Published by: Pan Books
Publication date: 7th November 2013
Genre: Contemporary fiction for women
Length: 100 pages
Evie Flynn is about to have her first Christmas at her beach side cafe, which she inherited earlier in the year following the death of her aunt. After a busy summer she is ready to enjoy the holiday with her new love, Ed. Just the two of them.
Ed's long lost younger brother turns up after a long period of travelling and Ed is keen for him to stick around, since he hasn't seen him for a while.
Evie's best friend turns up not long after with a tale of woe about a cheating boyfriend.
These unexpected arrivals and a series of mishaps that follow mean that Evie's plan for the perfect romantic first Christmas with Ed doesn't go to plan...
This novella is a follow-up of Lucy Diamond's book, The Beach Cafe, which tells the back story of how Evie Flynn came to be living in Cornwall and running a cafe.
The story begins on the 1st of December with Evie looking out of the window and seeing snow falling outside. She runs out, feet bare and full of excitement. Despite the cliche, I thought this was a nice start to a Christmas story. Turns out she was dreaming and is woken up in bed by Ed. (I suppose that is more realistic.)
I appreciated Evie's excitement about the approach to Christmas, and I even went along with her getting overly emotional about a broken glass angel Christmas decoration (since her deceased aunt gave it to her). I did however, become a bit exasperated with her complaining about Ed for wanting to be a perfectionist when producing the meals for HER cook book, apparently taking too long. Ed is a chef so, naturally, when he makes mince pies he insists on making them from scratch. Evie thinks they should get store bought mince meat. If only he would, I quote, 'chill out on the perfectionist front.' Because, apparently, this is all too much and is wearing Evie's patience thin, which had me thinking, Your patience? And how much help do you suppose she gives Ed with the preparations of these dishes? I'll tell you. None! She tells us she can't possibly help him in the kitchen since she cannot boil an egg. Instead she leaves him to it while she goes down to the beach to have a sulk. Which had me thinking, here's an idea Evie, how about doing some work? Nah, too obvious.
Ed is dealing with a messy divorce and has been in contact with his estranged wife. She sends him a Christmas card, which causes Evie and Ed to have a spat and Evie to go down to the beach for another sulk. Ed soon goes after her and apologises, although I am not sure what for.
I liked the stuff about the irritating and manipulative brother, Jake. He really does get under her skin. Well done Jake.
There is an attempt at humour but it falls short. Could this be why Evie is so annoying? Are we supposed to guffaw, roll our eyes and say, 'Oh Evie, what are you like?'
Christmas At The Beach Cafe is a (very) light and unremarkable read.