I’m a little late to the party with this one! It seems the whole world has read this book. And huge congratulations to Heidi for storming the Kindle charts and having a steady place in the top five!
The cover of this book is striking and instantly makes you want to pick it up and delve inside. So, delve inside I did! The Cherry Tree Cafe tells the story of Lizzie Dixon who is awaiting, rather excitedly, the moment her hot-shot boyfriend Giles is going to propose to her. But, instead of proposing, he ends up ending the relationship and Lizzie is left questioning everything. Deciding to return to her home town of Wynbridge to get away from the heartache of London, she moves into a small flat above The Cherry Tree Cafe – run by Lizzie’s friends Tom and Jemma. The cafe is a new venture for the pair and as Lizzie tries to find her feet again, she decides to help with the cafe and soon her crafting is taking centre stage and everyone wants to learn how to make bunting!
This is a really sweet, enjoyable read that is full to the brim with sewing and cakes! However, the book felt a little underdeveloped in nearly every area. There were so many fantastic characters and events in the plot that all added together to make a promising novel, yet some moments felt like they could have done with a little more attention. Without trying to spoil the plot – Lizzie’s main love interest is someone from her past, yet we never really get much of an idea about this joint past. Nor did I feel there was all that much chemistry between them. It was almost a small shock when they got together as I didn’t feel that they were at that stage of their friendship – there just was a very limited amount of interaction between them in the novel. Another man who vies for her attention again felt underdeveloped and even though he wasn’t the nicest of characters, I didn’t feel like I got to know him at all.
I enjoyed the relationship between Lizzie’s mum and dad, it was quite funny and very relateable, however again, there was a moment that changed the whole dynamic and I felt like there could have just been more. More emotion and more tension, perhaps?
Lizzie was a likeable character but at times her behaviour seemed a little hard to understand. Plus there were a few instances that seemed incongruous to her character. However she was still a pleasure to read about and I was desperate to know more about her story. I was rooting for her the whole way through and wanted her to get her happy ever after.
My favourite parts of The Cherry Tree Cafe were the moments where they were all crafting! I loved the descriptions of the cafe and could imagine myself sitting at a little table, fabric in one hand, cake in the other, having a whale of a time! I also loved the little Ella, Jemma and Tom’s daughter. She was unbelievably cute and her childhood innocence made for some really funny moments within the plot.
For a debut novel, this shows a lot of promise and a great chance for the author to develop. I am confident that Heidi’s second novel, Summer At Skylark Farm, is going to be amazing and I cannot wait to read it!