The Second Chance Café in Carlton Square by Lilly Bartlett – Book Review
The Second Chance Café in Carlton Square by Lilly Bartlett – Blog Tour
Publisher – HarperImpulse
Pages – 243
Release Date – 23rd June 2017 (ebook)
7th September 2017 (Paperback)
ISBN-13 – 978-0008226602
Format – ebook, paperback
I received a free copy of this book
One chance isn’t always enough…
Everyone expects great things from Emma Billings, but when her future gets derailed by an unexpected turn of events, she realises that getting back on track means travelling in a different direction.
She finds that new path in the closed-down pub on Carlton Square. Summoning every ounce of ingenuity, and with the help of her friends and family, she opens the Second Chance Café. The charity training business is meant to keep vulnerable kids off the streets and (hopefully) away from the Metropolitan Police, and her new employees are full of ideas, enthusiasm … and trouble. They’ll need as much TLC as the customers they’re serving.
This ragtag group of chancers have to make a go of a business they know nothing about, and they do get some expert help from an Italian who’s in love with the espresso machine and a professional sandwich whisperer who reads auras, but not everyone is happy to see the café open.
Their milk keeps disappearing and someone is cancelling the cake orders, but it’s when someone commits bloomicide on all their window boxes that Emma realises things are serious. Can the café survive when NIMBY neighbours and the rival café owner join forces to close them down? Or will Emma’s dreams fall as flat as the cakes they’re serving?
A few weeks ago I read and reviewed ‘The Big Little Wedding in Carlton Square‘, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Now Emma and Daniel are back once again in book two of the Carlton Square series.
This time, Emma has just taken ownership of a rundown, derelict pub to turn into her dream of ‘The Second Chance Cafe’, a cafe which helps young vulnerable adults get back on their feet, and gives them a helping hand in life. It turns out to be a big success with people from all walks of life coming and going, including the elderly and the very young.
The couple now married for just under two years have twins, Grace and Oscar, which are a handful. But with trying to look after her new family, the cafe having it’s fair share of problems as a mysterious vindictive person tries to sabotage it, and Daniel not pulling his weight anymore, Emma is at the end of her tether.
I always find it lovely to meet up with characters from a previous book, and as I adored both Emma and Daniel I was pleased that their story continued.
Emma is a down to earth girl with a big heart, so it didn’t come as a surprise when she decided to open a cafe to help youngsters who have some kinds of issues in their lives. Her vision was to help get them back on their feet, and let them gain some work experience.
As for Daniel – I could have slapped the guy! What a turn around he did from book one to two. He is now a married dad of two, but you wouldn’t have thought it. He shirks his responsibilities, and leaves Emma to do everything at a time when she needs his support the most.
The staff at the cafe come from all walks of life, and each have their own story to tell. The customers are all richly important to the story too, and make the book come alive. From young mums and their babies, to grannies wanting to enjoy a nice cup of tea, and internet-addicted teens, the cafe brings the whole community together.
This is a book that you can get sucked into and enjoy every minute of. It is a story with a beautiful message to share, sometimes people just need a helping hand, or a little push in the right direction. Don’t take people at face value, most have a lot going on in their lives, and often they just need to be given a chance in life.
With so many wonderful characters, the perfect setting, and plenty of heartwarming/breaking and laugh out loud moments, this book is a must read for those who want a break from reality and to find themselves in the beautiful, Carlton Square.
Book reviewed by Stacey
Michele writes books with heart and humour, full of best friends, girl power and, of course, love and romance. Call them beach books or summer reads, chick lit or romcom… readers and reviewers call them “feel good”, “relatable” and “thought-provoking”.
She is both a Sunday Times and a USA Today bestselling author, raised in the US and living in London. She is very fond of naps, ice cream and Richard Curtis films but objects to spiders and the word “portion”.
I spend way too much time on Twitter and Facebook when I should be writing, so please come say hello.