Book Review: The Cafe by the Sea by Jenny Colgan

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Title: The Cafe by the Sea

Author: Jenny Colgan

Published: June 2017

Rating: ★★

Summary: Flora left her small, remote, Scottish Island for the big opportunities of London. When her job requires her to go back home, she must face her family and the reasons she left them behind.

Thoughts: Oh boy. Where to begin. Let’s start with the positive. I was so intrigued by the setting of this book. It takes place on an island off the coast of Great Britain, stretching toward Scandinavia. With Viking roots and Scottish allegiance, it creates an interesting location for a fictional story. I encourage you to go Google Scottish Islands, sit back, and enjoy the beautiful imagery. Another enjoyable part of this book was the food. It all sounded so delicious and butter-forward. There is also a lot of cheese action, which I adore, so I got really into the cheese description and asked my husband to buy gourmet cheese at the grocery store. Oh! And this book marks my GoodReads 2017 Reading Challenge complete! I am way ahead of schedule this year!

Very Mild Spoilers Ahead

Okay. Done with the positive. Onto the….rest. How does a paralegal come to find herself on her small, remote, Scottish home island running a cafe as a part of her job at a law firm? Great question. This story tries to make that seem feasible, but mostly it is a giant leap the author asks you to make to go along with the premise. The plot was far-fetched and highly unlikely given my firm grounding in reality. The characters were unoriginal and the dialogue was trite. I found myself rolling my eyes quite a bit. For example, “Joel couldn’t remember the last time he’d seen a woman eat with such genuine pleasure. He found his mind wandering briefly to whether she had other appetites she couldn’t control.” Really? It would be one thing if these lines were found in a trashy romance novel, which I would be totally okay with, but this is not that. This is just a contemporary chick-lit novel that isn’t supposed to have lines like that. There is very, very mild and tame romantic stories in this book, despite what that line straight from a harlequin novel might have you thinking. This book is chalk full of cheesy dialogue and very unlikely scenarios, including saving a beached whale. I just…I just can’t.

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