Book Club: The Pretty Delicious Cafe

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Author: Danielle Hawkins
ISBN: 978-1-4607-5258-6
RRP: $29.99

Danielle Hawkins writes books with amazing titles that make me add the books to the wishlist, but I have never quite got around to reading her books. Finally that has changed, and I would still like to go back and read Chocolate Cake For Breakfast because… well because Chocolate cake for breakfast.

The Pretty Delicious Cafe is set in a little town in New Zealand called Ratai where best friends Anna and Lia own and run a cafe. The story is very much character driven and written with humour and insight.

Hawkins explores a couple of tricky relationships and I was intrigued to see how things would go.

Lia has a twin brother, Rob, so they are quite clearly fraternal twins but they share that inexplicable bond that ties them closer than other siblings. They share an intuitive connection that defies explanation and that they try to make light of, until they are in a situation where it’s validity is undeniable.

The characters are all quite complex and have a lot going on around them so for the most part they were quite well developed. Anna and Lia have been friends since Uni but now they are also soon to be sisters when Anna marries Rob, which brings it’s own host of dramas to the table.

I was laughing from the first page with the situations Lia sometimes managed to get herself into, and that carried through the entire novel. This family is definitely quirky, every one of them, and it was great to read.

The Pretty Delicious Cafe is the backdrop for the bulk of the story, the cafe opened by Anna and Lia which is also Lia’s home and situated at the top of a quite secluded mountain. The cafe is a great idea, and quite popular in the tourist season but the off season is a little slow so they really need to work out how to smooth the workload a little.

I loved this book, I love the characters and I love the sense of family. There is a lot going on and things don’t always run smoothly but through it all they have each other.

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Anna and Lia are best friends, they’ve squabbled at times but never anything too serious. Now that they work together and the busy season is setting in, as well as organising Anna and Rob’s wedding, they are both exhausted and nerves get a little frayed. I love that they are both a little insecure and have their own quirky habits that standing on the outside I can find endearing but can be sure that it wouldn’t seem that way from the inside.

If that’s not enough going on Lia is still hearing from her ex-boyfriend on a terribly regular basis because he just doesn’t want to admit that it’s over, he seems like a sad, harmless little man but his behaviour escalates throughout the story to show that people are definitely not always what they seem.

I want to say this is a great little light-hearted read to wile away the hours poolside but the more I think about it the more it occurs to me that it really isn’t that light-hearted; there are some pretty major issues within these pages. The Pretty Delicious Cafe deals with mental health issues as well as a huge range of deep family issues so it’s not really light-hearted but it is written with heart, with wit and with sensitivity.

The banter between some of the characters amused me and was something I could relate to, it really helped give a feel for the characters; which wasn’t always a good thing.

I can’t really think of any downsides to this one, except that there was a character or two I would have liked a little more background and depth to completely understand the dynamics at play. I was entertained, amused and moved by The Pretty Delicious Cafe and will definitely add Hawkins to the watchlist.

Danielle Hawkins can be followed on Facebook.

The Pretty Delicious Cafe is published by HarperCollins Australia and is available now from Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to HarperCollins Australia 10 of our Beauty and Lace club members will be reading The Pretty Delicious Cafe so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

11 thoughts on “Book Club: The Pretty Delicious Cafe

  1. Just delightful! The Pretty Delicious Cafe is such a lovely read and captures your imagination from the very first page, enveloping you in its cosy world of cupcakes, country life and complicated relationships!

    While the tasty treats and scrumptious offerings of the Pretty Delicious Cafe provide a charming backdrop for the story that is told, for me it was the characters in this book that made it so engaging.

    I loved them all, from the main character Lia’s quirky but sweet, nature-loving mum; her stoic but ever dependable twin Rob, engaged to her highly strung and slightly neurotic best friend and business partner Anna; to the mysterious new guy in town, Jed the hot mechanic! But the most endearing of all is Lia herself – a kind, caring person who feels everything so deeply and is incredibly intuitive.

    While this book is at times laugh out loud funny and the story is told with a laid back, relaxed country feel, the story does nevertheless confront some serious issues. But I thought these topics were approached well and the author managed to balance these darker moments with the overall lighter aspects of the everyday in this close-knit town. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it.

  2. The Pretty Delicious Cafè is a pretty good read. It has a quirky humorous slant to it which makes it interesting and funny but it also deals with some sensitive and at times difficult family issues .

