Genre: Contemporary fiction
Welcome to the café that never sleeps. Day and night Stella's Café opens its doors for the lonely and the lost, the morning people and the night owls. It is many things to many people but most of all it is a place where life can wait at the door. A place of small kindnesses. A place where anyone can be whoever they want, where everyone is always welcome.
Meet Hannah and Mona: best friends, waitresses, dreamers. They work at Stella's but they dream of more, of leaving the café behind and making their own way in life.
Come inside and spend twenty-four hours at Stella's Café; a day when Hannah and Mona's futures will be changed and their friendship tested. Today is just the start, but it is also marks a conclusion. Because all beginnings are also endings. And all endings can also be beginnings...
As soon as this book arrived through my door, I picked it up to read the first page … and I couldn't put it down. I love contemporary fiction (I write it as well as read it) but I sometimes find that it's hard to find novels that have an edge within the genre. I always enjoy stories with a culinary theme, which was partly why I accepted this one for review. I also like having multiple points of view throughout. I've never before come across a novel told within real time, breaking hours down in such a way that the intricacies of characters are so cherished.
We follow Hannah and Mona, two best friends who work separate shifts and share a flat. This has been the same for a number of years and they enjoy the companionship as they both audition for performing roles. As someone who has worked in customer service and also studied towards an arts based degree, I found this nostalgic and joyful to read about.
The customers within the café are treated like family, the staff fully explored with their own quirks and backgrounds. I was swept along, almost wishing that I was part of the team working with these people and watching the dramas unfold. A lot of themes are covered here, from friendship - be it lifelong or toxic - to family, to eating disorders. This novel is one that can pick you up when you feel low, but with such an intricacy to the plot that you'll become completely invested and end up with a hell of a book hangover.
Thanks so much to Orion for sending me another amazing book to review, and to Tracy Fenton and Compulsive Readers for inviting me to be part of the blog tour for this wonderful book.