Summer at the Shore Leave Cafe by Abbie Williams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Joelle Gordon is leaving Chicago and her cheating husband to head for her hometown of Landon, Minnesota. WIth her three beautiful daughters in tow, Joelle is bombarded with an onslaught of memories that Landon evokes. Landon -- home to the Shore Leave Cafe, the restaurant Joelle's family owns -- has some surprises in store for Joelle. Finding herself confronted with the reality of single motherhood, a mysterious but handsome young staffer at the Shore Leave Cafe, her upset daughters, and the prospect of returning to her husband for the well-being of her kids, Joelle must make decisions she never thought she'd face.
A story about heartbreak, blame, family, desire, love, and the difficulties of returning home, Summer at the Shore Leave Cafe highlights hardships to which everyone can relate.
Romance can be a tough genre to write convincingly in, but Abbie Williams has achieved something akin to romantic alchemy with Summer at the Shore Leave Cafe. She combines strong narrative, threading multiple plot threads around the protagonist Joelle Gordon's central arc with a convincing cast of characters that feel so real you'd swear you know them. As a reader you are taken on an emotional journey with these characters that fully invests you in them. You care for them, champion them and sometimes you rue them, where appropriate. Williams has also crafted scenes of steamy eroticism that strike a perfect balance in advancing the story whilst giving the reader something to sweat (pleasurably) to.
I also really liked the warmth of the story and how immersive it was for me. Abbie Williams has a keen sense of place - a clear and abiding affection for her native Minnesota, of people and their emotional arcs and she blends these together effortlessly, creating a visual and tactile tableaux, one that stays with you.
Summer At The Shore Leave Cafe - the first in Abbie's Shore Leave series - is a bespoke literary creation and a superlative achievement.
Abbie Williams has been addicted to love stories ever since first sneaking her mother's copy of The Flame and the Flower; since then, she has been jotting down stories of her own in notebook after spiral-bound notebook.
Abbie Williams teaches English at the high school level (which she dearly loves). She spend her days with her own true love, their three daughters, and a very busy schedule. Abbie says she is most happy when she can sneak in a few hours to write and thereby indulge in visiting the characters in her stories.
When Abbie is not writing, teaching or spending time with her family, she can be found listening to her favorite musical groups of all time: Alison Krauss and Union Station, the Wailin' Jennys, and The Be Good Tanyas. If there's time in the evening, she might watch a few episodes of Hell on Wheels and eat a jar of crunchy peanut butter.
Discover Abbie Williams world here.
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