Delighted to be kicking off the blog blitz today for Donna Ashcroft and ‘Summer at the Castle Cafe’. Big thank you to Bookouture for the blitz invite and the ARC of the book. Here is my review:
When Alice Appleton escapes to the beautiful seaside town of Castle Cove it’s the change of scenery she didn’t even realise she needed. Taking up a job in the charming Castle Café, Alice finds herself surrounded by cream teas, chocolate cake and quirky characters. Could this be the perfect place for Alice to embrace the summer?
Mysterious and handsome Jay O’Donnell has lived in picturesque Castle Cove since he was a child. As a volunteer on the lifeboats, his days by the sea are far from predictable. Haunted by a tragedy from his past, he’s on a mission to save as many people as possible. But when Alice Appleton walks into his life – and turns his world upside down – he begins to realise that perhaps it might just be his turn to be rescued…
As Alice and Jay find themselves unexpectedly falling for each other, will they learn the importance of letting go to make way for second chances? And will Alice find the life she’s always dreamed of in Castle Cove?
What does TWG think?
I must admit that I was a little bit unsure about ‘Summer at the Castle Cafe’ at first because there have been a lot of books published with summer/cafe/castle in the title and, being perfectly honest, I thought it was just going to be ‘another one of them’ type of books. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong if I tried. Donna Ashcroft’s novel isn’t samey, nor is it predictable. In fact, I feel quite confident in saying that ‘Summer at the Castle Cafe’ is in fact, pint-sized perfection.
Alice decided to take on a challenge in memory of her mother. A challenge which meant facing her own fears, and being constantly reminded of the things she, Alice, never did. Whilst trying to rid her conscience of the guilt surrounding her mothers memory, Alice happens to walk in the path of a man who is quite like herself. A man who has had his own fair share of heartaches. A man who puts himself on the line just to save other people. But, even with a lot of things in common, can Alice and Jay find the missing pieces of their own puzzles before it’s too late?
Alice has the type of personality which a lot of people may find ‘marmite’. She’s set in her ways, yet will go out of her way to help others, whilst also refusing help herself. The more I found out about Alice, the more I felt confident that she would be able to rise to the challenge of facing her fears and living life in the moment.
As for Jay, his personality seemed to take a little while to come out in the storyline and, once it became clear about what that man has had to deal with, I could see why it took a while for him to let his guard down. I thought it was very clever how the author changed the vibes to fit in with the characters.
For me, the whole theme of facing your fears, facing up to hardships and going that extra mile to re-build your confidence, struck multiple chords with me. I loved how, even though there were strong, emotional themes hidden within the storyline, there was also a mixture of laugh out loud moments to balance everything out.
‘Summer at the Castle Cafe’ reminded me of the perfect ice-cream on a summer’s day – sweet, addictive, beautiful to look at, filling, and full of tantalising contentment. This is a book that I could read over and over again, and still not get bored. I cannot wait to read more from this author if this book is anything to go by!
About the author.
Donna Ashcroft was born in London and grew up in Buckinghamshire. She went to university in Lancashire and, among other things, worked as a copywriter, buyer, waitress, secretary and marketing manager.
Donna wrote novels for over ten years before being published. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and was a joint winner of the Katie Fforde Bursary in 2017. Her first two books Summer at the Castle Cafe and Christmas at the Castle Cafe will publish in 2018.
Donna loves a happy ending and is never happier than when she’s escaping into a romance novel or movie. When she’s not reading or writing she’ll probably be found hoovering … or negotiating with her teenagers about who is doing the washing up.
You can find Donna on Twitter @Donnashc or visit her at www.donna-writes.co.uk