Review of The Cafe by the Sea

Goodreads Blurb: 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.


So lately I’ve been playing a game in order to preserve my mental stability. You see, I’ve been picking up books that have been given 4 and 5 stars on Goodreads accompanied by gushing reviews and when I read them I suffer from quickly deflating morale because the books, to me, are very disappointing for being so highly rated. So, I sit contemplating what I deem to be an immaturely penned book wondering if I have become a curmudgeon because a 12-year old’s idea of humor written by a woman in her 30s seems to appeal to at least 100 plus readers. I try to employ my “your mileage may vary theory,” but end up wondering, seriously, if my ability to discern a well-written book has flown out the window. That’s when the game begins.


The Cafe by the Sea by Jenny Colgan. William Morrow paperbacks. Release Date: June 27, 2017.

In order to test my current curmudgeon status, I swish through my kindle library of books I’m supposed to review, find an author who will hopefully correct my beleaguered state of mind, and read. Which is why I finished Jenny Colgan’s The Cafe by the Sea at 2 am this morning and also why I have begun this review by standing on a soapbox.

I had wanted to save The Cafe by the Sea for my upcoming vacation but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do to keep her sanity.

First off, let me tell you that if you’re acquiring books for your beach reads, you might want to add The Cafe by the Sea. It’s well-written, funny, poignant, thoughtful, romantic, sweet, and it has a story.

Flora is a London paralegal who is mostly satisfied with her life with the one exception being that she has a huge crush on her rather cruel American boss, Joel Binder. He, on the other hand, hardly seems to know she exists. He much prefers supermodel-type blondes who don’t eat and rage at him when he continues to be the selfish man that he is.

When an American billionaire requests the firm’s assistance in dealing with an issue on the Scottish island of Mure where he has bought an estate, Flora is brought in because this is her hometown, which she has only returned to once since she left, for her mother’s funeral. Evidently Flora, in her mind, behaved very badly and has felt too ashamed to return.

Like last year’s The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan (read my review here), The Cafe by the Sea involves the reader in the lives of what feels like a very real small town. Flora is an average woman who has made mistakes and tends not to always see things for what they are, but she’s a marvelous character. There is a scene with her and beached orca that is just magically beautiful and if my mind hadn’t already been set regarding how I felt about the novel, that scene would have done it.

Another nice element of The Cafe by the Sea is that unexpected events happen so you never really know what the outcome may be and even the one you think you’re rooting for may not be the one you ultimately want to happen. (How’s that for avoiding spoilers?)

I loved this book and I really need to make time to read her past novels.

If you like chick lit with a real plot, subplots, humor, dogs, good writing, and baking of yummy goodies thrown in, treat yourself to this book.

Oh, by the way, the above blurb suggests that The Cafe by the Sea puts a modern twist on Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and it must be a tremendously great twist because I can in no way see how the two are related. There’s no man going to town to get married, no kidnapping of women, no lumberjacks. There is, however, a dance scene, so maybe we’ll go with that. Hmm…is it because Flora has three brothers? (By Jove, I think that might be it.) Anyway, if you’re thinking of reading this looking for Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, don’t. Read it because it’s darn good chick lit.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Pre-order from AmazonThe Cafe by the Sea

rating: 5-butterflies

5 out of 5 butterflies

2 thoughts on “Review of The Cafe by the Sea

    1. I loved the setting! I think Jenny Colgan is a hidden treasure because I had never heard of her before last summer and I have been reading what I thought was a lot of Brit chick lit.

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