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Campari for Breakfast

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  280 ratings  ·  55 reviews
'Reads like a cross between I Capture the Castle and Love, Nina' Cathy Rentzenbrink, Bookseller

Life is full of terrible things. Ghosts of dead relatives, heartbreak . . . burnt toast.

In 1987, Sue Bowl's world changes for ever. Her mother dies, leaving her feeling like she’s lost a vital part of herself. And then her father shacks up with an awful golddigger called Ivana.

Hardcover, 304 pages
Published April 10th 2014 by Doubleday (first published March 13th 2014)
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Average rating 3.44  · 
Rating details
 ·  280 ratings  ·  55 reviews

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Feb 10, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
I hadn't realized this was such a YA book. Sue, the 17 year old protagonist, came off as closer to 14 to me, very immature.

As a bit if plot re-hashing, which I normally avoid, her mother's just committed suicide, and she hates her dad's fiancée, so she's off to her Aunt Coral at her mother's family estate, or at least manse. At that point, some of the story is told in flashback form over Coral's lifetime from her journals; I liked that as an alternative to Sue mooning over a boy she can't have
Robin Stevens
Jun 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Funny enough to make me laugh out loud on the train, sweet enough to make me fall completely in love with the wonderfully hapless characters. Sue is a brilliant creation, and this is an utter delight.
Tracey Seaman
Jul 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Easy read but still a little thought provoking.
Jul 12, 2018 rated it liked it
A fun, light read. Better than your average Chick Lit.
Jul 20, 2015 rated it liked it
As I met the author at an excellent reading event at Storytellers Inc in St Anne's, Lancashire, and she kindly signed my copy, my view of this book is enhanced. At first it reads as a frivolous and silly yarn, but there's a lot lurking in there.

The story switches between the inter-war and then the war period, through the eyes of the matriarchal Aunt Coral (although circumstances have left her with no children of her own)and the '80s, when a young woman comes of age, having suffered a tragic even
Jan 28, 2015 rated it really liked it

Originally posted on:> http://lauraslittlebookblog.blogspot....

Campari for Breakfast is unlike anything I have ever read before and I absolutely loved it! This fantastic novel, set in 1987 tells the story of seventeen year old Sue, who devastatingly loses her Mother and feels like she has lost a part of herself. But she finds a saviour in her Aunt Coral who she moves in with for her gap year, in the beautiful crumbling home of Green Place. Here she is determined to write and book and fall i
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I double loved the craziness of this book ,took a few double takes as well until I clocked that the" spelling mistakes" are all part of the book! Again, I probably wouldn't have chosen to read this book but I am very glad I did .It is refreshingly creative, looking as it does through the eyes of a bereaved seventeen year old Sue, with massive aspirations to being a writer, who goes to live with her Aunt Cora who turns out to be her great aunt through one of the many twists and turns of this fasc ...more
May 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Sue goes to live with her great-aunt Coral following the death of her mother. During her time there, she uncovers family secrets, and brings together a cast of wholly eccentric characters.
I was really impressed that although I thought I had guessed where the suicide note was hidden and who Buddleias father was - I was totally wrong! I thought the letter would be hidden in a book in the library. So where I thought that the plot would be too predictable - the author truly proved me wrong.

I liked t
Julie Cohen
Absolutely delightful and charming. Loved it.
Sarah Lee
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
I read Campari for Breakfast by Sara Crowe for the book club which I belong to. It isn’t something that I would have normally read. It did take me a little bit to get into the book, but I did manage to finish and kind of enjoy it?
The main character is a young girl called Sue, who has moved to stay with her eccentric relative (Aunt Coral), in her rather large, grand home (albeit rather run-down home) following the death of her mother, who has committed suicide. Sue is a pseudo intellectual who wa
Jan 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Review posted on

In 1987, seventeen - year - old Sue Bowl decides to stay at Green Place, home of her elderly Aunt. It's less than a year since her mother has committed a suicide and Sue can't come to terms with this and the fact that her father has already a girlfriend. Sue's ambition is to be an author and as her Aunt wants to help her, they organize a creative writing group. The group is composed of some eccentric and eclectic members who very actively partake in the
Mar 08, 2020 rated it did not like it
I wish I would have liked this book, but it was just so awkward and badly written. The main character, Sue, was supposed to be 17, but she acted like a 13-year-old. No teenager is this naive.

The plot was actually interesting and surprising, but ruined by confusing, uninteresting and bad writing.
Oct 15, 2017 rated it did not like it
Pretty awful, a poor man's Adrian Mole. ...more
Julie McAliece
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a great book. A very easy enjoyable read. I was very surprised and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Beth Shorten
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
Meh...really meh.
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Aunt Coral, Cameo, Sue
Green Place
Joe, Icarus

This was just charming.
Dec 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It is not so much about drinking as the title would suggest. It’s about writing, malapropisms, age, love, time.
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Made me cry with laughter on the bus. Very witty, very charming.
Apr 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review first posted on my blog: http://spoonfulofhappyendings.blogspo...

