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    Great

    Very heart felt as well as informative in an informal way.
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    Humour flowing and uplifting

    Wasn't sure when serious issues raised whether I would be disturbed but the warmth, wit and qwerky characters won the day. Eye opening but uplifting and life and love affirming. Now want to read more Debbie Johnson.
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    A feel good geeky romance set in a quirky village

    My name is Willow Longville. I live in a village called Budbury on the stunning Dorset coast with my mum Lynnie, who sometimes forgets who I am. I’m a waitress at the Comfort Food Café, which is really so much more than a café … it’s my home. Willow is the youngest of four children born to Lynnie, a yoga-teaching new age hippie. Unfortunately Lynnie is now suffering from dementia and Willow spends her time looking after her mother whilst juggling her own cleaning business and working as a waitress at the cafe. Relentlessly cheerful with her pink hair, Doc Marten boots, pierced nose and tattoos, she and her mother have journals in which they try to write every day - Lynnie to help her remember who she is and who other people are, Willow as a form of therapy. As the book opens Willow is writing her journal entry for the day, a list of eight things that happened to her during the day, some mundane, some weird and some inexplicable. Her cleaning service has been engaged on behalf of the new owner of The House on the Hill (the locals' name for Briarwood, a large old house which has sat empty for 10 years after the previous owners retired. There she meets the young owner, Tom Mulligan, a former resident when Briarwood was a children's home, now a successful, but socially inept, inventor and millionaire. Soon Willow and Tom are bonding over their plans for surviving the Zombie Apocalypse and their nerdy dog names (Bella Swan and Rick Grimes in case you are interested). This is a feel good geeky romance set in a wonderful village where everyone meddles in each others' business and social life revolves around the cafe and the pub. However, a warning, this is relentlessly British and there may therefore be a number of cultural references which fly right over the heads of other readers (or I might be making assumptions about the narrowness of our culture). If you like schoolboy puns and stories where no-one is too busy to sit down and eat a slice of cake (its mentioned 34 times according to my Kindle) then this is the charming book for you. I loved it from start to finish, I want to know more about Willow's sister Auburn (because of her hair colour) and brothers Van (big ears as a baby) and Angel (blonde curls as a baby), although Angel prefers to be called Andrew now and is a teacher. This is the second book in this series that I have read, they can easily be read as stand-alone novels as the various relationships between the villagers are explained (Willow even does a handy-dandy Game of Thrones style recap for Tom's benefit), I really must get hold of the first two books and read them! Highly recommended for fans of Strictly Come Dancing, cake and dogs! I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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    Back To Budbury

    You know what you are getting with the Comfort Food Cafe books - a great big, warm hug and a sense that no matter what happens it is all going to work out okay so you can relax and enjoy the tale. This book follows the same formula as the others in the series so whilst there is the wider village out there and a real sense of a close, rural community it is really all about just a couple of characters. Cherie Moon and Farmer Frank are here but in very small doses, as are Becca, Laura, Zoe, Scrumpy Jack et al and it really does feel like dropping in to catch up on old friends. This story really concentrates on the wonderful Willow, who we have met before but has been very much on the periphery of the stories. I found it really touching the way that her struggles looking after her mum, Lynnie, as she is swept away by Alzheimer's. The depictions of the good days and bad days with this disease and the sheer unpredictability of it were well wrought. Even more so where the sense of isolation that Willow felt and she was unable to let down her guard and let anyone in as she was simply so scared of failing her mum. Despite the awfulness of the situation Willow is in as primary carer (sole for a majority of the book) there is a lot of whimsy and joy to be found and Willow's outlook is refreshingly cheery no matter what befalls her. The romance storyline is rather predictable but still manages to be cute and I did find myself mentally shouting at Willow to just fall at his feet and be done with it - Geeks are so worth it and getting your hands on his collection of T-Shirts is a must. I liked the tie-in with the flashback that opens the book (even if it is blatantly obvious who the new owner of Briarwood is from the moment he makes an appearance). This is a good, solid book that champions the support networks of friends, family and the wider community. There is something almost nostalgic about the setting, the language and the people that inhabit Budbury. This is a million miles from most of our life experience whilst still managing to be rooted in firm reality - quite a feat when you think about it. The writing is taut and sucks you right in to Debbie Johnson's world and you find yourself not wanting it to end - you also will find yourself suffering from the Reader's Curse of "just one more chapter" until everyone else is asleep and you missed your favourite TV show.
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