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Normally I review books in their own post, but today I have decided to review books four and five of The Cosy Cottage Café series in this one post.
This series is written by the lovely Rachel Griffiths who has created the idyllic village of Heatherlea and some of the loveliest characters that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in a book.


Spring at The Cosy Cottage Café

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Description:

Artist Honey Blackwell is happy with her life. Well, almost. She lives in the picturesque village of Heatherlea, has three close friends and a soft spot for local supply teacher Dane Ackerman. If only she could put her past behind her and embrace the present.


Dane is working hard to prove himself at the village primary school and doesn’t really have time for love, but he’s drawn to Honey and hopes she feels the same. When a permanent teaching position is advertised in Heatherlea, he faces stiff competition to secure it.


As Honey and Dane deal with the ups and downs of life, will they be able to find a way to be together, or will they have to accept that sometimes love just isn’t enough?


My Thoughts:

The fourth instalment of The Cosy Cottage Café allows readers to see Spring from the perspective of Honey Blackwell, the final member of the group of friends who meet up at the Café regularly to sample the delights cooked up, share the ups and downs of life and generally keep each other going when life gets tricky. Honey is a character that we’ve briefly glimpsed in previous books, she always comes across as easy going, cheery and an all round lovely lass who never fails to make everyone around her smile.

Honey has recently embarked on a relationship with Dane Ackerman, a local supply teacher but neither of them has actually put a label on the relationship, so they’re at the stage where their friends all know that they’re a couple, even if they don’t quite know they’ve reached that point yet. Watching their relationship develop and getting to know both of these characters better is definitely a treat, being able to learn about Honey’s past makes her even more lovable.
As well as her lovely personality, Honey has wonderfully bright coloured hair, a bit like a unicorn but it all adds to her charm. The names she’s given her chickens made me laugh so much!

As well as getting to read Honey’s story, Griffiths continues the stories of her other characters in Heatherlea in the background, meaning that fans of the series can see how life has moved on for Camilla, Allie and Dawn after their books.
The thing I love about these books is that the characters have become so real to me, I eagerly look forward to catching up with them and seeing what they’ve been up to. The setting of Heatherlea is lovely, the descriptions are so vivid and make it seem like the sort of place you would love to visit. Although, word of warning, do not read this when you’re hungry. The food created in the Café is likely to have you drooling and wishing you could taste it!


A Wedding at The Cosy Cottage Café

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When Allie Jones’ daughter, Mandy, arrives at The Cosy Cottage Café in tears one spring morning, Allie is extremely concerned. She’s been worried about her career-driven daughter for a while, and she’s hoping she’ll finally get to find out what’s wrong.

Dawn Dix-Beaumont has her hands full with three young children, a husband who works from home and the guinea pig family that lives in her garden. She’s happier than she’s ever been, but is it too good to last?

Camilla Dix is madly in love with local vet Tom Stone. Being with Tom and cuddling her baby niece have stirred feelings she didn’t know she had, but it’s far too soon to be making long-term plans. Isn’t it?

Honey Blackwell’s boyfriend, Dane Ackerman, has secured his teaching post at Heatherlea Primary School and they’ve decided to live together. Everything seems to be working out well, until a member of Honey’s household expresses a clear dislike for the handsome teacher.

Plus someone has been planning a proposal…

Join Allie and her friends this summer as cakes are baked, secrets are shared and surprises bring smiles and tears at The Cosy Cottage Café.

My Thoughts:

The fifth part of the series and what a book this is! After the revelations in the previous book, I went into this book wondering who’s wedding was going to feature here, there were three options and I could not wait to see who would be getting the fairy tale happy ever after moment. After a year of stories following the group of friends, this was the perfect way to tie up the four seasons, each of the main stories has reached a wonderful point filled with happiness and laughter.

It’s possible to pick up any of the books in the series to read as a stand alone, including this one but I do think to get the full story it’s worth reading the full set of books to get the backstories, enjoy the build up and drool over the delights that Allie whips up in the Café.

I don’t want to say too much about the plot and give anything away, but this is a wonderful way to pass an afternoon with plenty of laughter and feel good moments.
The style of writing makes this such a light and enjoyable read, the characters are appealing and relatable and the story draws readers in.

The only downside is that I have to bid Heatherlea farewell now.

