“If you’re going to lead your life expecting everyone to act perfectly, you’ll receive nothing but disappointments.”
*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Avon in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***
I really enjoyed my first experience with Sue Moorcroft‘s writing earlier this year, and I’ve been looking forward to try more of her books ever since. I really liked the sound of Summer At The French Cafe with its French countryside setting and the promise of a book cafe, and I had high hopes that this story would be a winner for me. Imagine my surprise when I ended up having mixed thoughts instead… And I’m still not sure what to make of my thoughts on this story to be honest.
On one hand, I loved the French countryside setting with its focus on the Strasbourg area. The descriptions of Parc Lemmel and the small towns really gave the story that summer holiday vibe, and Summer At The French Cafe would be the perfect story to read next to the pool or on the beach. You can almost imagine visiting the park itself, or asking to borrow Kat’s dog Angelique to take her on a walk… And there we have another bonus: having a dog popping up every other page and being important to the plot itself. On top of this we even have a book cafe as one of the main settings, and who doesn’t love a bookish element in their stories?!
The story had a lot going for it and the French setting is truly the start of the show, but on the other hand there were also things that bothered me considerably. I can’t go into details without revealing spoilers, but it had a lot to do with the fact that neither main character seemed to stand up for him/herself during most of the story, and both kept letting others dictate their current situation and problems. This became really frustrating, and the final reveals were a bit too convenient to be totally credible. On top of this, Kat’s reactions and self blame to the cheating element didn’t really help either.
While I do enjoy a contemporary romance read that focuses on other elements as well as the romance, I think Summer At The French Cafe tried incorporating too many different topics. The family issues, stepmother situations, what is basically child abduction, domestic abuse, cheating, cancer, issues around the cafe, hacking… It kind of put the romance too much on a back burner, and the balance was lost for me.
This doesn’t mean that Summer At The French Cafe was a bad read though. There were some things I personally struggled with, but I can see why most people do enjoy this story a lot better and reviews have been very positive so far. So definitely don’t give up on this summer read on my account!