Published: 5 May 2017
Publisher: HQ Digital
Category: Women’s Fiction/Chick Lit
Everyone deserves a second chance…don’t they?
Jenny Masters finds herself living the modern dream. Wife to a millionaire, living in a mansion and mother to Kardashian-obsessed ten-year-old April, there isn’t anything missing. Until, her whole world comes crashing down, forcing Jenny and April to leave behind their glittering life and start over with nothing.
With village gossip following her wherever she goes, she finds refuge and a job in the new coffee shop in town. As the days pass Jenny fears she doesn’t have what it takes to pick herself back up and give April the life she always wanted to. But with the help of enigmatic new boss Noah, and housemate Elle, Jenny realises it’s never too late to become the woman life really intended you to be!
Rating: 2 Stars
The New Beginnings Coffee Club sounded like the perfect summer read, just the thing to kick off the weeks of sunshine and cool drinks (frappuccinos, anyone?) ahead.
Sadly, once I started reading the book, I found that it lacked the spark I thought it might have after sampling the summary. It relies quite heavily on cliches of the genre: a wife, whose entire identity has become wrapped up in her husband and child, finds out her husband is cheating on her (with her “best friend” no less) and she must find the strength to create a new life for herself and her daughter.
Jenny, the protagonist and wife in question, was perplexing. She didn’t come from money and while she’s gotten used to certain comforts being married to a millionaire, her utter lack of sense regarding the real world astounded me. Surely she couldn’t have forgotten everything in only ten years? What it’s like to not pay hundreds or even thousands for silly little things? It was odd when compared to the fact that she was the only one between her and her husband that could see selling their mansion was the only way to make some dent in their near bankrupt state. She got slightly better over time, getting back to the fashion ideas she had as a college student, so that is something in the way of her development.
What I didn’t like about her, even as we got toward the end of the book, was that she kept making excuses for Zak’s behavior regarding her friend/housemate, Elle, and their own relationship. He says and does things that are reprehensible and yet Jenny makes excuse after excuse. I get that he is the father of her child, but that doesn’t mean letting him get away with murder like this.
Aside from the problems I had with Jenny’s character, I didn’t get much of a sense of familiarity with many of the people that she came into contact with in the village: Noah (the new love interest), Martini (a grandmother whose grandchild makes friends with April), etc. The person I liked the most was Elle, whose story I found much more fascinating that Jenny’s, to be honest. Something I noticed was that the gossip that is alluded to in the summary actually has next to nothing to do with Jenny at all and more to do with Elle and the revelation that she’s transgender. It’s strange that they make Elle’s story about Jenny and how it affects her. It didn’t rub me wrong in the moment, but thinking back on it I get an off feeling and don’t care for how Elle’s unwilling outing was used as a plot device.
Setting was not a problem, exactly, just not as necessary to the story as the title made it seem like it would be. The shop attached to Noah’s cottage, where Jenny and April end up living, could have been any kind of shop and it wouldn’t have mattered one whit to the overall plot. We didn’t hear enough about Noah’s supposed coffee bean passion, except a couple of sentences at the beginning, to make it a worthwhile setting.
The writing was a letdown as well. It didn’t have anything special to offer, which saddened me, because good writing can make up for an awful lot in a substandard or bare bones plot, but I didn’t get any of that here. This was, regrettably, not the summer escape read I thought it would be.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.