Bah, Humbug! // Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson

Bah, Humbug! // Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie JohnsonChristmas at the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson
Series: Comfort Food Cafe #2
Published by HarperCollins UK on September 23rd 2016
Rating: two-half-stars
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Holidays, Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Humorous, General
Pages: 208
Also by this author: Pippa’s Cornish Dream, Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe
Synopsis:

‘Full of quirky characters, friendship and humour, you will devour this engaging and heartwarming novel in one sitting’ – Sunday Express
Becca Fletcher has always hated Christmas but she has her reasons for being Little Miss Grinch. Now, though, she can’t avoid her version of ho-ho-hell – because she’s travelling to the Comfort Food Cafe to spend the festive season with her sister Laura and her family. She’s expecting mulled wine, 24-hour Christmas movie marathons and all kinds of very merry torture.
Little does Becca know that the Comfort Food Cafe is like no other place on earth. Perched on a snow-covered hill, it’s a place full of friendship where broken hearts can heal, new love can blossom and where Becca’s Christmas miracle really could happen – if only she can let it...
What readers are saying about Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe:
‘Like a mug of hot chocolate with marshmallows – warm, melting your heart and cheering’ On My Bookshelf
‘A treat to read at anytime of the year, but even more perfect with Christmas approaching’ Books and Me
‘Full of friendship and village community spirit, beautiful scenery, romance and fun’ Bookworms and Shutterbugs

I really enjoy Debbie Johnson’s books – she’s such a talented writer, but I’m struggling with how I felt for Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe. Happy to be back at the Comfort Food Cafe, obviously, because Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe was amazing, but also really disappointed, because this book is not about Laura again, but about Becca, Laura’s sister. And Laura and Becca are complete opposites and, frankly, Laura’s not exactly a very nice person. When a book starts with three separate instances of Becca being a bit of a jerk over Christmas, it kind of has you worried. Because to really get into a book, I need to like the character, and it was really, really hard to warm to Becca. She’s obviously gone through some stuff, but I never quite understood why she a) felt like the black sheep of her family, when her family were lovely or b) why she never told anyone what happened to her when she was 17.

I genuinely struggled with Becca, because I didn’t understand her, I didn’t understand why she hated Christmas so much (because she hated Christmas long before the incident at 17, that much was clear when she was throwing Laura’s toys in the toilet), and there’s never a good reason (Ninja turtles are not a good reason and even THAT was after the toys/toilet incident).

However, it was so good to be back at the Comfort Food Cafe (hereby renamed to the greatest place on Earth – sorry Disney). To see Laura again, and all the regulars at the cafe, to see Cherie and Frank so happy, was delightful. Absolutely amazing. And it was nice to see Becca feel a part of it, at times, but then she would always kinda ruin it, and it’s as if the novel wanted to dive into Becca’s mental health, but it was never fully explained, there was obviously something there, but not important enough to really impact Becca? Or to explore? I don’t know. It just really felt like it all needed more explanation. If I suffered the way Becca did with my mental health, I would be quite disappointed in this portrayal, because all she seemed to need for a good night’s sleep was to be honest? Does insomnia go away like that?

I just don’t know what the book wanted to be. It was a cute romance, but I’m not even sure Becca was ready for a romance, ready for everything that brings, when she wasn’t even happy in herself, with herself. And did I believe for one second that everything would be fine when I closed the book? Heck no. I think Becca had a long way to go and a happy-ever-after wouldn’t solve that, in my opinion.

two-half-stars
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