Escape to the Little French Café
Here is my review for Escape to the Little French Café by Karen Clarke that is published today by Bookouture.
I always get a little over-excited when I stumble upon a new book set in my corner of France, so imagine my delight at discovering this one. Escape to the Little French Café is the first in a series of three, and takes place on the beautiful Ile de Ré, only about an hour and half from home and one of my favourite places for a day out on the bikes.
Right from the beginning I liked Nathalie, adored her best mate Charlie and laughed alongside them as they put the world to rights in Charlie’s mum’s café on the Ile de Ré. They are both running away from relationship failures and have formed a special bond that only his mum Dolly wishes would evolve to be more than just friends. Nat is a writer, who pens a column for a local expat magazine (just like I do), but while I’m happy with that, she has her sights set on a job at Magnifique, the top magazine in Paris.
Just by chance, reclusive actor Jay Merino is filming on the island and although he never gives interviews, an almost forgotten moment between Nat and Jay when they were 17, gives her a glimmer of hope that the exclusive interview she needs to get her foot in the door at Magnifique, will be possible.
What happens next is at first hilarious, then fizzing with energy and chemistry; so much so my feel-good monitor shot off the scale. I was convinced that nothing could possibly go wrong. I was wrong and I was devastated, but this just showed us a different side to Nat. Determined, resourceful and able to put on a brave face, she is realistic enough to know not all dreams come true and ultimately, she discovers what is really important to her in life.
Even if you don’t know the Ile de Ré, you will feel you do by the end of the book and you will probably find yourself checking out flights to La Rochelle so you can experience if for real. The villages, the lighthouse, the marinas, the stone cottages with pretty shutters and hollyhocks in the gardens are all brought to life. I hadn’t visited for a few years, but after reading this book, I’ve already been back (see here for some photos) and will be returning again this week. Thank you Karen.
I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book in this series. To find out more about author Karen Clarke, join me here on Friday where she will be taking part in my France et Moi interview feature.
Escape to the Little French Café is available in ebook and paperback format and links to Amazon can be found below. I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher.