Review of Audiobook At the Coffee Shop of Curiosities by Heather Webber @BooksbyHeather @MacmillanAudio

No, I have not become one of those book bloggers who give every book five (潃潃潃潃潃) but with very few exceptions lately, I have had the good fortune of reading/listening to some quite outstanding books. And At the Coffeeshop of Curiosities by Heather Webber, a book with a great deal of heart, joins that list.

Blurb: A mysterious letter. An offer taken. And the chance to move forward.

When Ava Harrison receives a letter containing an unusual job listing one month after the sudden death of her ex-boyfriend, she thinks shes being haunted. The listinga job as a live-in caretaker for a peculiar old man and his cranky cat in Driftwood, Alabamais the perfect chance to start a new life. Anormallife. Ava has always been too fearful to even travel, so no ones more surprised than she is when she throws caution to the wind and drives to the distant beachside town.

On the surface, Maggie Mae Brightwell is a bundle of energy as she runs Magpies, Driftwoods coffee and curiosity shop, where theres magic to be found in pairing the old with the new. But lurking under her cheerful exterior is a painful truthkeeping busy is the best way to distract herself from the lingering loss of her mama and her worries about her aging father. No one knows better than she does that you cant pour from an empty cup, but holding on to the past is the only thing keeping the hope alive that her mama will return home one day.

Ava and Maggie soon find theyre kindred spirits, as theyre both hauntednot by spirits, but by regret. Both must learn to let go of the past to move onbecause sometimes the waves of change bring you to the place where you most belong.

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After the tragic death of her ex-boyfriend, Alex, Ava Harrison applies for a job that mysteriously appears in her mail, thinking that it was magically sent by him, since he was always trying to get her to take chances. And this, this moving to an Alabama coastal community called Driftwood far from home, security, is a big risk. But maybe it’s time. She heads to Driftwood from Ohio, wearing her lucky tweed blazer in boiling heat hoping to get a job as caretaker to a peculiar old man.

Meanwhile Maggie Brightwell is at a crossroads. Her father, (the above peculiar old man) says that he’s being haunted and is doing unusual things, like sleepwalking in his underwear, and now there’s talk that he’s going to sell the coffee shop, her coffee chop, her lost mother’s beloved coffee shop. Not to mention that Donavan, her best friend and perhaps love of her life, is back. There’s no turning back but going forward also feels impossible.

Joy, joy, joy, and happiness. We can’t get enough of these in our lives but fortunately Heather Webber’s And At the Coffeeshop of Curiosities can provide some.

First off, this isn’t small town fiction but rather magical town fiction. Driftwood is a town of heart, where people actively support each other, or try to.

Ava definitely ranks in the top ten of my favorite characters of the year (maybe ever? don’t know). She embraces her new life with, and here’s that word again, heart. But she is also quirky and sassy when she needs to be, with a gentle sense-of-humor. She takes this opportunity provided to her and holds onto it and goes beyond.

Maggie is a likeable character but in a different way. Maybe she’s more real with character flaws worn bravely. Her crossroads, entailing admitting what she has never wanted to, evoked sadness at resolutions.

While there is romance, readers looking strictly for romance (and sex) will be disappointed. However, if you’re looking for a book that makes you happy by showing how people can be, that has magic woven through almost every word, then this is the book for you.

I enjoyed both narrators as they brought the story to life with vivacity but also sweet soberness when the situation called for it. And, since they read the book to me, they were probably responsible as well as the author for the amount of heart resonating.

Many thanks to Macmillan Audio for providing me with a copy.

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