Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Book Review - The Little Cafe at the End of the Pier by Helen Rolfe

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Title: The Little Cafe at the End of the Pier
Author: Helen Rolfe
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Orion
Publication Date: 24th January 2019
Rating: 4 Stars

Searching for love? You'll find it at The Little Café at the End of the Pier... 
The Little Café at the End of the Pier is the Café at the End of the Pier novellas collected together for the first time.

When Jo's beloved grandparents ask for her help in running their little café at the end of the pier in Salthaven-on-Sea she jumps at the chance.

The café is a hub for many people: the single dad who brings his little boy in on a Saturday morning; the lady who sits alone and stares out to sea; the woman who pops in after her morning run.

Jo soon realises that each of her customers is looking for love - and she knows just the way to find it for them. She goes about setting each of them up on blind dates - each date is held in the café, with a special menu she has designed for the occasion.

But Jo has never found love herself. She always held her grandparents' marriage up as her ideal and she hasn't found anything close to that. But could it be that love is right under her nose...?

As a long term fan of Helen Rolfe, I was excited to see what her first book for Orion would bring.  I waited patiently for each of the 5 novellas to be released, while crossing my fingers that there would be a combined book.   Well finally my waiting paid off and I was able to read the charming The Little Cafe at the End of the Pier. 

I can't recall the last time that I read a book and honestly had no idea until right to the end who the main character may end up with romantically. In fact Jo's romantic situation isn't really the main theme of the book, but given there were three men I could potentially see her with, and it was clear she had a secret admirer I was finding myself guessing the whole time. 

If there were hints there I didn't really pick up on them, and its rare to have that level of surprise in a book of this genre. 

However before all that we have Jo returning to Salthaven, to help out their cafe that is at the end of Salthaven pier.  Besides the fabulous location for a cafe, its also rather special as the menu changes each day depending on what fresh produce Matt from the local farm is able to supply. 

All of the food sounded delicious, and that is from a non fruit and veg lover, but it was clear that Jo and her grand parents are great cooks and have good imaginations when it comes to menu items that will do well. 

Jo does though make her own mark on the Cafe, with her nights of love, where she sets up unsuspecting people on a blind date in the cafe.  She has a great eye for who may get on well with who, and I loved those elements of the book. 

I also really enjoyed discovering the reason that Jo's mum was estranged from her grandparents, and even seeing a mention of where Sasha lived brought a smile to my face. I used to work in Mallorca, so know where Puerto Pollensa is, and spent a couple of months there, but apart from that I've never really seen any mention of the town, anywhere in fiction or real life since! 

This was just a lovely book, full of wonderful characters (the regulars at the cafe), great food, a lovely location, some cool ideas and a secret admirer that I had no clue about.  Absolutely loved how the book ended, and each of the the sections could as originally published be able to be read as standalones should you prefer to read a book in smaller parts. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Orion for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

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