The Second Chance Café in Carlton Square written by Lilly Bartlett, publisher HarperImpulse is available in ebook format NOW.
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One chance isn’t always enough…
Everyone expects great things from Emma Billings, but when her future gets derailed by an unexpected turn of events, she realizes that getting back on track means traveling in a different direction.
She finds that new path in the closed-down pub on Carlton Square. Summoning every ounce of ingenuity, and with the help of her friends and family, she opens the Second Chance Café. The charity training business is meant to keep vulnerable kids off the streets and (hopefully) away from the Metropolitan Police, and her new employees are full of ideas, enthusiasm … and trouble. They’ll need as much TLC as the customers they’re serving.
This ragtag group of chancers have to make a go of a business they know nothing about, and they do get some expert help from an Italian who’s in love with the espresso machine and a professional sandwich whisperer who reads auras, but not everyone is happy to see the café open. Their milk keeps disappearing and someone is canceling the cake orders, but it’s when someone commits bloomicide on all their window boxes that Emma realizes things are serious. Can the café survive when NIMBY neighbors and the rival café owner join forces to close them down? Or will Emma’s dreams fall as flat as the cakes they’re serving?
This was such a delight to read. The Second Chance Café in Carlton Square is book 2 in the Carlton Square series but can easily be read as a standalone, as proven by myself as of yet book 1, The Big Little Wedding on Carlton Square, is still waiting patiently on my kindle.
Emma has had an awful lot of big events happen to her over the last two years; marriage, giving birth to twins and now she is planning to open up her own café. Emma is one ambitious lady but when she saw the empty pub on the square she just knew what to do with it. She also wanted the opportunity to open up doors for young, vulnerable people, give them a helping hand in life. A chance to show them a trade and teach them new skills to help them move on in life in the right direction. Interviewing candidates for her first two trainees was to prove an eye opening experience for Emma but she looked further from the first impressions and hoped her gut instincts were accurate.
Renovating the property sounded like a lot of hard work especially with the young toddlers but her family were wonderful support to Emma. The big opening day of the café arrives and you can feel the nerves of anticipation from Emma. Will she have any customers, can they fathom out how to work the posh coffee machine? Of all the obstacles that have come Emma’s way in making the café a success she didn’t expect to be sabotaged by a rival café. Gathering evidence to prove this was difficult and the café looks doomed before it even gets properly started.
Lilly Bartlett has created wonderful sub characters in this story with a wide array of colourful individuals which all work harmoniously, albeit with a few bumps, together. I’d love to read more on some of these characters and hope in future stories they may take centre stage.
With her busy life as new mum, new business owner her own relationship was surely going to face a few challenges with Emma and her husband Daniel having to adjust to new routines.
I loved the sound of this café and could imagine it with my own eyes with the author’s description. A wonderful community of old and young coming together over tea and cake. Sounds rather perfect to me! Delightful and entertaining radiating warmth and hopefulness.
About the Author
Lilly Bartlett’s cosy romcoms are full of warmth, quirky characters and guaranteed happily-ever-afters. Lilly is the pen-name of Sunday Times and USA Today best-selling author, Michele Gorman, who writes best friend-girl power comedies under her own name.