When Annie White steps back onto Cherry Pie Island, it’s safe to say her newly inherited Dandelion Café has seen better days! And while her childhood home on the Thames-side island idyll is exactly the same retreat from the urban bustle of London she remembers, Annie’s not convinced that Owner of The Dandelion Cafe is a title she’ll be keeping for long. Not that she can bear the idea of letting her dedicated, if endearingly disorganized staff lose their jobs. Plus café life does also have the added bonus of working a stone’s throw away from millionaire Matt and his disarmingly charming smile!
One (shoestring budget) café makeover, a few delightful additions to the somewhat retro menu and a lot of cherry pie tastings later, The Dandelion Café is ready for its grand reopening! But once she’s brought the dilapidated old café back to life, Annie finds herself wishing her stay on the island was just a bit longer. She always intended to go back to the big city…but could island living finally have lured her back home for good?
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The Grand Reopening of Dandelion Cafe is the first book in a new series of four books from Jenny Oliver set on the magical sounding Cherry Pie island.
When Annie inherits the Dandelion Cafe she returns home to Cherry Pie island to see whether it's possible to continue to run it from a distance or whether it's best to cut all ties and sell it for its development value. And she's not surprised to find that nothing has changed since she was a kid, the same tired fittings and even Martha is still working there, but it's the memories that make it hardest for her to let go...
From the off it was clear that there was history as to why Annie left the island, which we do eventually discover, and you could feel her indecision as to what to do with the cafe, sell or refurbish. Obviously she went with the latter by undergoing a budget makeover using whatever items/materials she could lay her hands on as otherwise there wouldn't have been a story to tell and I loved the way her friends, old and new, all pulled together to help her achieve her dream.
The island certainly appears to have a diverse mix of characters, certainly the ones we've met so far, and I'm definitely looking forward to getting to know more of them in the upcoming books in the series. I have to admit that if I had Jonathan as a brother I too might not want to come back and live on Cherry Pie Island permanently! And of course there has to be a hunk and Matt Walker, an old school friend, certainly fits the bill although he has his own issues that he's dealing with.
I loved the setting of this small island just off the Thames coastline so you have the big city environment close by if you want to enjoy the bright lights of what London has to offer but if the quiet life is more your thing then you can definitely enjoy that on Cherry Pie island.
Overall it's a fun, entertaining read and I'm definitely looking forward to discovering more about the island and its residents in the rest of the series. The Grand Reopening of Dandelion Cafe is available now and I've already pre-ordered The Vintage Ice Cream Van which is published next month but in the meantime you can go behind the scenes of Cherry Pie island on Jenny's website here.
If you're a budding baker and can get to London on 8th April then maybe you fancy taking part in the Pie Bake Off competition being organised by Carina UK. Details can be found at https://www.facebook.com/events/1483519051897659/
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