Diane, the owner of Happy People Read and Drink Coffee, a literary cafe bookstore, faces tragedy, An accident claims the lives of her beloved husband Colin and her daughter Clara.
And that’s where they story lost me.
I want to start on the positives with this book because despite the theme’s and characters I didn’t like, there were many things I loved. The cover is beautiful it’s the first thing that drew me to the book after the title.
The setting, being both an idyllic village in the west of Ireland and a freaking bookstore cafe sounds like it was made to be read by me. The writing, especially when capturing the magic of Ireland was fantastic but I’m afraid this is when the book gets a bit lost on me.
The characters come across like selfish, arrogant hindrances to the actual plot. And take away from the meaning behind the story. To find yourself and pick yourself up from rock bottom.
Diane, we learn has been spoiled by her parents, she was handed the money for this cafe and admits herself that she was never a good worker. When presented with adversity her parents are shocked that she just doesn’t want to deal with it. She refuses to attend the funeral of her family. Forgetting that Colin had parents that are burying their child just like she is.
They continue to coddle her and have kept the cafe going while she squanders her life, buried under her dead husbands hoodies, smoking herself into a cloud of despair.
It is only when her best friend Felix, the exaggerated gay best friend annoys her she decided to get her act together, by moving to a place she know’s she will hate but feel’s bad that her husband never got to go. Ireland.
This brings us to Edward. The mysterious, brooding neighbour that doesn’t come across as the protective, masculine character he was supposed to, but more like the aggressive asshole who had no real justification of any of his violent actions. At one point Edwards grabs Diane’s wrists and pushes her angrily against a railing. I can imagine this particular scene was supposed to convey some sexual tension and passion but it comes across violent and makes me wonder why Diane ever speaks to him again. Let alone falls in love with him.
When he eventually get an insight into Edwards past, I was disappointed. He’s brought across to the reader as a goodman who is too kind to actually break up with his twisted, manipulative girlfriend. I don’t understand how that makes it okay for him to be violent and aggressive throughout the whole book.
All my complaining aside, would I recommend this book? If you’re looking for an easy winter’s day read & not expecting much, then yes. The descriptions of Ireland are fantastic and made me homesick enough to imagine sitting in the pub with a Guinness on a blustery day.