Hello, everyone! I had to get back to the beautiful writings of Lucy Diamond, didn’t I? Of course I did! Lucy inspired me so much from the moment I started reading her books and I just bought as many as I could because I felt a big connection to her type of writing. I will soon write about The Year of Taking Chances, which was also an incredible read but first, let’s talk about The Beach Café. I don’t know why but from the second I saw this title, I was pulled into reading it!
Just imagining being by the sea, having a cup of coffee on a chilly morning, that’s one of my favourite things in the world and definitely what I miss the most about my home country. This book has exactly that emplacement: the beach, the ocean, the tireless waves, the sunsets and sunrises.
We’re introduced to Evie, a woman in her 30s, who calls herself the ‘black sheep’ in the family. Straight away, I’m completely involved by the story. I related to Evie in this sense and it made me want to jump out of my skin whenever her family would appear in the story. Her sisters are not the most supportive and her parents don’t really seem to understand her choices either. She also feels as if she’s drowning in an empty ocean, with her rather obsessive and critical boyfriend and her very different family members.
The story begins with the death of Evie’s aunt (her mother’s sister) and we navigate to how the characters react to her death. Evie is clearly the most emotional one, as she was very fond of her cool aunt, who lived by the sea and owned a little beach Café. You see where the story’s going, right? The whole family takes off from Oxford to Cornwall, where the aunt lived, to attend the funeral. When reading her will, they all find out Evie has been given the café and everyone, including her boyfriend, dismiss her ability to run a café on her own, and they encourage her to sell it and put the money aside for her future. Evie becomes very torn, not knowing if she’s fit to run it, but also not wanting to dishearten her aunt’s wishes.
Lucy takes us through this battle inside Evie’s mind through a few chapters, revealing the authority her boyfriend has over her, and how he sees her as a drifting boat, not knowing where to go or what to do; it also let us see her touchy boss, and her depressing job. But Evie has a big heart, and thinking about her aunt and the employees she would now have to fire, she decides she’ll run the café all the way from Oxford and pop in for a few visits from time to time. This idea soon becomes impossible to continue, and you guessed right, Evie moves to Cornwall, decided to run the café and make it work. She leaves behind her unruly boss, dismissive ex-boyfriend and her unsupportive family!
The rest of the story shows us a very hard-working Evie. With many unfortunate events, Evie always manages to stand up again and brush away any damage. She doesn’t have an easy start, nor the village is very welcoming to her, but she powers through, on the hopes of making her aunt proud!
We get to know many beautifully written characters, who all contribute for Evie’s personal growth. We are constantly involved by the sounds of waves hitting the shore, the cool breeze in the mornings and the warm deep orange sunsets, who tug at our heartstrings just like a cup of hot coffee would in a chilly morning. It does get any more comfy than this!
My favourite character is… Phoebe. Well, alright, it’s Evie. But I was very emotionally involved with Phoebe too. Also, have you realised how their names rhyme? I think this was a great tribute to Jo (Evie’s aunt), because Evie would also run away to Cornwall and the café whenever she wouldn’t feel welcomed/understood by her parents! The rebellious breath in Phoebe, the heart and soul, is just the same as Evie’s. And Evie has become her aunt. Fully. In heart and body. Running the café on her own, assuming her independence, and guiding a misunderstood teenager in the relationship with her parents and siblings. And the thank you we get from Phoebe in the end, is the thank you Evie never got to say to her deceased aunt. Isn’t this amazing? Lucy really knows how to tie things together and take us on a roller-coaster ride.
And now, as always, some of my favourite passages from the book:
I love this sentence because Evie has now made her goal to be independent. However, what she doesn’t realise is that we all need help from our friends, our family. It is not a weakness to ask for help or to be ‘saved’. But she will figure that out later. 😉
I also loved Florence, an older lady, who shows up at the café one afternoon. Her character doesn’t seem to be of big importance, but what Evie creates because of her, really is. The community feeling is also one of the most important emotions in this book.
Have you read The Beach Café? What are your thoughts?
Happy Wednesday, catreaders!