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** My thanks to Rachel Griffiths for my copy of this book **

 

Description:

Camilla Dix is fiercely independent. Growing up, she had to be strong for her mother and younger sister after her father left them for a new life in Benidorm. Camilla has kept her heart firmly closed to love, and never allows her relationships with men to develop into anything serious.

Tom Stone moved to Heatherlea for a fresh start. He’s been hurt in the past and has no intention of making himself vulnerable again. The only company he wants at night is that of his rescue British Bulldog Hairy Pawter.

However, when Camilla and Tom meet, they can’t deny their mutual attraction, and something deeper soon develops between them.

As snows falls over Heatherlea, mulled wine flows and festive carols fill the air, but can Camilla and Tom put their fears aside and trust each other enough to let love in?

This is the third of four short stories in The Cosy Cottage Café series.

Now available:

Summer at The Cosy Cottage Café
Autumn at The Cosy Cottage Café
Winter at The Cosy Cottage Café

Coming soon:

Spring at The Cosy Cottage Café

 

My Thoughts & Review:

I make no secret that I have absolutely loved this series of novellas so far, there’s such a lovely warmth that these books exude and it almost feels like a hug in book form when you pick one of these up.
So following on from the events in Autumn at The Cosy Cottage Cafe, readers are reunited with Camilla who is the sister of Dawn.

Camilla is a very different woman from her sister, she’s single and guards her heart from romantic entanglements.  Her parents broke up when she was a child, and despite her young years she took on caring for her younger sister.  Ensuring their money went as far as possible so they could have food, keeping a close eye on Dawn and generally being a parent to her mother and sister when they needed it.
Unfortunately this meant that Camilla grew up before she was ready, and so her ideas of relationships were tainted by her father’s actions and the subsequent breakdown of her mother.
It’s inevitable that she would keep her heart closed off to love, but this never stopped her from appreciating company of others or dating.  All was well and good until Tom Stone arrived in Heatherlea.

Tom Stone is the local vet, and quite a dreamy sounding character.  He has a kind heart and cares about those around him, and fate seems to want Tom and Camilla in the same space at the same time.  Several chance encounters leaving Camilla leaping over walls to hide from him etc before they do end up speaking properly and a friendship forms.
Their friendship feels very natural and genuine, both enjoying the company of the other and Camilla appreciating Tom’s culinary abilities as well as time spent with her new friend Hairy Pawter.

Following the ups and downs of a budding relationship, readers are privy to Camilla’s thoughts as she falls for Tom.  I don’t think there’s many out there that wouldn’t fall for Tom after reading about him.
It’s also lovely to catch up with the other members of Heatherlea, seeing Dawn, Rick and the kids (and Wallace!), Allie and Chris, all of their lives are woven together and it’s like grabbing a coffee with old friends when you encounter them in the book.  Eagerly catching up on what’s been happening in their lives and how their relationships have progressed.

As the third installment of the series, Winter, contains themes that have featured in all of the books, love, relationships and family but there’s something else here, it feels more serious in a way with the exploration of the complexities of relationships.

Rachel Griffiths has a wonderful way of writing that really draws readers into the story, her characters come alive and you begin to imagine them as real people.  The settings mentioned in the story feel so real, you can almost see the Cottage Cafe and the delicious delights that Allie serves up, see the magic of the Christmas market and you find yourself sharing in the excitement of the characters.  The humour woven throughout is utterly brilliant, I found that I was laughing out loud in places, much to the confusion of my dogs.

The perfect read in the build up to Christmas, plenty laughter, love and wonderful escapism.  Highly recommended!!

You can buy a copy of Winter at The Cosy Cottage Cafe via  Amazon UK

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** My thanks to Rachel Griffiths for the opportunity to read a copy of this book **

 

Description:

Motherhood has been one of the great blessings of Dawn Dix-Beaumont’s life but with her children’s growing independence, it’s finally time for Dawn to return to teaching. However, Mother Nature has other ideas…

Rick Beaumont loves his family but he’s busier than ever. With his high-flying career, two children and a third on the way, there’s a lot to juggle.

Battling expectations, disappointments and a few surprises along the way, Dawn and Rick find their commitment to each other tested to the limit. The next steps they take will be the most important of their lives.

So when the pressure mounts and an important decision has to be made, will Dawn and Rick’s marriage become stronger than ever, or will it be time to move in different directions?

This is the second of four short stories in The Cosy Cottage Café series.

