Thanks to NetGalley, I’ve read two of Debbie Johnson’s Comfort Food Café books:
Summer at the Comfort Food Café and Sunshine at the Comfort Food Café. Debbie Johnson says she gets letters from fans wishing that the Comfort Food Café really existed. Don’t we all? A place where everybody knows your name and your favourite food, even if it’s a fish finger sandwich. Where, whatever life throws at you, a network of support will immediately materialise. An idealised village (Budworth) of eccentric characters, always ready to help each other out. There’s a fixed cast of characters based at the café, which is owned and presided over by earth mother Cherie. Then each book focuses on an individual character and her problems.
In Summer at, widowed Laura lives in Manchester, going through the motions for the sake of her two children but still grieving for what she’s lost. Then she applies for a summer job as a cook at the Comfort Food Café and packs her disgruntled children into the car, away from the city lights and down to rural Dorset. She fits right in, loving to feed people and happy to listen to their problems. She’s just the sort of empathetic person Cherie wants at the café and when her six weeks’ ‘holiday’ is up, she has to decide between the familiarity of city life in Manchester and a different life amongst her new friends.
Sunshine at is mostly about Willow, a young woman we met previously working at the café, notable for her bright pink hair. Willow has the problem of looking after a mother with Alzheimer’s while holding down two jobs. It’s a lot to ask and, this being the Comfort Food Café, she gets the help she needs. This is the latest CFC book and I liked it even better than the first. If you’re looking for feel good books, these are for you. They feature very modern people, living in an old-fashioned way, with romance thrown in for those who can't do without it. There are two more: Christmas at the Comfort Food Café and Coming Home to the Comfort Food Café. I’ve already got hold of one of them.