    The story is set in a little country town in New Zealand called Ratai and tells the story of Lia (real name Aurelia) and her friend, business partner and soon to be sister in law Anna who is marrying Lia’s twin brother Rob ( real name Robin). Lisa and Anna have restored an old cafè and are working 7 days a week cooking , cleaning, serving and trying to make a go of the business.
    Everyone knows each other in Ratai so it is hard to have a personal life without everyone knowing about it.
    Lia meets a new man in town; the mechanic Jed, after a very funny run in which you will have to read in the book. The connection between them grows despite the troubles that Jed has back in his home town of Thames.
    Lia also has own her troubles in an ex boyfriend that keeps coming back to annoy her.
    There is drama, there is humour, there is a telepathic connection between Lia and her twin brother Rob and there are love interests throughout the book.
    I really warmed to the characters and felt for their issues and troubles. Besides Lia, Anna, Rob and Jed there is Lia’s new age mum and her yoga and onion juice; Monty who owns the garage but is more often fishing than running the garage; Mike, Lia and Rob’s much older step brother who is always the voice of reason; Isaac, the controlling ex boyfriend and Tracey, Jed’s ex wife who suffers with a mental illness. There is a lot to take in but the story flows and it doesn’t take long to work out who is who and their connections.
    I really enjoyed the book and look forward to reading more of Danielle Hawkins, another author to add to my list to watch out for.
    Thanks Beauty and Lace and Harper Collins for the opportunity to read and review another great book.
    Note : there are some great recipes at the end of the book that feature in the Cafè – have already baked the chocolate brownies, yummy !!!

  3. The Pretty Delicious Cafe by Danielle Hawkins was a really delightful read from beginning to end. It was especially nice to read about a cafe set in New Zealand – at times I wished I could reach into the pages and have some of the delicious food described (at the back of the book there are actually recipes!!).

    The story follows Lia, who works with her friend Anna in a cafe they own together – it is hectic and requires long hours which takes its toll on them both at times. Lia has a twin brother, Rob, who is engaged to Anna, and their wedding is in a few months so Anna is even more stressed out than usual trying to deal with the business, relationships, her family and wedding plans. A new man comes to town who catches Lia in some funny moments upon their first few meetings, Jed comes with his own “baggage” but is such a lovely guy! But with her ex-boyfriend being a bit of a nuisance it does throw a spanner in the works.

    The cast of characters worked really well together, I loved reading about ‘the twin thing’ experiences through Lia and her brother Rob. It was quite interesting to read how she felt things and there are some times when it comes in handy. A couple characters like Mike and her Dad I felt needed more story to them, as they just sort of felt like characters, but it wasn’t a big issue. I really grew to like most of the characters, and the sense of humour was right up my alley – found myself laughing to myself at times with the banter!

    The story does also cover some deeper issues such as depression and mental illness, which I think was written quite well into the story and bring awareness as well.

    Overall I really enjoyed The Pretty Delicious Cafe, and thanks to Beauty and Lace and Harper Collins for letting me review it.

  4. I absolutely adored reading The Pretty Delicious Café by Danielle Hawkins.
    It was so refreshingly different to what I normally read lately that I didn’t really want to put it down and kept reading , finishing the book fairly quickly.
    Set in a café in New Zealand , The Pretty Delicious Café is set around owner Lia and her friend Anna (who run the café) and Lia’s twin brother Rob.
    Lia meets a new man Jed (who comes along with his own baggage) and in the midst of a host of stressful thing lays a cast of other great characters in this novel.
    It even includes some of the actual recipes at the end of the book that are featured in the café which is a lovely twist.
    All in all I found this to be a great read and as well as a great romantic storyline it also covers some deepers issues such as depression which the author dealt with with great compassion and understanding.
    Thankyou to Beauty and Lace and Harper and Collins for allowing me to read and review this book.