It’s 1987 and seventeen-year-old Sue Bowl’s world has just been turned upside down by her mother’s unexpected suicide. She can’t understand that her father is already together with another woman and decides to go and stay with her aunt Coral, who lives in an enormous country house with the name Green Place. In order to preoccupy herself with other things, Sue wants to focus on her ambitions to become an author. She starts a
Jan 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Seventeen-year-old Sue Bowl has gone to live with her Aunt Coral at Green Place, the family's ancestral home. Sue's mother Buddleia died recently, her father has taken up with a new woman, Ivana and Sue hates her. Aunt Coral's invitation is perfect, she will make the best of what she has, just as her mother always urged her to.

Campari for Breakfast is told through Sue's diary entries, in her own slightly quirky, and often muddled words. Interspersed between Sue's words are extracts from Aunt Cor
Aug 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
I quite enjoyed this book. It was really captivating, exciting and moving. I liked how it had so many plotlines in it, yet every single one of them came to its place. Some more abruptly than others, but none of them felt unnecessary or just put in the book to be a page filler.

I really liked the family dynamics in the novel, especially between our main character Sue and her auntie Coral... and I also thought the Ad Actra Literary Club's meetings were sweet, cute and done well... it was the perfec
May 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: misc, 2000-now
'Reads like a cross between I Capture the Castle and Love, Nina' Cathy Rentzenbrink, Bookseller

A crumbling ancestral home with English eccentric tenants, family secrets hidden in the walls and a ghost (or trespasser?) in the abandoned wing, I unexpectedly fell head over heels for this book and its cast.

It is also the most misrepresented book I've read in a long time, was the publicist drunk on one of Aunt Coral's herbal wines?

I saw this book in a Sunday magazine and the synopsis never alluded
Feb 09, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uk-authors

I’ll preface this review by admitting that at one point Campari for Breakfast looked like it would be my first DNF book of 2015. I am glad I persisted, though truthfully I only did because I was reading this for book-club, because after the first 200 pages it got more interesting.

Campari for Breakfast hinges on your feeling of Sue, if you connect to her then I think you’ll be charmed by this book, her stay with Aunt Coral in Green Place and the other tenants that reside there. There cert
Karen Whittard
Mar 24, 2015 rated it liked it
I'm still unsure what I thought of this book. I gave it a three out of five but I think I was trying to be nice as I don't really like negative reviews. But I just can't get myself excited for this book. I really liked the look of this book and the description on the back serves my right for being superficial. The book inside was heavy going and hard to read. I didn't think it was very funny. And I'm not sure it was aimed at the right people. I think this should be a young persons genre. I know ...more
Nov 24, 2014 rated it liked it
It's 1987 and 17 year old Sue decides to spend her gap year at Green Place, her elderly Aunt's stately home. It is less than a year since her mother's death, and her father has already taken up with a new girlfriend. Sue throws herself into life in Egham. She loves the manor and, her Aunts' various tenants and companions; finds a job at the local cafe, falls in love, spurns the love of another, and writes a novel. In between all of these events is the unearthing of family secrets, a house restor ...more
Mar 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A cross between Adrian Mole and I Capture the Castle, this delightful story is set in 1987 and is about the quirky 17 year old Sue Bowl. She moves into Green Place, the crumbling family country house, after her mother has committed suicide. Here she encounters a colourful cast of eccentric characters. I liked Sue's diary entries as they reveal her wit and romanticised view of the world. Over the course of the year she experiences unrequited love, heartbreak and the Egham Hirsute Group where she ...more
Apr 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A delightful book. How strange that: the narrator's mum has recently committed suicide, and our 17 year old heroine has chosen to live with her aunt, rather than remain at her home with her dad and his new partner, whom she loathes. But she is charmingly witty, hopeful, optimistic and perceptive. She uses malapropisms to great effect. Her aunt's lodgers are plain eccentric, her co-workers at the cafe where she spends her days the source of many of her pains and pleasures. I loved this book and d ...more
Karen Morley-Chesworth
Apr 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I picked this book as it had been a You magazine book club choice about a year ago and only just got round to reading it - and wished I'd done so earlier.
A girl's rite of passage, and an innocent gentle tale set in the 1980s.
When her mother commits suicide And her father announced his wedding to his mistress Sue decides to move out of the suburban family home and in which her maternal aunt's crumbling mansion - and here she discovers more about the families history and herself. A really enjoyabl
Zarah Crawford
Aug 23, 2014 rated it did not like it
It is a sacrilege to compare this twee and flimsy exercise to I Capture the Castle. Crowe influences are clear: put The Diary of Adrian Mole; and the novels of Nancy Mitford and Stella Gibbons into a blender and mix to a mushy pap. A boring, silly premise punctuated by pointless and unconvincing happenings and peopled with characters who are little more than excruciatingly "eccentric" ciphers. Hated it. ...more
Davida Chazan
Sue Bowl was only 17 when her mother committed suicide - a maturing experience, but she's still naive. Only months later, she goes off to stay with her Aunt Coral, leaving her father with his new girlfriend, but taking all of her questions with her. Read my revised review of this novel here. ...more
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Sara Crowe is best known as an actress. She has appeared on television, stage and film, including the iconic Four Weddings and a Funeral. She has won the Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress, the Variety Club Best Actress Award and the London Critics Circle Theatre Award for Most Promising Newcomer. Sara’s West End appearances include Private Lives, Calendar Girls and Hay Fever. She has also ...more

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