I’ve really become quite a fan of Jennifer Bohnet’s writing. First of all, Jennie visited Being Anne for a lovely interview, then I absolutely loved The Little Kiosk by the Sea (you can read my review here) – and I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting her writing with A French Pirouette (review here). So when I heard there was a new book out, I was quite excited. Rosie’s Little Café on the Riviera was published by HQ Digital on 23rd February, available for kindle and in paperback… and it was absolutely lovely.
Rosie Hewitt’s dream of opening a little French café on the Riviera is finally coming true. She’s giving up on love and instead chasing her own perfect recipe for happiness…
Only, she never expected the oh-so-sexy, award-winning chef, Sebastian Groc, to set up a rival restaurant next door – or for his freshly-baked croissants to smell quite so delicious.
But with just a few days until she opens her doors and all her sugar-coated dreams crumbling around her, Rosie isn’t prepared to give up without a fight!
There are so many books around with a café/restaurant/teashop at their centre – so many that the mere inclusion of one of the words in the title can be enough to put me off. But the author’s name on the cover was more than enough to draw me in. She’s always wonderful at creating a sense of place: within a few pages I knew that Rosie’s beach-side venture was a place I’d enjoy spending some time, as I settled myself into the table in the corner with Lucky-dog at my feet – you know, the one with the umbrella for some afternoon shade.
She’s also excellent at creating quite a large cast of characters, then unspooling their lives and stories, keeping the threads untangled, making you feel you know them all so well. I really liked Rosie, and the way she builds her business on a shoestring, fighting to overcome every threat, while wrestling unwelcome relationships from her previous life alongside trying some exciting new opportunities. The other main story threads really worked for me too – Sebastian and his responsibilities, Erica and her young daughter Cammie trying to move on from their grief (I’d so love to browse in Erica’s shop…), GeeGee struggling to make ends meet until she makes a big decision of her own.
The reading was easy and so enjoyable – the author has a nice, simple, flowing style that just effortlessly carries you along with the story. If I say this would be the ideal read for a sunny day on the beach, I’m not being rude – just that the setting, the story, the warmth from its pages would make it absolutely right. Another great book from an author with a perfect light touch and a real flair for telling a story. Now, did someone mention another glass of rosé…or maybe a dish of ice-cream with Chantilly cream?
About the author
Jennifer Bohnet is originally from the West Country but now lives in the wilds of rural Brittany, France. She’s still not sure how she ended up there! The saying ‘life is what happens while you’re deciding what to do . . .’ is certainly true in her case. She’s always written alongside having various jobs: playgroup leader, bookseller, landlady, restauranteur, farmer’s wife, secretary – the list is endless but does provide a rich vein of inspiration for her stories. For three years she wrote a newspaper column in The South Hams Group of Newspapers (Devon) where she took a wry look at family life.
Since living in France it is her fiction that has taken off with hundreds of short stories and several serials published internationally. If you like stories set down on the French Riviera, Antibes, Cannes and Monaco, then take a look at Follow Your Star and Rendezvous in Cannes. Her other books, too, have passing references to the South of France. Allergic to housework and gardening, she rarely does either, but she does like cooking and entertaining and wandering around vide greniers (the French equivalent of flea markets) looking for a bargain or two. Her children currently live in fear of her turning into an ageing hippy and moving to Totnes, Devon.