  5. I loved reading the Pretty Delicious Cafe. It was an easy read and I enjoyed it while I was on holidays.. I did not want to put it down, wondering where the different relationships were heading.
    At first it seems a light, romantic novel. However there are a number of deeper serious issues which the author touches on. Blended families and relationships, I never saw the twist of her mother and Mike and thought that was very clever. I enjoyed how Lia built a relationship with Jeds young son.
    She has an understanding of mental illness and the problems of anorexia. There was also the issue of stalking and fixation. The psychic relationship between Rob and Lia is interesting and very believable.
    I loved Hawkins ability to write with humour and belivability. I had a strong sense of the chaos that the cafe was descending into and the calm, lovable character of Lia’s mother. She was a true old hippy.
    As I read this I am amazed that Hawkins managed to link so many ideas and cover so many topics in one book. I am sure she should write a sequel
    I reccomend this book to everyone.
    The recipes at the end were a pleasant surprise and I am going to make the ‘Strawberry Icecream Cake for Christmas Day.

  6. The Pretty Delicious Cafe was quite an enjoyable read. It is humorous and yet it also covers some serious issues such as mental health and family issues.
    The background of the story is revolved around a little cafe which is run by two best friends Lia and Anna.
    If you are a foodie like me , You will definitely enjoy reading this book. And as a bonus this book also contains a few delicious recipes (which were featured in the book) at the back which I am keen to try.

    I loved the relationships between each of the characteristics. The family relationships were realistic and touches on every aspect of family life.

    There was romance in this book too and loved the story of how Lia and Jed met. It was quite laughable. The humour in this book is everywhere and I really enjoyed the laughter here and there.

    Anna and Lia share more than friendship. They share a business (cafe) and are sister in law to each other. Anna is engaged to Rob (Lia’s twin brother) .

    This book has humour, romance,friendship and family life written all over it. The scenes of the pretty New Zealand town is a bonus.
    This book was quite addictive just like delicious food and I could hardly put it down.

    I feel I could relate to all the issues that Anna was going through and helped me feel that yes life has ups and downs and there are lots of things that come in your way but eventually you figure out the best for yourself.

    I love how Danielle Hawkins has covered a lot of topics in to one book. I found it easy to read and the stories interconnected smoothly between characters.
    A must read for this holiday season especially if you love food .

  7. The Pretty Delicious Café

    A really lovely story by Danielle Hawkins

    Firstly, I must admit that this is exactly the sort of cover art that would grab my attention when I am wandering around bookstores. The book artwork screams #takemehomeandreadme.

    I really enjoyed the characters in this book. Especially Lia & Rob. I have a bestie that is a twin and the dynamic of twins I find absolutely fascinating. This is really a book that will grab your attention and you will just want to keep reading.
    I confess this was a two sitting read for me. I just had to keep going!

    The subject matter is at times a little confronting – but that is what sets it apart from other books in this genre.

    IN other news, it kind of makes me want to open my own café… now just to find the money location and the time lol.

    Absolutely recommend this book and I am looking forward to reading more books by Danielle Hawkins in the future.

  8. WARNING! To avoid complete strangers looking at you like you have grown a second head, do not read this book in public!

    Ok, so now that I have your attention, let me tell you about this captivating book. The characters are fantastic and very quickly they go from simply being words on the page to people that you know, love and care about.

    My warning above comes from the uncontrollable moments of laughter that I am sure you will encounter just as I did. I just couldnt control myself. The laughter just came out, uncontrollably and in pure joy. Whilst this book is light and follows a fun and entertaining romance style, there are some deeper issues which are touched on buy this only enhances the read.

    This is one book that you will pick up and not want to put down!

  9. A fun and quirky read with a distinctive New Zealand humour and authenticity that makes it incredibly enjoyable to read. The Pretty Delicious Cafe is predominantly about family, love, friendship, and just enough drama to keep the story moving at an easy pace. Danielle Hawkins presents quintessential New Zealand in a story that will delight romance readers worldwide.

  10. I totally loved The Pretty Delicious Café by Danielle Hawkins 🙂 A fantastic light read set in New Zealand where Lia and her best friend Anna have opened a restored café. Anna is engaged to Lia’s twin brother, Rob. Meanwhile Lia’s ex-boyfriend, Isaac does not seem to be able to get the message that their relationship is over.
    Jed Dixon is new to town and working as a mechanic, there is a mutual attraction between Jed and Lia and as their relationship develops Isaac becomes increasingly jealous.. Jed also has the problem of an ex-wife with a mental illness and a son. As the book develops it becomes apparent that Jed and Lia belong together but with the many hurdles they both have to overcome to be together The Pretty Delicious Café is a constant page turner.

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