From the New York Times bestselling author of The Bookshop on the Corner and The Cafe by the Sea comes another enchanting, unforgettable novel of a woman who makes a fresh start on the beautiful Scottish Island of Mure—only to discover life has more surprises in store for her.
When Flora MacKenzie traded her glum career in London for the remote Scottish island of Mure, she never dreamed that Joel—her difficult, adorable boss—would follow. Yet now, not only has Flora been reunited with her family and opened a charming café by the sea, but she and Joel are taking their first faltering steps into romance.
With Joel away on business in New York, Flora is preparing for the next stage in her life. And that would be…? Love? She’s feeling it. Security? In Joel’s arms, sure. Marriage? Not open to discussion.
In the meanwhile, Flora is finding pleasure in a magnificent sight: whales breaking waves off the beaches of Mure. But it also signals something less joyful. According to local superstition, it’s an omen—and a warning that Flora’s future could be as fleeting as the sea-spray…
A bracing season on the shore sets the stage for Jenny Colgan’s delightful novel that’s as funny, heartwarming, and unpredictable as love itself.
Colgan opens this sequel by assuring readers it doesn't matter whether they've read the first book (2017's The Caf by the Sea), but this is unmistakably the second book in a trilogy the dark middle of everything, without the optimism of beginnings nor the happily-ever-after closure that one hopes will eventually appear. Flora MacKenzie, newly minted entrepreneur on the Scottish Isle of Mure, and Joel Binder, American lawyer, have come together under the ruthless aegis of billionaire Colton Rogers, who's bought half the island and Joel too, and is trying to draw in Flora's brother, Fintan. Joel and Colton depart on a prolonged, confidential business trip, leaving Flora struggling, feeling pushed away by Joel's unexplained silences. Problematic simplifications found in the first book fetishization of Flora's "milky, creamy" whiteness, pure faith in benevolent capitalism become nuanced here, but other flaws appear, such as Syrian refugee Saif Hassan, whose sad history is leveraged into inspirational pathos while he remains underdeveloped as a character. Colgan's brand expertly combines quirky contemporary U.K. settings and snarky-sweet realism, but, with little resolved for these characters after so much pain, this book is not a good introduction to the series or her work.
Sad, stupid story.