The Cafe by the Sea
by Jenny Colgan
Published by HARPERCOLLINS | William Morrow Paperbacks
On Sale: 06/27/2017
e-book and trade paperback: Pages: 416
Also available as an audiobook with narration by
I voluntarily reviewed an advance readers copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
In the UK: THE SUMMER SEASIDE KITCHEN
A deliciously warm and funny slice of life from Jenny Colgan, Sunday Times top ten bestselling author of Summer at the Little Beach Street Bakery and The Little Shop of Happy-Ever-After.
Flora is definitely, absolutely sure that escaping from the quiet Scottish island where she grew up to the noise and hustle of the big city was the right choice. What was there for her on Mure? It’s a place where everyone has known her all her life, and no one will let her forget the past. In the city, she can be anonymous, ambitious and indulge herself in her hopeless crush on her gorgeous boss, Joel.
When a new client demands Flora’s presence back on Mure, she’s suddenly swept back into life with her brothers (all strapping, loud and seemingly incapable of basic housework) and her father. As Flora indulges her new-found love of cooking and breathes life into the dusty little pink-fronted shop on the harbour, she’s also going to have to come to terms with past mistakes – and work out exactly where her future lies… https://www.jennycolgan.com/summer-seaside-kitchen/
Publisher Blurb (just slightly different see italics):
The beloved author of The Bookshop on the Corner returns with a sparkling, sunny, soulful new novel perfect for fans of Elin Hilderbrand.
Years ago, Flora fled the quiet Scottish island where she grew up — and she hasn’t looked back. What would she have done on Mure? It’s a place where everyone has known her all her life, where no one will let her forget the past. In bright, bustling London, she can be anonymous, ambitious... and hopelessly in love with her boss.
But when fate brings Flora back to the island, she’s suddenly swept once more into life with her brothers — all strapping, loud, and seemingly incapable of basic housework — and her father. Yet even amid the chaos of their reunion, Flora discovers a passion for cooking — and find herself restoring dusty little pink-fronted shop on the harbour: a café by the sea.
But with the seasons changing, Flora must come to terms with past mistakes — and work out exactly where her future lies…
Funny and heartfelt, The Café by the Sea is a delightful summertime novel that puts a modern twist on the classic Seven Brides for Seven Brothers story. https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062662989/the-cafe-by-the-sea
I really enjoy Jenny Colgan’s style; but I really don’t think the Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (a fun but 1950s misogynist musical/film) vibe ascribed to it in the above publisher’s blurb, is strong enough to call it a modern twist on that story. It feels like it would have made a good old movie but with a trifle more naughtiness.
Granted, the brothers in the story behave with as much doltishness as the brothers in Seven Brides, failing to understand themselves and women. Her father is gruff but likeable, caught forever in his grief.
I like Jenny’s weaving of the Selkies’ tale into the story; Flora and her mother are lent mystery and romance by the mythology. It’s a pretty strong retelling: it left me half-believing that Flora and her mom actually were selkies. Flora is described as the palest of pale blondes: it seemed to me she would be a tall, pale supermodel of the palest hues, a Botticelli, but again paler — maybe like Cate Blanchette’s elven queen, Galadriel, in LORD OF THE RINGS.
The male/female interaction in the book is truly about the kind of love a seal wife would feel towards her man. It was nicely written.
Like the LITTLE BOOKSHOP ON THE CORNER, the events in the story are as enchanting as they are unlikely; a modern form of fairy tales. They are well written and filed with characters who are either redeemable or already wonderful. I love her stories and highly recommend them!