Tasha is living the perfect life. She has a great job. A luxurious house. A wonderful boyfriend. But everything isn’t always as it seems.
Emma loves her boyfriend, Ollie, but a new literacy course has her studying the charming professor.
Amy buries herself in her work, but a bookshop regular has her questioning whether she’s ready to love again.
Three different women. Three different romances. One quirky book club.
First, it should be noted that this is actually three different books wrapped into one compendium. Each section can be read as a single novel, but author Georgia Hill expertly packs callbacks to previous books as the series progresses. So, if Tash grows on you (and she will), don’t worry! She has plenty to say in the next two books, culminating in an ending that ties everything together.
Each of the stories centers around one of the women from the book club at The Little Book Café, and the location alone makes this work completely charming. But it’s the growth and eventual bond of the three women that will keep readers engaged. On the outside, each of the three women couldn’t be more different. Hill, though, weaves a common thread of self-doubt that creeps into their lives in varying ways. Tash questions her seemingly idyllic life, Amy lacks confidence, and Emma is just plain bored. As their narratives buck and weave, it’s no surprise that their lives ultimately intertwine—they’re just so suited for each other.
These carefully formed friendships represent one of the biggest appeals of Hill’s writing. When the three women gather for lunch or a slice of lemon drizzle from Millie Vanilla’s, the café next to the bookshop, it reads like sitting down with a couple of pals. It’s effortless.
However, Hill does not shy away from unlikable characters and difficult situations. There are a couple of characters and a few scenes that are downright despicable. This was actually a refreshing change of pace for a cozy romance as Hill explores abuse, predators, and the legal system in a tactful way. A happy ending is understood, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a bumpy ride.
This is not to suggest it’s all dark times in Berecombe. The romantic plots are strong and flow naturally for each of the three women with just enough drama to keep them lively. And of course, the titular bookshop scenes are a high point and will play especially well with anyone who has ever attempted a book club. As well, the secondary characters offer just enough quirk and fun to balance out the main stories, with the erotica-obsessed Biddy being a standout.
For a fun read with a bit of drama, stop by The Little Book Café.
Title: The Little Book Café
Author: Georgia Hill
Publication Date: December 13, 2018
Note: I received a free ARC of this book through NetGalley.