BLOG TOUR! - The Christmas Cafe by Amanda Prowse


Title - The Christmas Cafe
Author - Amanda Prowse
Publication Date - October 22nd 2015
Publisher - Head of Zeus
Format - Paperback

Bea does not believe in second chances.

A widow at fifty-three, Bea knows she must accept that she will be alone forever. She buries her grief in hard work, and soon the deli she runs in Surry Hills has a reputation for the best carrot cake in Sydney.

But then an email from a cafe-owner in Edinburgh leads her to take a trip to Scotland in the depths of winter. There, transported by the twinkling lights and falling snow of a traditional Christmas, Bea is drawn back to a secret past - and a secret love - that she has long ago tried to forget...

There are hundreds and thousands of Amanda Prowse fans, fans that told me, during my reading of A Christmas Cafe, that Prowse is one of their most favourite authors. As I progressed further into this beautifully weaved, superbly told novel, I began to understand why. I can't believe that The Christmas Cafe is the first novel I've read by Amanda Prowse, but I can tell you now that it certainly won't be the last. I was utterly charmed by this story, enchanted even, and felt like I could only come up for air once I'd turned the last page.  

Prowse reeled me in from the very beginning of A Christmas Cafe, teasing me with tiny morsels of mystery and intrigue, and hinting towards a past which Bea, the heroine in this novel, just couldn't forget, regardless of how much time had passed. After the death of her husband, Bea's mind was finally free to wander, and just as she knew it would, it returned to the same man who had taken up residence in her mind for years upon years. With Prowse's delicate-as-a-rose imagery and unpicking of emotions, it was clear to see that this man, whoever he had been, had been more than just a fleeting love affair, someone who she had never once forgotten about. These delicious hints towards a past I knew nothing about spurred me on throughout my reading of this novel, so eager and desperate was I to delve into Bea's history to find out what had happened so long ago, and who the man was who had never left her side, not spiritually anyway. 

The pacing of The Christmas Cafe was absolutely superb. Not once did I find a lull or dip in the novel, not once did I find myself questioning something in the plot. In fact, I absolutely flew through the pages, excitement and adrenalin coursing through my veins when parts of Bea's life began to unravel. From Sydney Australia, with it's scorching heat even during Christmas, to Edinburgh Scotland, with it's snowy pavements and freezing temperatures, Prowse truly gave me a feast for each and every sense. Her descriptions were spot-on, her choice of words so beautifully put to use, only ever giving me the full-effect of what her characters were doing/seeing/tasting/feeling. The plot was gripping, at times a tad torturous, but on the whole, incredibly moving, emotional and satisfying with a cast of characters who left a lasting impression on me. 

The heroine of The Christmas Cafe, Beatrice, Bea for short, was a character who I warmed to and sympathised with immediately. What I loved most about Bea was the fact that, despite her predicament which she'd found herself in, she was still completely loving and wholesome, a real golden-hearted woman, who I utterly adored, not only for her winning personality and gentle nature, but because she felt so real to me. The deli which she ran within the novel was so obviously her pride and joy, and I loved the scenes which took place within it, alongside her two lovely friends Nait and Kim, and Mr Giraldi, a disgruntled but amusing customer! Prowse brought forward the deeper issues between Bea and her son Wyatt, and her granddaughter too, who I also loved, and who I felt brought her own style of joy and warmth to the novel, and proved to be a very entertaining contrast to her grandmother. There were moments of giggling on my part, coupled with a few stray emotional tears and, overall, one of those smiles, when I reached the end of The Christmas Cafe, that seemed to last forever.

 With such a beautifully poignant and moving story, coupled with snowy Scotland, ever-lasting love and the ties that bond two people together throughout the decades, The Christmas Cafe warmed me from the inside out, like a frothy, rich hot chocolate, cradled in my hands on a cold and frosty night keeping me warm. I was gulping back my tears, stifling my gasps and hoping against hope that it wouldn't turn out to be too late for Bea. And overall, I think that's what really shone through from within this book. That life is too short, that you should take every chance that you're given to be truly, unconditionally happy, and that in the end, the only thing that matters is that you followed your heart and took your happiness with both hands and held it tightly. Distance, time and circumstances doesn't change when it comes to 'the one.' I loved Bea, I adored her story, and this will not, I repeat NOT, be the last novel I read by Amanda Prowse. Beautiful in every single way possible. FIVE GORGEOUS CUPCAKES from Becca's Books!


Amanda Prowse EVENT! ~

The Christmas CafĂ© by Amanda Prowse is published on 22nd October (£7.99, Head of Zeus). Amanda Prowse will be appearing at the Southampton’s Festival of Words on Tuesday 27th October, for more information visit http://www.sotospeakfestival.org/amanda-prowse-2/


Amanda has always obsessively crafted short stories and scribbled notes for potential books. Six years ago, she quit her job as a management consultant and began writing full time. Her first book, Poppy Day is a contemporary novel following an army wife whose incredible love for her husband gives her the courage to set out to rescue him after he was taken hostage in Afghanistan. Originally self-published in October 2011, Poppy Day quickly became a bestseller and Amanda joined the prestigious Head of Zeus publishing house. 

The second in the No Greater Love series, What Have I Done? was an eBook sensation where women worldwide identified with the theme of domestic abuse in middle class households and it was subsequently voted a 'Best Book of 2013' by Amazon Kindle. Amanda followed this by joining the team of the ITV This Morning show as their resident author in 2013.

All of Amanda's books in the No Greater Love series share one common theme - the main characters are ordinary women who find themselves in extraordinary situations where their strength, resourcefulness and determination is tested to their very limits.

Amanda's ambition is to create stories that keep people from turning the bedside lamp off at night, great characters that ensure you take every step with them and tales that fill your head so you can't possibly read another book until the memory fades...

You can find Amanda Prowse on Facebook | Twitter | amandaprowse.org
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