Title: The Cherry Tree Cafe
Author: Heidi Swain
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Publication Date: 16 July 2015
Rating: 4 out of 5
Cupcakes, crafting and love at The Cherry Tree Cafe…
Lizzie Dixon’s life feels as though it’s fallen apart. Instead of the marriage proposal she was hoping for from her boyfriend, she is unceremoniously dumped, and her job is about to go the same way. So, there’s only one option: to go back home to the village she grew up in and to try to start again.
Her best friend Jemma is delighted Lizzie has come back home. She has just bought a little cafe and needs help in getting it ready for the grand opening. And Lizzie’s sewing skills are just what she needs.
With a new venture and a new home, things are looking much brighter for Lizzie. But can she get over her broken heart, and will an old flame reignite a love from long ago…?
For everyone who loves settling down to watch Great British Bake-Off, the Great British Sewing Bee, or curling up to read Milly Johnson or Jenny Colgan The Cherry Tree Cafe is a coffee-break treat.
There was quite a buzz on Twitter before Cherry Tree Café was published and whilst I was eager to read it, I have only recently had the opportunity to do so.
The story begins on Lizzie Dixon’s birthday. She is blissfully happy with her Mr Right and, after being surprised with a day in a posh spa, she is anticipating a proposal! Things don’t do quite to plan and Lizzie finds herself returning to her home town of Wynbridge alone.
Lizzie is a lovely character, warm hearted, hardworking and creative. As a reader, you can’t help but warm to her. Her ex-boyfriend, Giles Worthington, is a figure the readers love to hate. He broke the lovely Lizzie’s heart in a dastardly fashion and is definitely the ‘bad guy’ of the book, although we only see a limited amount of him overall. The supporting characters, Henry, Jemma, Tom, Deborah, Heather, Ben and 6 year old Ella, are all likeable, real and add extra interest to the story. My favourite character had to be Ella, who comes out with strangely insightful comments but with an air of innocence reminding you of her young age. An absolute scene-stealer!
Lizzie returns home to decide what to do next with her life. Whilst doing so, she helps her best friend Jemma to renovate and prepare the Cherry Tree Café ready for opening day. Jemma is a sublime baker, however she needs someone with more than a dash of style and creativity to really bring the café into being. Lizzie has the unique idea of combining café and crafting, an idea which piques the town’s interest. However, does she really want to stay in Wynbridge or are the big lights of London tempting her back…?
I enjoyed the fact that the book revolved around sewing and crafting. This is a hobby that I wish I could do, but it really is not my forte. Give me a sewing machine and I’ll spend the next 15 minutes trying to undo a spectacular knot!! However, the whole notion of crafting evokes a sense of peace and relaxation for me.
The book focuses on the relationships that Lizzie has with her parents, her best friend Jemma and the handsome Ben. It is interesting to follow the changes in those relationships once Lizzie has returned home, some changes for the better and some not so much.
I enjoyed the mystery that surrounded Ben and his return home. This added an air of intrigue to the story and made me want to keep reading!
Cherry Tree Café is, in my opinion, a well-written, charming and entertaining tale. The author demonstrates a lovely descriptive writing style which allowed me to see the world in which Lizzie inhabits. The plot was sufficiently interesting, with enough twists and turns to keep me absorbed in the story until the very end. I am looking forward to reading more from Heidi Swain in the future.
About the Author
Although passionate about writing from an early age, Heidi Swain gained a degree in Literature, flirted briefly with a newspaper career, married and had two children before she finally plucked up the courage to join a creative writing class and take her literary ambitions seriously.
A lover of Galaxy bars, vintage paraphernalia and the odd bottle of fizz, she now writes contemporary fiction and enjoys the company of a whole host of feisty female characters.
Heidi can be found at the keyboard at all hours of the day and night and quite often scribbling longhand in her car during her lunch break. She lives in stunning south Norfolk with her wonderful family and a mischievous cat called Storm.