 

My Thoughts & Review:

This is my second foray into The Cosy Cottage Café series, and so far I’m loving it.  There’s something so comforting and homely about the setting of these books that just calls out to me, and I think will call out to many readers.  I do think that if Rachel were to give up reading and build The Cosy Cottage there would be people flocking to it from miles around the country (note, please do not give up writing Rachel, you cannot do that to me or any of your other fans….we NEED your books).

Anyway……it’s now Autumn in the village of Heatherlea and the focus has shifted from Allie, to feature Dawn and Rick and their expanding brood.
Dawn and Rick are preparing for their third child, but some unexpected niggles are plaguing Dawn making her question just how solid the foundations of her marriage are.  Rick seems to be hiding a secret from her and her hormones are making her mind run at a hundred miles an hour with panic and worry.

There’s something about the way that the characters are written in each of Rachel Griffith’s books that just makes them seem so real.  Throughout reading this I was so aware that I was thinking of Dawn as a real person, almost as a friend who needed a shoulder to cry on or someone to try bolstering her confidence now and again.  My heart certainly went out to her in the midst of her panic and worries, especially when she was suffering with morning sickness and trying to maintain a front of normality.
I loved that Allie was there in the background at the café, on hand to offer peppermint cordial and ginger cookies to help her friend, that’s the sort of friend we all need!  And it was nice to see that the relationship between Allie and Chris from book one has continued to blossom.

A special mention has to go to Wallace and Lula the guinea pigs, absolutely loved these guys and was chuckling aloud at certain parts of the books where these guys were involved!

The perfect book to read with a cuppa and a cheeky chocolate biscuit, but at least the book is calorie free!  Cannot recommend this series enough, so warm, so lovely and just what you need on a cold afternoon.
Looking forward to the next installment of the series now, Winter at The Cosy Cottage Café.

 

You can buy a copy of Autumn at the Cosy Cottage Café via Amazon

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Published: 29 May 2017

 

Description:

Allie Jones loves her cosy cottage café in the picturesque village of Heatherlea. She has her independence, two grown-up children and two cute cats. Life is settled and she thinks she’s happy.

Author Chris Monroe has it all. Critical success, a luxurious London apartment, and the kind of jet-set lifestyle most people dream of. But something’s missing.

When a family bereavement throws these two old friends together, they begin to question the true meaning of happiness.

Love is in the air, but do Allie and Chris have room in their hands-on lives for more than a summer fling?

This is the first of four short stories in The Cosy Cottage Café series.

My Thoughts & Review:

Summer at the Cosy Cottage Cafe was a book I came across by chance and as soon as I started reading it I knew it was fate that had brought this book to me.  It’s utterly divine, from the beautiful cover, the superb writing and the incredibly mouthwatering delights mentioned this is a book that is perfect for the summer (or anytime you want to read it!).

Usually with novellas there is a danger that the story is over before it really has a chance to begin, or too much is squeezed in but here this is not the case.  The plot is well structured and thought out to ensure that enough happens to keep readers entertained but the pace is gentle enough to let readers feel that they can curl up with this story and become utterly lost in it.

Allie is a 40 something woman who has thrown herself into her business following the death of her husband Roger a few years ago, it has taken hard work and determination but she has built a successful business in the village that is now the go to place for events and the choice caterer for many people.  It’s through this connection that she is catering the funeral for the mother of an old friend.  The old friend in question is Chris, a famous author that Allie and her husband Roger were once friends with in their youth.

From the moment Chris is introduced the story becomes even lovelier, Allie determined not to start anything but realising she is attracted to Chris and it would seem he feels the same way about her.  Both characters work well together and are a delight to read about, the gentle humour, the familiar friendship they have all adds to the overall appeal of the story.

A word of caution perhaps, do not read this book when hungry.  There are cakes and pastries mentioned that will have you drooling and desperately ransacking the kitchen in search of cake, and if it’s anything like this house you’ll have to make do with some digestive biscuits instead and that just isn’t the same.

Rachel Griffiths has a wonderful way of bring her characters and story alive, with such rich details about settings and characters it’s not hard to imagine the cramped upstairs of Allie’s cottage, the hilarity of *that* moment in the pub, or indeed the loveliness of the cafe.  I cannot wait to read more of the Cosy Cottage Cafe series, and will be adding Rachel Griffiths to my list of favoured authors.

 

You can buy a copy of Summer at the Cosy Cottage Cafe via Amazon

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