It was so lovely to read that Helen Rolfe had signed a contract with Orion Publishing, with a series on its way – starting with a free short story, followed by four novellas throughout 2018, with the entire series to be published as a paperback and ebook by the end of the year. I’ve featured Helen’s earlier books a few times here on Being Anne – you can catch up with our chat and my review of The Chocolatier’s Secret here. You’ll see I called her “an author I’d like to read again” – and this series looks like one I’m really going to enjoy. I read the free short story, Valentine’s Day at The Cafe at the End of the Pier, last night – you can download your copy here – and thought it was absolutely lovely.
When Jo’s beloved grandparents ask for her help in running their little café at the end of the pier in Salthaven-on-Sea she jumps at the chance.
The café is a hub for many people: the single dad who brings his little boy in on a Saturday morning; the lady who sits alone and stares out to sea; the woman who pops in after her morning run.
Jo soon realises that each of her customers is looking for love – and she knows just the way to find it for them. She goes about setting each of them up on blind dates – each date is held in the café, with a special menu she has designed for the occasion.
But Jo has never found love herself. She always held her grandparents’ marriage up as her ideal and she hasn’t found anything close to that. But could it be that love is right under her nose…?
Helen has a lovely touch to her writing that immediately engages you emotionally with her characters, and I really took to Jo straight away as she drives for home, leaving her dissatisfying life as a teacher in Scotland to help her grandparents run their cafe on the pier at Salthaven-on-Sea. There’s a great sense of place – it comes to life as Jo drives to her grandparents’ bungalow then walks to the perfectly described little cafe, and your heart lifts in the same way hers does – and I really enjoyed meeting her wonderful grandparents and reading the story of how their lasting love affair started. There’s a nice brief introduction to the diverse collection of customers who visit the cafe, the hub for the small community where everyone knows everyone else until the holiday-makers start to arrive, and I enjoyed the planning and preparation for a rather special night. Things might not turn out quite as expected, but it’s a lovely little story with real warmth that brings a smile to your face and a tear to your eye.
Spring at The Cafe at the End of the Pier will be published on 22nd March, and is available for pre-order: Summer at The Cafe at the End of the Pier is out on 14th June, and available for pre-order too.
Autumn at The Cafe at the End of the Pier will be out in September, Christmas at The Cafe at the End of the Pier in November, with all the stories pulled together for A Year at The Cafe at the End of the Pier to be published just after Christmas. I’m very much looking forward to following this series.
About the author
Helen J Rolfe writes contemporary women’s fiction with an emphasis on relationships and love. She enjoys weaving stories about family, friendship, secrets, and characters who face challenges and fight to overcome them. Helen enjoys creating strong female lead characters and although her stories often deal with serious issues, they always have a happy ending.