★ ★ ★ THREE STARS
A failing bistro, an unorganised chef…this has all the hallmarks of a Ramsay’s Hotel Hell. It’s up to savvy businesswoman, Olivia to secure the safety of the bistro and catch a chef’s heart along the way.
This was one of those sweet reads that you envision in animated multi colour with cute little hearts fluttering from each character’s eyes whenever they lock eyes with one another. While this is not my usual romance, I couldn’t resist the read once gazing at the cover. If you don’t already know…I’m a mega cover whore. If it’s cute, colourful and captures my attention? I’m buying it – with fingers crossed that it’ll actually turn out to be a good read! This one did not disappoint. I enjoyed the slow-burn sweet romance as well as the heart-warming backstory of a bistro that’s come to mean more than just good food to a small town.
OLIVIA – As a savvy, strong-willed businesswoman, Olivia was easily likeable and an all-round gem of a character. Olivia’s caring and considerate nature compelled me to like her from the very beginning. I loved how despite her considerate nature, she still had a strong confidence in herself and abilities and wasn’t afraid to stand up to others’ disapproval. While I enjoy reading about characters gaining confidence, I prefer to read about those who know their capabilities and don’t limit themselves based on others’ doubts. Olivia was definitely this. As the daughter of the man in charge, her insistence upon making a name for herself without nepotism made me respect the hell out of her. Here was a woman willing to work her way up from the bottom and find unexpected love along the way.
FINN – I had a bit of a hard time liking Finn as much as Olivia and quite frankly I think this is what brought the book down for me. Don’t get me wrong – he wasn’t a bad or totally unlikeable character. Quite the opposite. He felt like he had almost no character or strength. While Olivia was a force to be reckoned with, Finn felt like a bystander in this story. I would have loved to see more of his convictions. A few fights and sizzling banter would have gone a long way to improve my opinion of him. I struggled to believe that after running the bistro on his own for so long, he would just willingly and happily hand over the reins. Despite this, I still enjoyed the way Finn gained confidence as the story went on, especially with encouragement from Olivia.
While this book was a charming and sweet treat read, I would have liked to have seen more conflict and drama to balance the sweetness out. For those looking for a summer beach read that’s full of happy moments, optimism and a slow-burn romance – this is the book for you! I’m inclined to continue reading Julie Stock books (this was my first), especially since they have such cute covers. I’m hoping that some of the rest may have more conflict in them though.
When Olivia goes to manage Finn’s failing bistro, will they end up sharing a table for two, or will it be a recipe for disaster? Olivia Fuller longs to manage one of the restaurants in her father’s chain and to break free to live the independent life she’s wanted for so long. When her father finally puts his trust in her and sends her to a failing restaurant in Devon, she’s confident she can prove herself capable of doing the job. Finn Anderson is about to lose his beloved seaside bistro, unless the bank can find a buyer to dig him out. When George Fuller offers Finn a deal, he has no choice but to accept if he wants any chance of getting his bistro back one day. And then the new manager arrives…Even after meeting the prickly chef and discovering his complete lack of business skills, Olivia is confident she can turn the struggling business round. But as Olivia and Finn start working together, a mutual attraction develops between them, and soon, nothing is going according to Olivia’s plan. When there’s a real chance that the bistro might be sold off, Olivia and Finn determine to fight for it, united by their hard work and their growing feelings for each other. But can they save the bistro and be together, or does destiny have a different path in mind? A feel-good contemporary romance set in a bistro beside the sea in Devon.
// what is your perfect summer read book? do you ever buy books just because of their covers? //