Book Review: 'The Second Chance Cafe in Carlton Square' by Lily Bartlett

Twitter: @MicheleGormanUK
Publication Date: June 1st 2017
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC

When Michele Gorman reached out to me about The Second Chance Cafe in Carlton Square, I was excited to get stuck in. It sounded right up my street. Furthermore, I was looking forward to reading a new Author.

Emma is twenty seven, married and has twins, she can be rather frazzly and just wants everything to work out OK. The Second Chance cafe is her dream and she has put her all in to it. She has a wonderful support system in her Mum, Dad and friends, but she is struggling with the work load and how things have changed at home with her husband since the twins have been born. There's also someone poisoning her flower pots, stealing her milk and passing out nasty flyers about her around the square. Will she get to the bottom of this in order to keep her Cafe a float? Will everything be OK with her marriage? And will the troubled teens she hired to keep them off the streets, and give them a chance, open up to her and actually want to learn?

I found this book to be a slow build but one I thoroughly enjoyed reading. I kept wanting to turn the pages and find out what was going on in everyone's lives and if the little mysteries at the Cafe would be solved. Our leading lady Emma was incredibly endearing. I loved that she just wanted everything to work out and how it made her so happy to see others happy. I especially liked that she opened the cafe and wanted to hire vulnerable teens in order to train them and give them an opportunity and a chance to make something of themselves. Following their stories and seeing them grow in the cafe and stay out of trouble was very heartwarming and one of my favourite things about this book. It also added some humor to this story as Emma tried to navigate and understand teen minds. I found myself giggling a few times when it came to how teenage act these days, but it also opened my eyes too, when Emma had to slap her wrists for being judgmental.

This book had a wonderfully real element to it in regards to Emma and her family life. She is struggling to balance work and babies and spending time with her husband. It was a little frustrating at first when she got mad at Daniel, her husband, as I felt that sometimes they could have resolved things better and talked more. I don't feel she ever truly expressed why she was getting so upset. They did work things out and it made me smile to see their bond and love for each other stay strong through the struggles, but I could also understand Emma's heartache at times and wish she would have expressed them differently. In saying that though, I do think Daniel was rather lovely. His belief in Emma and her Cafe was touching and he clearly loved his family.

Two of my favourites characters from this book were Emma's Mum and Dad. Oh they were beautiful. Learning about their story and what they went through and also have to go through on a daily basis bought a tear to my eye. Her Dad's love for her, her children and also his sheer determination to live and do things on his own was inspiring. The whole family really were amazing, I loved their closeness and that they were always their for each other.

The Cafe itself was a dream. I enjoyed visiting it everyday in book world but very much wanted to actually go there in the real world. From the scrumptious sounding cakes to the bunting and wall of flowers outside, it sounded gorgeous and like the perfect spot for an afternoon coffee and cake break, while people watching. The way Emma welcomed everyone in to her cafe and the way it took on a life of it's own for every one who came in was really special. It was cool to think of such a wide mix of people hanging out, from mothers, to hipsters, to teenagers, to the elderly, they all embraced each other and made the cafe a home.

The Second Chance Cafe in Carton Square makes for a delightful Summer read. It will have you craving thick slices of chocolate and Guinness cake and striking up conversations with strangers, because after all, there's room for everyone. Pick up your copy today! :)

Happy Reading.


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