Lizzie Dixon's life feels as though it's fallen apart. Instead of the marriage proposal she was hoping for from her boyfriend, she is unceremoniously dumped, and her job is about to go the same way. So, there's only one option: to go back home to the village she grew up in and to try to start again.
Her best friend Jemma is delighted Lizzie has come back home as she has just bought a little cafe and Lizzie's sewing skills are just what she needs to help get it ready for the grand opening.
With a new venture and a new home, things are looking much brighter for Lizzie. But can she get over her broken heart, and will an old flame reignite a love from long ago...?
Firstly I owe a massive apology to Heidi Swain and her publishers Simon and Schuster as I've had a copy of her debut novel The Cherry Tree Cafe from NetGalley on my Kindle for quite some time so thought it was about time that I finally reviewed it.
What do you do when your future doesn't go the way you'd planned? When her birthday meal ends up with boyfriend Giles breaking up with her instead of proposing, Lizzie realises that she can no longer afford to stay in the luxury flat in London on her own or face seeing Giles in the office every day so she decides to pack her bags and and return home to Wynbridge to the comfort of her family and friends.
Jemma, Lizzie's best friend, and her husband Tom have just taken on the lease of the local cafe and enlist Lizzie's help with the revamp and re-opening of The Cherry Tree Cafe. And before long it's a joint effort as Jemma baking skills and Lizzie's flare for needlecraft are combined to offer an unique experience for people to come together to be creative and enjoy a treat or two at the same time.
Anyone who knows me knows that I do not have a creative bone in my body but I was soon caught up in the lives of Lizzie and Jemma and their plans, I literally could not put the book down and within a couple of hours I'd read the book from start to finish. I was swept away as I visualised their transformation of the cafe, I could picture the craft corner and everyone sewing their wares led by Lizzie, and could almost smell the signature Cherry and Chocolate cupcakes served up by Jemma. Of course nothing is ever straightforward, and there are a few hiccups and misunderstandings to overcome that threaten to pull their plans apart.
Both Lizzie and Jemma were down-to-earth, relatable characters who you would love to have as a friend, they truly were the perfect partnership. Jemma had everything Lizzie wanted, a loving husband and young daughter Ella, Lizzie's goddaughter, so maybe now that she's returned home and is rebuilding her life this could be her own future one day... but who will be her prince charming? It would seem that there's more than one possible suitor but are they really who they seem... the last thing Lizzie needs is to get her heart trampled on again.
I really loved the setting and community feel of Wynbridge, it really did feel like the sort of place that you would love to live and be a part of the village life. Everybody knows everyone and being on hand to offer friendship and support, but at the same time knowing when you need that bit of space and time to yourself.
The one consolation about not reading The Cherry Tree Cafe straight away is that I have been able to dive straight into Summer at Skylark Farm and Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage, both of which are also set in Wynbridge so I'm hoping that we will reunite with old friends as well as being introduced to new ones.
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