Cosy & Welcoming
Here we are again at the Comfort Food Cafe in sleepy old Budbury - except Budbury really isn't all that sleepy and is full of characters that are all linked through the tender ministrations of the wonderfully named Cherie Moon.
Zoe and 16 year old Martha are still reeling from the death of Kate, Martha's mother and Zoe's best (and quite likely only) friend. Martha is rapidly running off the rails and Zoe decides that the best way to deal with this is to move away from the bright lights of Bristol and settle for 6 months in rural Dorset. Quite a similar plot line to the first of the series I think you will agree. In fact, much of the story is very similar to that first book - the main difference being Zoe is determinedly upbeat and refuses to give in to melancholy for her sake and, most importantly, for Martha's sake.
All the usual crew are here in cameo and the tale really picks up with Zoe and Martha arriving the day after Frank's 81st Birthday celebration - strangely a movie monster themed one that has spilled over to the next day. Great welcome to The Rockery for the intrepid duo and a great device for introducing new readers to the motley crew that inhabit this rural idyll.
The basic story is the same old, time worn chic lit fodder of girl meets boy, they fall for each other but she tries to deny it, they have a massive misunderstanding and then fall into to each other's arms to live blissfully ever after. We know this, but we read them anyway. Even though it is really clear who Zoe is going to fall in love with and that the feeling is reciprocated this doesn't detract from the enjoyment of this book. The characters are so vivid and realistic (if a little too nice sometimes) and the tale is told with such humour and genuine affection that the telling is definitely more important than the tale.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am genuinely looking forward to getting back to Budbury and the Comfort Food cafe when the next book hits the e-reader but I am kind of glad that is a few months away as 3 in as many days could cause a sugar overload - it's all that hot chocolate and cake Laura keeps serving up!