Reader, are you ready to return to the Finfarran Peninsula?
Just like the first book in Felicity Hayes-McCoy’s Finfarran Peninsula series, Summer at the Garden Café (#2) abounds with engaging descriptions of coastal life in Ireland. Consider these opening words:
People who live in Finfarran say you can see four seasons of the year there in a single day. Then, in case you’d think they were being poetic, they point out that you’ll never know what you ought to wear, so you’d better be prepared for anything.
The village of Lissbeg’s garden café, an idea dreamt up in the first book of the series, becomes a focal gathering place in the second book. As the story progresses, multiple characters share their perspectives with readers, adding to the gentle, meandering experience.
Hanna Casey, her daughter Jazz, and all our local friends are here. And they’re so entertaining! One character, Hanna’s mother Mary, thinks using LOL in a text means Lots of Love, instead of Laugh Out Loud—which did make me laugh out loud, because my own mom uses LOL the same way. (Plus, Fury O’Shea and his dog “the divil” are back. Yay!)
A subtle theme in Summer At The Garden Café is how objects retain value in direct relation to what they are remembered for. Another theme is how relationships change as we grow.
Consider Jazz’s thoughts about her mother in this passage:
She had always admired Mum’s confidence, the effortless way she’d run the London house and the Norfolk cottage, organized Dad’s social life, and always seemed in control. And she loved the story of how she’d set off to chase her dream career. It must have been a big thing, back in those days, to pack up and go to a foreign country to build yourself a new life. She’d asked Mum once if she’d minded giving up her career for marriage, and the answer she’d got had always stuck in her mind. The thing about dreams, Mum had said, was that sometimes they turned into prisons. You should never, ever deny yourself the freedom to move on and change. “I suppose I swapped one dream for another, and this one is just as fulfilling.”
The Finfarran Peninsula series is written so that each book can be enjoyed as a standalone novel, but to fully appreciate the continuing development of the characters, consider reading the series in order. (Read my review of the first book, The Library at the Edge of the World, here. Read my review of the next book in the series, The Mistletoe Matchmaker, here.)
Reader, are you headed back to the Finfarran Peninsula soon? I’d love to know what you enjoy about this special place.
Here with you,