Review: The Cherry Tree Cafe by Heidi Swain

Wednesday, 5 August 2015
Title: The Cherry Tree Cafe
Author: Heidi Swain
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Publication Date: 16th July 2015
Source: NetGalley
Rating: 3/5
Purchase: Amazon
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...?

It is important to me - in Women's Fiction especially - that our main character is both likeable, and somebody that you can really believe in and want to see succeed. In the opening chapter we see Lizzie Dixon assuming that her posh boyfriend is about to propose on her birthday and anniversary when in actual fact he hasn't even remembered about those two things and is actually about to break up with her, to marry his ex-fiancee. Think he sounds a $%£? You'd be right! Heidi Swain really conveys to the reader how this makes Lizzie feel, and how lost and confused she now is in life thanks to Giles completely ruining all of the plans and expectations she had for their future.

Returning home to the village she grew up in seems like the only answer, back to best friend Jemma who to Lizzie, seems to have a much better life, and who is about to open a little cafe which is in need of some help. Lizzie also returns to her mother who judges her quite unfairly, and I already had Judy Geller vibes even before Lizzie brought up the Monica Geller comparison. In the beginning I found myself wanting Lizzie to be stronger, to speak up and defend herself and I hoped these traits would come out of her as the book progressed. So for me Lizzie was one of those characters I very quickly became endeared to, and wanted to see find that happiness she so deserved. I think readers will also fall in love with her, and will be cheering her along on every step she makes along the rocky road to happiness.

There's a really great mix of characters in The Cherry Tree Cafe, some I don't want to discuss in too much detail because spoilers! but I especially liked the friendship between Lizzie and Jemma which was very believable. Both are two characters that have a friendship you can really picture and that makes some scenes in the book all the more emotional because you know how much these two women care about each other. The characters that make up the story will certainly leave an impression on readers, and I hope we get to read about some of them again in the future. Lizzie learns a lot about herself throughout the story because of returning home. I wanted her experience with Giles to strengthen her somehow, to give her the resilience and determination to not let people treat her that way, and I also liked how different she was in a genre that can often contain a particular sort of main character but Lizzie wasn't like that. The story is packed full of drama and romance, and it doesn't have that rushed predictable storyline which meant I was kept guessing until the end of the story.

I loved the setting for The Cherry Tree Cafe which was brought to life beautifully by Heidi Swain. There's a real trend in Women's Fiction for all things shops, cafes, food and villages but given that those books tend to be some of the most popular in the genre it's certainly a winning formula. I loved the vivid descriptions from Heidi and the craft elements of the story reminded me of my own best friend, and how much she would love visiting a place like this. It's clear on every page the effort and love that has gone into the story, and Heidi Swain is definitely an author I wouldn't hesitate to read another book from in the future. The Cherry Tree Cafe is another book to add to your TBR this summer.

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