This is the first of a pile
of books my mother-in-law had prepared for me when I came to see her in
Ripon in August. It is the second Milly Johnson I have read, and I
truly enjoyed the first one. You can read that review here.
Once again, we find ourselves
in the Barnsley area. But while in the "Teashop"-book, the teashop
really was the focal point for all the action, "The Sunflower Café" is
not where everything happens. In fact, it took more
than 20 chapters before some of the characters went to the café for the
first time, and afterwards, we read only about a few more visits.
So, what it the book about?
In short: Friendship and love. Big words, and indeed big changes in the characters' lives which prove the immense value of both.
Most of the story
concentrates on three women, but there are other characters featuring
almost as prominently. The cast is well drawn and credible, not too
black and white (with a few exceptions).
Cheryl sends her boyfriend of
10 years packing after he has - once again - gambled away all her
savings, money she wanted to use for one more attempt at IVF. She is
left with no money and no car, which makes her job as
a cleaner not easier.
Della has been managing the
office of a cleaning service for decades, always hoping one day her boss
would realize that she could be so much more to him - if only he wasn't
married... But when that marriage does end,
it is completely different from what Della had always imagined.
Connie spent all her married
life looking after others, and chocolate was her only comfort. Then
something happens that kills her love of chocolate for ever... or does
The lives of these three
women become linked in a way none of them could have foreseen. New
opportunities arise for each of them, at work as well as in their
private lives. Sometimes the obstacles seem to be too big to ever
be overcome, but the ladies show how much strength each of them
possesses when it really matters, and there are (of course) happy
endings all around.
Some of the twists and turns
are rather foreseeable, but by no means all, and I still wanted to keep
on reading to find out what was going to happen next, and even when I
did guess right, how it would come about.
It was light, enjoyable
reading with a good portion of humour thrown in, and I wouldn't mind
reading another Milly Johnson soon.