Hot summers are simply made for light novels that transport the reader to different and, preferably, cooler climes. Jenny Colgan, the New York Times bestselling author of The Bookshop on the Corner, provides just the ticket in The Café by the Sea. Flora MacKenzie must return to her childhood home on the fictitious cold, stormy isle of Mure off of Scotland. Her London law firm wants to win an American tech billionaire as a client, and he does not want the view from his Mure home obstructed by a proposed wind farm. So, Flora is sent to discover the islanders’ thoughts on the billionaire and win them to his side. Unbeknownst to her firm, however, Flora fled her childhood home years earlier when her mother died, burning her bridges with her family and community as she left. Furthermore, she also has a terrible crush on her detached, self-absorbed boss, Joel. Can Flora mend her fences with her family, impress the client, and finally catch the attention of her boss? Although a little predictable, the characters and setting of Café will charm readers and provide an entertaining diversion during this hot season.
(Originally reviewed for Manhattan Book Review.)