Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of the ARC
This collection of Georgia Hill’s The Little Book Cafe trilogy follows the lives of three small-town women as they re-evaluate their relationships, their goals, and their lives in general. When I requested the book through NetGalley, I went into thinking cheesy Hallmark-movie romance, but I got so much more than that.
Book one follows Tash, a well-to-do estate agent manager with the perfect job, the perfect house, and the perfect – wealthy – boyfriend. But not all is as it seems as Tash starts to become unsure of her actions as well as Adrian’s. With the help of friends who also take part in charity marathons as well as the new book club, it’s up to Tash to figure out what she really wants.
Tash’s story is one of an abusive relationship as she starts to pick up on the gaslighting and the psychological abuse that comes with being physically intimidated. The way the story unravels and how Tash puts the pieces together is incredibly realistic and I appreciate the way the author approached the subject despite the series being an over-all light-hearted set of stories. I admire Tash as a character and really enjoyed her progression.
I will say though, trigger warnings for domestic and implied animal abuse.
Emma’s story was more in line with what I was expecting in terms of over-all tone. She is Tash’s right hand at the real estate agency, but struggling to keep her head above water financially. Her family is struggling, her relationship is suffering, things are not going Emma’s way. When she starts doing something for herself by taking an English Lit course, she thinks she has found something in the teacher.
The conflict in this one is very on brand to “typical romance” archetypes. Emma and Ollie aren’t happy so she looks to her intellectually attractive teacher, Joel. However the main focus of the story is communication is important to let those around you know what you want. Emma’s biggest issue is she feels bored with Ollie as he is so focused on being a volunteer is the small town’s equivalent to the coast guard and wants something new, without telling Ollie any of this.
I like Emma a lot as she represents – to me – the struggling youth who have decent, secure jobs but are still struggling to make ends meet. She represents that the grass isn’t always greener and that other side may only make matters worse when they should be getting better. Communication is key.
Amy, manager of the Little Book Cafe and leader of the book club, probably has the most relatable story line. She’s incredibly kind, smart, and talented, but taken for granted by many because she is soft spoken and self-conscious. Her mother picks on her, she doesn’t feel she has many friends, and she was even left at the alter by a man who didn’t even respect her enough to call it off face-to-face. But Amy is in love with a local author and dreads the one-sidedness of it all as she doesn’t want to risk their friendship.
I loved the heartache in this final part of the collection and enjoyed watching Amy slowly begin to believe in herself as she shows everyone in the town what she is capable of doing. Patrick is a wonderful love interest and it was just such a lovely way to close out the trilogy.
I really loved this little collection. It was a lot more engaging than I was expecting – in the best of ways – and I definitely plan on reading Georgia Hill’s previous collection that seems to have much of the same cast, Millie Vanilla’s Cupcake Cafe, as well as keeping an eye out for her future works. If you want something fun and cozy, I definitely recommend picking up this trilogy all-in-one collection.