Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Book Review - Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson

Amazon UK
Title: Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe
Author: Debbie Johnson
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Publisher supplied review copy 
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: 29th April 2016
Rating: 5 Stars

The Comfort Food Cafe is perched on a windswept clifftop at what feels like the edge of the world, serving up the most delicious cream teas; beautifully baked breads, and carefully crafted cupcakes. For tourists and locals alike, the ramshackle cafe overlooking the beach is a beacon of laughter, companionship, and security – a place like no other; a place that offers friendship as a daily special, and where a hearty welcome is always on the menu.

For widowed mum-of-two Laura Walker, the decision to uproot her teenaged children and make the trek from Manchester to Dorset for the summer isn’t one she takes lightly, and it’s certainly not winning her any awards from her kids, Nate and Lizzie. Even her own parents think she’s gone mad.

But following the death of her beloved husband David two years earlier, Laura knows that it’s time to move on. To find a way to live without him, instead of just surviving. To find her new place in the world, and to fill the gap that he’s left in all their lives.

Her new job at the cafe, and the hilarious people she meets there, give Laura the chance she needs to make new friends; to learn to be herself again, and – just possibly – to learn to love again as well.

For her, the Comfort Food Cafe doesn’t just serve food – it serves a second chance to live her life to the full…

There is just one thing I can say and that is Debbie Johnson is just getting better and better with every single book she writes, and I hope she continues for a very long time.  This book has run me through the full gamut of emotions, and I feel there is a new maturity to the writing that hasn't been there before. If this is your first book by this talented author, then you are in for a treat. 

The first two chapters drew me in and I knew this would be a book read in very few sittings over the course of one day. The first chapter is the job advert wanting someone to come and work at the Comfort Food Cafe, and inviting applicants to just put heart and soul into a leter of application. It gave a great feel for the sort of place the Comfort Food Cafe would be, quite a while before we get there. 

And then the second chapter is Laura's application letter, which gives enough information to explain her entire backstory in a great storytelling device. And what we learn is after a slightly freak accident Laura was widowed two years ago, and she with her two children are still coming to terms with their grief and are feeling lost. Laura can't afford a summer holiday like the ones she used to have with her husband so opts for this working holiday at the Comfort Food Cafe. 

The rest of her family think she is bonkers and that she won't cope, but it does't take long to realise that she may have made her best ever decision. And the cast of colourful locals at the cafe, all with their own back stories and need for various comfort food, are heartwarming. 

The idea behind the cafe is to offer food as comfort, whether its on the menu or not, and there are many examples of this, and all the many descriptions of foods are enough to make your mouth water. And for complete comic relief there are Laura's phonecalls with her sister, where she discovers that her daughter Lizzie, has been instagramming every second of the holiday, and the sister's take on the photos is brilliant. 

This is a very upbeat story, and is all about being brave enough to try to make the most of a situation after their personal nightmare. Cafe owner Cherie Moon is one of the most kind hearted women you will ever meet, and yet as we get to know her better, we also discover secrets in her past. 

Laura is a natural in the cafe, and her children soon make friends, and the book is separated into each week of the holiday, and the week headings come with a one sentence hint at what may be coming up, and the one that really caught my eye was the mention of far too much nudity! 

Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe is a comforting summery read, with a lovely South coast of England feel to it, friendly people and is a joy to read. 

Thank you so much to Felicity Denham at Harper for this review copy. This was my honest opinion. 


  1. Great review. I bought this on my kindle yesterday.

  2. Great review! I can't wait to read this one!


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