The Grand Reopening of Dandelion Cafe by Jenny Oliver

The Grand Reopening of the Dandelion Café’ tells the story of Annie who is left a run down café by her father. As Annie attempts to leave her complicated past behind and juggle her present career she also tries to inject new life into the café and her own relationships with friends, café workers, her family and Matt – the man she meets during this journey.

OK. I admit it. When I decided to take part in the launch blog tour of this book I was prepared to be underwhelmed as it looked as if this would be the kind of insubstantial froth that it churned out by the thousands. I was wrong.

There is undoubtedly a familiar pattern to the plot structure of this story and the depiction of the characters within it, but it is none the worse for that. Annie struggles to fit back into an environment she thought she had left behind, having become an independent woman in her own right. She has had a difficult relationship in the past and typically, the male lead in this story, Matt, is tall, strong and handsome so that she is drawn to him instantly. All these feel like regular, but engaging, devices.

There are some lovely touches in the writing. The balance of long and short sentences and paragraphs means the reader is drawn along with the story as its pace ebbs and flows with the action. The plot is uncluttered but more than interesting enough to hold the reader’s attention with a couple of twists along the way. Descriptions of the café and the cherry trees in particular are vivid and cinematic so that the reader can picture them easily and feel as if they are there on Cherry Pie Island where the action takes place. Dialogue is natural and engaging, allowing the reader to get a real sense of the characters through their words and to believe in, and care about, what they are saying.

The Grand Reopening of the Dandelion Café isn’t a difficult read, but it is comforting in its familiarity and entertaining so that the reader actually cares what happens to those involved. It’s an enjoyable read that lifts the spirits and I’d certainly recommend investing the time to read it. You might even find, like me, that your prejudices about this kind of fiction are well and truly challenged!

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