There’s something so completely comforting about diving into a heart-warming story about a bunting-strewn café groaning with delicious home-baked cakes.
Is The Cherry Tree Café particularly original? Nope, not at all – and honestly, I wouldn’t want it to be. I picked up this pretty, pink novel hoping for a warm and fuzzy sweet treat of a read – and that’s exactly what Swain delivered.
It’s a story of friends coming together to launch a new business venture – a charming café, with themes of hope and romance along the way.
Lizzie’s London life is crumbling around her – ditched by her boyfriend and on the brink of losing her job she decides a ‘tree change’ in order. Throwing her things into the car, Lizzie heads to the country village where she grew up to take refuge with her best friend Jemma.
Jemma has just bought a local café and quickly recruits Lizzie’s legendary sewing skills to help lick the place into shape with new curtains, tablecloths and colourful bunting.
Lizzie’s broken confidence starts to re-build as she considers holding a crafting workshop in the café. Of course, all good frothy, pink chick-lit novels need a love interest and an old flame is thrown in her path. Will Lizzie be able to get her love life stitched up once and for all?
There are lots of things I liked about Lizzie’s character. She has a great sense of humour and demonstrates chutzpah at the start of the book by throwing Louboutins at her sliny ex’s head, as any sensible girl should.
However as the story progressed, I couldn’t help but feel wildly frustrated over her dithering about holding crafting workshops in the café.
I understand Swain’s development of the character is intended to show us Lizzie’s progress as she rebuilds her life following a string of disasters in London. Yet, I frequently wanted to shake Lizzie shouting, “It’s only a bloody craft workshop. What are you so freaked about?” as she flip-flops back and forth as to whether she’s up to the challenge.
Thankfully, she manages to grow a pair just in time and her crafting workshops are a resounding success. Hurrah!
I loved Enid Blyton’s Cherry Tree Farm series as child, so for me, there was something lovely and soothing about the title of this book. The descriptions, delightfully, proved as delicious as the title and cover.
The style is similar to Jenny Colgan’s – a favourite chick lit author of mine who frequently indulges her love of baking via her books such as Meet Me At The Cupcake Café.
Similarly, Swain’s descriptions will transport you to a cosy, warm café – gentle chinking teacups in the background as the smell of freshly-baked scones wafts through the air.
I’m very easily influenced – whenever I read a book like this I want to don a floral apron a la Nigella and whip up a perfect Victoria Sponge.
As long as your expectations aren’t too high, this is a pleasant and enjoyable read focusing on themes of reinvention and romance. Easy escapism and best enjoyed with a large mug of tea, and slice of something fresh from the oven.
“We sat together under the cherry blossom with blankets around our legs, sipping champagne, the excitement already mounting for the next day when the Café would open properly for the first time.”
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