Book review: The Pretty Delicious Cafe

It says a lot about my lack of down time that I’ve only just got around to reading Kiwi author Danielle Hawkins’ latest novel, The Pretty Delicious Cafe. The paperback version was released last September, but I finally read the last page yesterday – and I have no idea why it took me so long!

Danielle is a vet by trade, but this, her third bestseller, has very little to do with animals, and everything to do with food, which makes it a winner for me already. The story is set in Ratai, a small coastal town in Northland is gorgeous, and from the beginning, it’s easy to imagine spending a long, lazy summer in this typical Kiwi part of the world.

Lia is a local who co-owns a cafe with Anna – a good friend who also happens to be the fiance of her twin brother, Rob. Just out of a relationship with the rather wimpy Isaac, the last thing Lia’s looking for is love – but sometimes it just appears on your doorstep, whether you want it to or not.

With the advent of the busy summer season just around the corner, Lia has quite a lot on her mind – notably how on earth to keep up with the demand for the delicious food served in the Pretty Delicious Cafe. There’s no dodgy pre-made pies and nasty glutinous desserts here; everything is made by Anna and Lia, The descriptions of the delicious-sounding Strawberry Ice Cream Cakes and Chocolate Brownies are mouth-watering – but that’s just fine, because Danielle has helpfully included all the recipes she talks about in the story at the back of the book, almost like she wants you to taste the flavours as clearly as the cafe’s customers.

The Pretty Delicious Cafe is chick lit at its best; it’ll make you smile, feel nostalgic and not want to go back into the real world until you’ve read just one more chapter. While there are a some serious topics introduced in the book, overall it’s about love – for friends, for family, for that special someone, and for food. I really enjoyed the book; now all I need to do is wait for her next one!

The Pretty Delicious Cafe by Danielle Hawkins, published by HarperCollins