On the beautiful French coast lies the Café Belle Vie, a peaceful haven offering a warm welcome and delicious pains au chocolat – and where Natalie’s quiet life is about to be turned upside down…
When thirty-one-year-old Natalie Bright’s boyfriend dumps her and immediately gets engaged to his ex-girlfriend, she escapes her heartbreak and moves to the charming village of Chamillon on the Île de Ré.
She’s determined to build a new life there: writing about farmer’s markets for a local magazine, exploring the local vineyards on her bike, and taking advantage of the sunshine. And in the Café Belle Vie she finds a bustling community – including new best friend Charlie – and a near-constant supply of cakes.
All in all, things are looking pretty good.
So when a blast from the past – her teenage crush Jay Merino – suddenly turns up in Chamillon, Natalie’s thrown. She’s sworn off men ever since she moved to France, but she and Jay have a connection that stretches back years.
But could taking a chance on an old flame complete her new life – or ruin everything she’s worked so hard for?
I enjoyed this story way more than I was anticipating. The story line was paced perfectly, not too fast, not too slow, as Goldielocks would say, just right (I’m not that cheesy, read the book and you’ll get the reference). So it’s filled with cheesy “yeah right” moments (but what BritChickLit isn’t?) it still had me smiling, laughing, mouth open (predictable can still have unpredictable moments) and kept me wanting to read more. It helped that the writing was captivating – I stayed up way past my bed time because I didn’t want to put it down.
I love a good rekindled romance. Our main character Natalie has a little history with Jay Merino – over a decade ago they shared one night of talking followed by a quick kiss – it’s not much but it has vibes of those ‘what if’ moments that I’m sure we’ve all had throughout our lives. I think most of us have a ‘what if’ moment at least once in our lives and not everyone gets the chance to ever see what could have been. The story of Natalie and Jay is so sweet and meaningful because for once, someone gets to live out that ‘what if’ moment, even if it didn’t end in a happily ever after, it puts an end to the wondering.
I also thoroughly enjoyed how independent Natalie is throughout the story. She knows how to stick up for herself, doesn’t try to pretend she’s in some ‘love at first sight’ fairy tale and would never compromise her integrity to get a job.
I was so into the story I had to get out and continue reading at my favourite little French Cafe here in Calgary, Sucre. I was 100% pretending I was Natalie with a latte and a pain au chocolat (and a few macarons, don’t judge me, this place is overwhelming with delicious goodies!) – what she fails to tell you is how messy those pains au chocolat are, I was covered in crumbscrumbs!
I think it’s safe to say I have even found a new author to read more from. I’ve got my eye on “The Christmas Cafe at Seashell Cove” as a definite read for 2019 Christmas – ages away, I know, but it’s surprisingly not the only Christmas book I’ve already got lined up for this year.
Three predictions I had while reading:
- Natalie’s parents are so stubborn, yet so obviously still in love – they are going to end up back together or I’ll be heartbroken
- Jay and Natalie are going to end up together – but someone is going to spill the interview details and trust will be broken, will they be able to get past it?
- Either Fleur will try to ruin Natalie’s shot with the magazine or they’ll come together as bff against the misogynistic editor of Magnifique.
Was I right? You’ll have to wait to find out when you get your own copy of “Escape to the Little French Cafe” out March 18th let me know what your predictions are!
This book was provided to me by Netgalley and Book Outure Publishing in exchange for an honest review.