Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Emma's Review:Confetti at the Cornish Cafe by Phillipa Ashley

Reviewed by Emma Crowley

Cal and Demi are preparing to launch their beloved Kilhallon Resort as a wedding venue. Cakes are baking, Cornish flowers are blooming, and fairy lights are twinkling. With the cliff-top setting and coastal views, it's the perfect place for a magical marriage ceremony.

But their first clients are no ordinary couple. The bride and groom are internationally famous actors Lily Craig and Ben Trevone. Kilhallon is about to host a celebrity wedding . . .
With the pressure on, Demi and Cal are doing all they can to keep their guests happy and avoid any wedding disasters. But is the unpredictable weather the only thing standing in the way of the Big Day?

As secrets surface and truths are told, can Demi and Cal ensure that Kilhallon's first wedding is a success? One thing’s for sure, this will be a Cornish celebration to remember . . .

Amazon link: Kindle 

What a welcome return to Cornwall for the final visit to characters have come to love so much, Cal and Demi in Philippa Ashley's Confetti at the Cornish Cafe. The last time we meet them it was Christmas and even though several months have passed in between as soon as I read the first chapter it felt like I had never been away from these wonderfully written characters and the equally as wonderful setting of the Cornish coast. It really was like catching up with old friends after a brief absence. Despite this being the third in the series it's easy to pick this one up and become familiar with the characters and their back stories quite quickly.

Within the first couple of chapters the author has brought her readers up to date with what has happened up to this point. How Cal and Demi have now come to be living with one another yet still are ever hesitant to make one final big commitment to each other? What exactly is holding both of them back? What state is Kilhallon Park at now? How is Demelza's cafe going? Does Mawgan Cade make a reappearance determined to ruin things once again? Will they make a success with the wedding aspect of the business? So many questions just from the first few chapters, I couldn't wait to get really stuck into this book and discover the answers. Soon I had readily lost myself in the story and devoured the entire book in two sittings and was left with a smile on my face upon completion.

All the previous setting up of little plotlines and the introduction of characters began to pay off in this story and it was lovely to see loose ends being connected and resolved but also a few new characters were thrown in to keep things fresh and entertaining. That was what this book was, an entertaining, lovely read with a cast of characters whom you have watched grow and develop. You have seen them weather many storms, both professional and personal, and are hoping that they will find happiness and success in all aspects of their lives. Of course this cannot be attempted to be achieved without a few bumps in the road.

If this last book in the series proved all plain sailing and fun and joy it wouldn't have felt the same as the other two books. Instead Phillipa gets the balance right between humour, fun and love combined with a few more serious issues and I loved every minute of it. Demi is at a really good place now in her life. You can see that the girl we first met living on the streets with her dog Mitch is long gone. She is full of confidence and has courage and heaps of ambition. She feels with Cal by her side they can really make a go of the park and have it as a successful holiday resort.  Now they are turning their attentions to weddings. Will it prove one step too far or will Demi prove she has another string to her bow? Or will Cal's demons come to the fore and damage everything they have worked towards?
I've read numerous books recently with wedding themes and trying to get a business off the ground, coping with bridezilla's, the weather etc and honestly I am becoming ever so slightly jaded with it all. Thankfully the author only decided to focus on weddings for book three as if it had been the anchor of the entire series I don't think I would have been reading this book. Clearly Phillipa Ashley had the story all planned out and spread out over three books. She knew where she wanted to take Cal and Demi's story and I feel I have been on a real journey with them from beginning to end. I have watched them fall in love, have arguments, doubt each other and the ultimate goal they were. working towards for Kilhallon park. It never felt rushed or contrived or at the same just that little bit stretched out. Instead a fine balance was achieved.

It has been a pleasure to witness such a special relationship develop .All the little incidents and the other characters who feature added that extra something and made the story one I will remember for a long time. I feel all the time I have invested in the series has been more than worth it. Now I found Demi to be far different from the girl we had first met. She is loving running Demelza's café and as before the tempting treats baked there and its location I could visualise so easily in my head even though I have never been to Cornwall before. The setting and descriptions of the park have been spot on throughout and have helped create a real positive, magical feeling throughout the book that wouldn't fail to warm your heart.

As for the wedding aspect of the story that this book focuses on Cal and Demi along with assistant Polly (who really is like the mother hen of the story) have a battle on their hands to make sure the wedding of celebrities Lily and Ben goes off without a hitch. For once the bride wasn't the bridezilla type of character which has become such a cliché in women's fiction. Lily was vulnerable, quiet and clearly had other things on her mind. She came across as needing protection whereas Ben appeared indifferent to everything going on and was just more aware of his status. I enjoyed how Lily wasn't that far beyond reach movie starlet so that Demi could get to know her better and provide the wedding of her dreams.

Although regarding some of the unexpected things that happened with the preparations the person I had disliked so intensely in previous books seemed to be making themselves unknown purely for their own gain and selfish reasons. As this was the last book in the series things had to have a definite ending and I was hoping Cal's demons could finally be laid to rest because I believed that was one of the things holding himself and Demi back from just going for it and embracing true happiness. Cal's storyline was handled with great tact and sensitivity and sadly all too relevant for the times we live in today.

Confetti at the Cornish Café was simply the perfect ending to a brilliant series which has been filled with such warm,lovable characters who all experience their ups and downs but that's what makes you root for them even more. The story is infused with warmth, understanding and humour and before you know it you wish you could move to the resort or surrounding areas and have Demi and Cal as friends. Now is the right time to end the series as writing any more would be stretching things just that bit too much and I would hate for any of the warmth and magic to be lost. I'm sad to leave the characters behind but how everything all panned out was just the way I wanted it too. If you haven't read anything by Phillipa Ashley before don't hesitate in the slightest in picking up this book. It's a truly gorgeous read.

Many thanks to Avon Books UK for my copy of Confetti at the Cornish Café to review via NetGalley and to Sharon for having my review on the blog.

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