Review: This book follows on from the brilliant Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe, which I read earlier in the year and absolutely loved. I was looking forward to reading this one and meeting up with all the lovely characters in the first book again. Even if I hadn't read the other book, I would have been drawn to this one not only by its theme, being a lover of all things Christmas, but by its cover - that's definitely one to stop you in your tracks.
The earlier book in the series dealt mainly with Laura and her family when they first encounter The Comfort Food Cafe. This story, on the other hand, revolves around Laura's sister, Becca, who comes to spend Christmas and the preceding few weeks with her sister in the pretty little Dorset seaside town which is the setting for the cafe. Becca has always been the difficult sister growing up, and particularly hates Christmas for a reason that becomes apparent as the story unfolds. However, she is willing to try to join in the festivities this year to please her sister, who she loves very much. She is soon drawn into the community surrounding the cafe as she meets all the charming people who Laura has got to know through working at the cafe and living in the town. It was great to find all the zany characters from the earlier book, including the cafe's slightly eccentric owner, Cherie, her pink-haired helper, Willow, Edie, the elderly lady who is living partly in the past, the dishy local vet and Laura's boyfriend, Matt, and the hunky Surfer Sam.
I enjoyed this book just as much as I had its predecessor. It is a truly heart-warming tale, perfect for a Christmas story, and I loved all of the characters without exception. At first, I thought it wasn't as amusing as the first story, but Debbie's humour came through as the book progressed. Having said that, the story doesn't lack depth and deals with some serious issues as we discover more about Becca's past. Although this is a sequel to an earlier book, it stands alone nicely, although if you haven't read the first one, you will almost certainly want to once you finish this.