got time for a quick read?
While I was staying with my sister, I raided her ‘poolside literary collection’ and came upon a well-thumbed copy of Lucy Diamond’s The Beach Café. Something of a departure for me, on account of the (spoiler alert) lack of death and misery, my interest was piqued nonetheless by a spark of homesickness and realization that the book was based in both Oxford (my old life) and Cornwall (my new). I was surprised how much this resonated and gobbled it while I was there, relating to the flaky heroine and her goody two shoes sister. I was almost inspired to buy a beach café myself!
Fast forward to now, and hurrah Lucy has written a follow-up novella. Published on 4 February, A Baby at the Beach Café is a delightful short story centering on the relationship between our heroine Evie, and antagonist Helen.
Here’s the blurb: ‘Evie loves running her beach café in Cornwall but with a baby on the way, she’s been told to put her feet up. Let someone else take over? As if! Helen’s come to Cornwall to escape the stress of city living (sounds familiar!). She hopes a seaside life will be the answer to all her dreams. When she sees a job advertised at the cafe it sounds perfect. But the two women clash and sparks fly. Then events take a dramatic turn.’
At just 75 pages long, I was left wanting (alot) more, but the point of a quick read is entertaining, fast-paced and gripping bite-sized books. The A Baby at the Beach Café would have made a fantastic full novel, but it definitely fulfils the criteria of a quick read. Obviously, there’s far less time to develop the characters in a novella, and only Evie and Ed, from the first book appear in the follow-up (though others are mentioned). I found Helen an unsympathetic character – because I didn’t know much about her and husband Paul who is only very briefly mentioned. It felt a tinesy bit hurried – though perfectly detailed and the emotion was spot on.
On the flip side though, this is really enjoyable and easily finished under the dryer while getting your hair done, or a morning on the beach while the mudlets dig the worlds largest hole.
Pan; Main Market Ed. edition
Lucy Diamond @LDiamondAuthor