan of Jenny Colgan or are after a cheerful and uplifting little novel. Diamond paints the Cornwall scenery so well that I could imagine myself there, stuffing myself full of scones and clotted cream, despite the rain beating against my window. There's plenty going on in Beach Café that it's sure to please most readers, there's romance (albeit not my type), friendship, family relationships, and self - discovery.

The Beach Café is yet another delightful little slice of Brit-lit and a brilliant read to help keep the chill of in the coming months, at 59p on the Kindle you can't beat this deal.

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