It’s such a pleasure today to be helping launch the blog tour for the latest book from Sue Moorcroft, Summer at the French Café, and to share my publication day review. Published by Avon Books, it’s now available as an ebook (via Amazon in the UK and US for kindle, also for Kobo and via Apple), in paperback (via Amazon if you want to, but you’ll be spotting that lovely cover all over the place…), and also as an audiobook. Thank you, as always, to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation and support, and to the publishers for my advance reading e-copy, provided via netgalley.
I really look forward so much to every one of Sue’s books – I do always have a particularly soft spot for Middledip, but I’m also more than happy when she takes me to some of her well-drawn holiday locations, and I really don’t mind whether it’s in the depths of winter or under the warm sunshine. I just love her story-telling – if you pop her name into my search bar, you’ll find reviews of almost all her wonderful books (and a few features too) – but I also really enjoy her special touch with both the characters and romantic content, and the contemporary and slightly darker edge she always includes in her books. This time, I see we’re off to Alsace – and I remember how very much I liked it there when I last visited in 2017, with Leah and her family in Just for the Holidays (you’ll find my review of that one here)…
Sparkling sun, strolls in the gorgeous French countryside, that first sip of cool, crisp wine – Summer is Kat’s favourite season. And this year should be no exception…
As soon as Kat Jenson set foot in the idyllic French village of Kirchhoffen, she knew she’d found her home. Now she has a dreamy boyfriend, a delightful dog and the perfect job managing a bustling book café in the vibrant Parc Lemmel.
But when she learns her boyfriend isn’t all he seems, it’s the start of a difficult summer for Kat. Vindictive troublemakers, work woes and family heartache follow, and the clear blue sky that was her life suddenly seems full of clouds.
Then she gets to know the mysterious Noah, and her sun begins to shine brighter than ever. But Noah has problems of his own – ones that could scupper their new-found happiness. Together, can they overcome their many obstacles, and find love again?
The perfect summer read for fans of Trisha Ashley, Sarah Morgan and Carole Matthews.
This book really is set in the most enticing of locations, quite perfectly described and brought to life. I think I’d rather like to settle down for an afternoon – after browsing the bookshelves of course – at an outside table at Livres et Café, order a peach tea and perhaps a tarte au framboises (as a special treat), and soak up the unique atmosphere of Parc Lemmel in the warm sunshine.
And at the start, it’s a happy place for Kat too. She’s taken over the café’s management while its English owners are handling a few problems of their own (it’s challenging, but she’s taking it in her stride) – and her home life’s also pretty good, with a lovely garden flat in Kirchhoffen, her blossoming relationship with Jakey, and her much-loved dog Angelique always at her side. Her family background might be particularly difficult and complicated, but she’s rather looking forward to having her younger brother Solly around for the summer, and to have the opportunity to get to know him a little better.
But then life turns rather more difficult – Jakey proves to be something of a disappointment (and that’s putting it mildly…), someone’s out to sabotage all her hard work at the cafe, and on top of that there are all the many complications family can bring. Thank goodness for Noah – he’s working with her brother at the park, and they soon become good friends and more – and I really enjoyed both his personal journey and their very authentic-feeling developing relationship. But his own family life isn’t without its complications – he’s in the area in search of his ex-wife, who disappeared with his young daughter and a new husband determined to keep the family apart – and the way that unfolds might just jeopardise any possibility of a shared happy ending.
And I have to say that’s a very simplified telling of a story that has many more layers – and I really enjoyed the way they were all explored and handled. I particularly liked the family-related content (ah, the difficulties of blended families…) – Noah’s determination to be a father to young Clémence and part of her life, and its sharp contrast with Kat’s difficult experience with her own family. Both sets of relationships and their psychological consequences are dealt with particularly realistically – nothing too heavy, but these are very real people, and rarely behave in the ways you’d rather like them to. And there are actually quite a few people in this book who behave particularly badly – I’d grown to really like Kat, always so sunny and warm, and one development later in the book made me particularly angry on her behalf.
This book’s rather lovely cover might lead you to expect a light read – but that’s never quite what you get with a book from Sue Moorcroft, and it’s one of the reasons why I enjoy her books so much. The story is strong and well-told, the characters well-drawn and convincing (and, in the most part, eminently likeable and sympathetic), the setting far more than a mere backdrop, the issues she addresses very real and well-researched (cyber security, anyone – I certainly learned a lot!), and I particularly enjoy her sureness of touch with the emotional content. But it’s also tremendous fun, feel-good fiction at its best – I loved the convincing romance, the relationships between the characters, Angelique’s swishy-tailed interventions, the excitement of a small child, the whole atmosphere of the park.
I just love the way she writes – and I think this book is one of her strongest yet. Highly recommended.
About the author
Sue Moorcroft is a Sunday Times bestselling author and has reached the coveted #1 spot on Amazon Kindle UK as well as top 100 in the US. She’s won the Goldsboro Books Contemporary Romantic Novel Award, Readers’ Best Romantic Novel award and the Katie Fforde Bursary. Her short stories, serials, columns, writing ‘how to’ and courses have appeared around the world.
Born in Germany into an army family, Sue spent much of her childhood in Cyprus and Malta but settled in Northamptonshire, England aged ten. She loves reading, Formula 1, travel, time spent with friends, dance exercise and yoga.
For more information on Sue and her books, she has an excellent website, and a blog: she also has a Facebook author page, and you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram. If you’d like sign up for her newsletter, you can do so here: and if you’d like to join her street team, you’ll find the details here.