Far less about the café and it’s workings, this is a story about finding yourself and accepting challenges that take you on a path to happiness. Alice has moved from London to Castle Cove after her mother’s death – a stopgap to clear out her house and find a tenant before heading to Thailand to spend time with her father. After her parent’s divorce six years back, Alice has buried herself in busywork, using her ocd tendencies to organize, arrange and make her way in the world. Riddled with guilt that she hadn’t spent more time with her very adventurous mother, she’s decided that competing in the local triathlon, a regular event for her mother, is a way to make up for the lost years and lack of adventure in her life. But, she needs to stay busy, and training won’t do that – so she works with Cath at the Castle Café – occupying the ground floor of a turret in Cove Castle. Jay O’Donnell is a member of the lifeboats crew, a carpenter, and been in Castle Cove since childhood. He’s always been one who was ‘responsible’ and protected others from harm: even if they don’t want it. When he comes across Alice biking to work in stormy weather, without headlamps, he takes it upon himself to follow her and keep her from harm. Thus begins their back and forth, as both have walls up and secrets that keep them from actually trusting or engaging fully. Through challenges and rescues, Alice is convinced there’s more to Jay’s story than she knows, yet the seeming complicity to keep her in the dark is frustrating. Through struggles and growth, the attraction between the two cannot be denied, but Jay’s walls and pushing Alice further and further away become too much, and she heads off to Thailand, triathlon unfinished and weeks earlier than planned. Throughout the story Alice’s ocd tendencies become less of a shortcoming for her and others, as people rely on her ‘quirks’ and organization – since most of it makes sense and their live easier. Fitting in comfortably with Cath, and welcomed (mostly) by the locals, there’s plenty of opportunity for Alice to grow and discover that adventure isn’t everything, and perhaps finding a place with friends, love and potential is all she needs. Clever plotting with issues that are large, but not insurmountable, Alice’s need to organize becomes less a disorder and more her personality – as she comes to lean that being busy isn’t actually solving anything, and perhaps thinking and talking things through are more important to her future and potential. A lovely debut that has me wanting more from Castle Cove just to see how everyone has fared. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
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Alice Appleton has moved to Castle Cove, Dorset following the death of her mother unexpectedly. Her mother's death has been a huge wake-up call and she realises that her life has become very narrow, she was too busy with her work in a busy restaurant to visit her mother until it was too late. Now she has big plans, to run the annual Castle Cove marathon in honour of her mother and to visit her father in Thailand. If only she could get over her pesky fear of the sea. Jay O'Donnell has lived in Castle Cove practically his entire life. A carpenter and a volunteer with the lifeboats he is constantly disappointed by the risks people take with their lives, swimming and sailing when the sea is too rough. When he sees a woman in a wet suit at the water's edge when the sea is far too choppy for swimming he can't help but express his exasperation. The next day he can't believe it when he sees the same woman riding a bicycle without any lights through the countryside, in order to keep her safe he follows slowly behind her allowing his headlights to light the road for her. Poor Alice is standing at the water's edge desperately trying to get up the courage to get her toes wet when an incredibly sexy man starts yelling at her and won't listen to anything she has to say. The following day she is nearly run off the road on her bicycle by the same man who followed her all the way to work, scaring her half to death. Despite their inauspicious start Jay and Alice are also attracted to each other, but they each have their own issues to deal with which could easily tear them apart. I was in a real reading slump, starting lots of books and giving them up half-way but this book lifted me right out. What's not to love about an OCD waitress and a carpenter who wants to save everyone falling in love in a small Devon town? If you like the idea of cosy communities where everyone gathers at the local pub for food, live music and gossip, where school friends live and work closely together, and where the local postman can tell you the contents of your mail before you open it - then this is definitely for you! I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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A Google user
A lovely, modern, romantic story. Full wonderful characters and some sizzling attraction. A great holiday read.
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