One summer can change everything . . .
Demi doesn’t expect her summer in Cornwall to hold anything out of the ordinary. As a waitress, working all hours to make ends meet, washing dishes and serving ice creams seems to be as exciting as the holiday season is about to get.
That’s until she meets Cal Penwith. An outsider, like herself, Cal is persuaded to let Demi help him renovate his holiday resort, Kilhallon Park. Set above an idyllic Cornish cove, the once popular destination for tourists has now gone to rack and ruin. During the course of the Cornish summer, Demi makes new friends – and foes – as she helps the dashing and often infuriating Cal in his quest. Working side by side, the pair grow close, but Cal has complications in his past which make Demi wonder if he could ever truly be interested in her.
Demi realises that she has finally found a place she can call home. But as the summer draws to a close, and Demi’s own reputation as an up and coming café owner starts to spread, she is faced with a tough decision . . .
Review: This book is the first in a series of three set in a Cornish seaside village, and the first story I have read from Phillipa Ashley. I found it very easy to read, and it had me hooked from the first page. It has all sorts of elements to appeal to a wide range of readers, with beautiful coastal scenery, lots of lovely food, a strong cast of characters and even an adorable sounding shaggy dog.
The central players are Demi (short for Demelza) Jones and Cal Penwith. Cal has recently returned from working for a charity in the Middle East to find his family home, once a successful holiday park, run down and in need of repairs he cannot afford, and his girlfriend engaged to his best friend. Demi and her faithful hound, Mitch, are sleeping rough and she jumps at the chance of a job working for Cal to try and get the holiday park a going concern once more. Nothing runs smoothly; there are all sorts of obstacles that come along to make difficulties for them. Cal isn't the easiest person to work with either - he's definitely a Ross Poldark type - dark and moody. The other main characters in the story are also strong and interesting, although they are definitely not all loveable.
I really enjoyed this story from start to finish. In particular, it was great to watch Demi gain in confidence and the relationship between her and Cal develop as the story unfolded. The narrative was split between these two characters, which I occasionally found confusing, but not a big problem. The book would make a great summer read with all the descriptions of sun, sea and sand, but it would be equally good as something to read while curled up by the fire dreaming of sunny holidays. The only thing I would say is that the title might make you think it is a tale about a cafe, whereas the cafe in question is a pipe dream for most of the book. I am eagerly waiting to read the next book in the series and looking forward to finding out how Demi and Cal's professional and personal relationships are developing.