Fiction Book Reviews

Romance | Coming Home to the Comfort Food Cafe | Debbie Johnson

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I loved Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe where Laura not only found peace and solace but her soul mate, which led me on to read Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe with Laura’s sister Becca finding her HEA.  I couldn’t wait to start reading Coming Home to the Comfort Food Cafe … these characters feel like family now!  And I wasn’t disappointed.

Coming Home to the Comfort Food Cafe Debbie Johnson

Format: Kindle Edition

File Size: 956.0 KB

Print Length: 400 pages

Publisher: HarperImpulse (8 Oct. 2017)

Language: English


Moving to the little village of Budbury, Zoe hopes the crisp Dorset sea breeze and gentle pace of life will be a fresh start for her and her goddaughter, Martha.

Luckily for them both, the friendly community at the café provide listening ears, sage advice, shoulders to cry on, and some truly excellent carrot cake. And when Martha’s enigmatic, absent father suddenly turns up, confusing not only Martha but Zoe too, the love and support of their new-found friends is the best present they could ask for.

Have Zoe and Martha truly found their home at the Comfort Food Café?

‘Summer at’ and ‘Coming Home to’ both begin with a letter and although for very different purposes, both have similar content in that they draw you in immediately as well as letting you know exactly where the main characters are in their lives.  I still think this is a fabulous way to start!

16yo Martha is off the rails, hitting out at a world that has changed beyond recognition.  Zoe has to put her own grief on hold while she puts Martha first.  In need of a change of environment and remembering the happiness of a Dorset seaside holiday three years earlier, she makes the decision to take them both off for a sabbatical.  And so they move from Bristol to Budbury.

Arriving in September where the season is changing and there are no reminders, they’re greeted by a mad scene on the green.  The ‘old’ crowd – Cherie, Frank, Laura, Matt, Lizzie, Josh, Nate, Becca, Sam, Willow and Edie are up to their crazy stunts and it really did feel as if I had come back home!  Laura still has the green streak in her hair and it’s obvious the decision that Becca made J

Through the autumn/start of winter, Budbury and the Comfort Food Café works its magic. There’s plenty of action with more than one unexpected arrival … and a visit highlights how this community rally round and protect their own.

Zoe is such a fabulous character.  Tough on the outside from having to protect herself from a neglected childhood but on the inside just wanting to be accepted and loved.  She is astute too, using her own experiences to understand what Martha might be feeling and gauging when to push and when to pull back.  The scene in ‘The Dump’ had me so emotional I had to have a break before I continued reading.

Such an emotional read for me with a balanced mix of sadness and humour.  Tears of laughter as well as the sadness! I tried to read slowly because I just didn’t want it to end.  The ending?  More tears!  Just perfect.

Coming Home to the Comfort Food Café is a story about surviving loss and how it’s possible to move on while still carrying that love in our hearts.  It’s about the emotional connections we have with the people we meet (not just intimate relationships) and how communities work together to bring about change.  It’s a keeper!

I think it’s fair to say I’ve become a fan of Debbie Johnson’s writing.  With outstanding characters, very visual writing (for me!) and plots that tie you up in emotional knots, if you haven’t read any of this author’s books then you’re missing out.


Connect with Debbie Johnson


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I've been blogging about my interests at Jera's Jamboree for 9+ years. My love of reading, crocheting, being out in nature and positive psychology are all things that help me unwind from my role as an Inclusion Lead in a primary school.

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