The Cafe By The Sea: A Novel by Jenny Colgan

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“So. She was going home. Oh God. “

Flora left her Scottish island and her family for the more exciting, bustling city of London. A place where she can disappear in the masses, where no one knows her entire life story and family, a city where she can have an exciting career, a promising place of opportunities her lonely, frigid island cannot offer. That she is just as hopeless there, just as lonely, lovelorn over her boss doesn’t make her want to return back to the bosom of her wild brothers and father.Who would willingly return to such a still place? But when business demands it, what choice does she have?

Who in their right mind wants to pack a parka in May? In May, when everyone else is getting tanned, visiting beaches, escaping the cold? So what if she is a successful paralegal in London, back home she is just Flora MacKenzie, who should have never left, a good daughter would remain, taking up the role of stand in mother, looking after her helpless brothers and father. Naturally the moment she is through the door, her brothers ribbing begins. It’s all a wreck, they aren’t cleaning, eating right, everything is failing. Memories of her mother flutter about the place, too painful to inhale. Too much loss, unbearable pain! She had to run, she couldn’t look back at that sad past. Her mother wanted a different life for her, away from the island, one that she didn’t think the boys needed.

That she is back to work with the enemy, one Colton Rogers, only complicates her welcome. It is her job to open his eyes to the locals needs, mostly that he actually interact with them. Having assumed she knows all there is to know about her brothers, she is surprised to learn they have their own talents and interests. In fact, her brother Fintan may just surprise her with his gift and capture the attention of Colton. Her father can’t change with the times, holds fast to the farm, shamed by the memory of what he thought was a wife unhappy with her narrow life. When Flora finds her mother’s recipes, tries her hands at them, her heart opens and she may help her father find the love her mother had in her heart for her family, and the life she chose.

Is this a romance? Yes, but it’s more too. It’s endearing, and fun. It’s a story about finding that even when you run from the anchor of family, it is still there and you’re never really on your own. It’s a reminder that regardless of how you cast yourself in your life story, and that of your siblings, they have their own parallel life as well, and you don’t always see them for what they are, nor notice their own struggles. Your memory isn’t right nor wrong, it’s just yours. We don’t always understand why our family behaves as they do, and as much as we think they don’t understand us, maybe we aren’t giving effort to understand them either. Romantic love won’t survive worship, no one can live up to the mythology we surround our obsessions with even if we ourselves may be a selkie, or not. Flora learns more about herself returning home than all the time she spent in London. Is she home to stay? Will she find love? By the way, there are recipes at the end! Sometimes a woman just needs to warm her heart with a love story- and that it’s about family and a Scottish Island is what makes it better than just another breezy beach read. I’ll take that cold island any day!

Available Today!

William Morrow




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