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The Christmas Café (No Greater Strength, #2)
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The Christmas Café

(No Greater Strength #2)

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  1,014 ratings  ·  89 reviews

Bea is fifty three, and she's just lost her husband after thirty years of marriage. To distract herself from grief, she throws herself into her work running the Reservoir Street Kitchen in one of Sydney's most fashionable districts.

But then an email from a cafe-owner in Edinburgh prompts her to take a trip to Scotland in the depths of winter. Her journey will be one of se

Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published August 31st 2015 by Head of Zeus
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Average rating 4.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,014 ratings  ·  89 reviews

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Dec 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
The story starts of with Bea at her dying husbands bedside. It did make for some very emotional reading but it drew me to Bea instantly and by the end of the story she felt like an old friend.

I loved the story being set in Australia, which is very different to what Christmas is like here in England. Bea lives in a flat above her business of which she loves listening to the hustle and bustle from below. Whilst it’s something that would probably put me off, the author totally sold me on Bea’s hom
Cora Tea Party Princess
DNF at 23%


I just didn't get on with the narrator. Shame.
Nov 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This story opens up with great sadness. After thirty years of marriage Fifty-five year old Bea, held on to the hands of her husband's Peter until his final breath in hospital. For Bea she was going home to a dark and quiet apartment, with Peter's belonging staring at her in each room she went in. She buries her grief in hard work at the deli she runs. A letter arrives for Bea from a lady cafe-owner in Scotland, she runs a kind of little forum for owners of coffee shops, tea rooms and boutique ca
Originally reviewed on

There are hundreds and thousands of Amanda Prowse fans, fans that told me, during my reading of A Christmas Cafe, that Prowse is one of their most favourite authors. As I progressed further into this beautifully weaved, superbly told novel, I began to understand why. I can't believe that The Christmas Cafe is the first novel I've read by Amanda Prowse, but I can tell you now that it certainly won't be the last. I was utterly charmed
Margaret Madden
4.5 stars.
Most book reviewers receive their Christmas themed books at the end of the summer, and have them read and reviewed by September or October. I have to admit that I cannot do this. I can't read a Christmas novel while wearing a bikini, or when there is no fire in the grate. I need dark evenings, cozy jumpers and a variety of Christmas decorations around me. Hence, this is only my forth Christmas read this season, However, it's a cracker (see what I did there)!

When Bea is widowed in her e
Rachel Gilbey
Oct 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Stars

The Christmas Cafe is a beautiful love story, of lost true love. I found it got off to a slightly slow start, possibly due to Bea's husband dieing, and the initial grief, but once it moved on a bit, I was entranced by the story, and just wanted to read more and more.

One year later, Bea runs a cafe in Surry Hills, Sydney and puts all of herself into her work, after her husband Peter dies. Out of the blue she gets an approach from The Christmas Cafe in Edinburgh, suggesting she become pa
Listened to in audio format.

I am a big fan of Amanda Prowse and I have read a number of her books.

The prologue left me with a lump in my throat. The story started with the death of fifty year old Bea`s husband Peter. Expat Bea was a single mother to her son Wyatt when she met Peter through work. They got married and although Peter adored Bea, Bea still had feelings for her first love.

Twelve months later Bea received an e-mail from Alex the owner of The Christmas Cafe in Edinburgh. Alex had invi
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book.
Dec 22, 2020 rated it it was ok
^ it’s a cutie. great for the seasonal feelings. not nearly as clichee as i was anticipating so that was very welcome.
Dec 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sue by: Amazon
Shelves: fiction, read-2016
Bea is a lively women in her early 50s, who is widowed at the start of the book. After the prologue, we meet her a year later in her everyday life in Australia. She’s the owner of a small restaurant, who adores her teenage granddaughter Flora but hardly ever sees her...

Most of the book is about learning to accept one’s past, and to take steps towards finding truth, even if this seems difficult or risky. The writing is good, with a nice amount of description and believable dialogue. While I had e
Oct 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It did take me a few chapters to get into his story but once I did I certainly was not disappointed. I read the second half of the book in one sitting because it was unputadownable and a page turner I just wanted to know how it ended.

The Book had amazing characters which held the story together perfectly. I especially warmed to Flora the teenager. I loved the unexpected twists the book took I did not see them coming

I enjoyed the trip to Edinburgh, Amanda’s descriptive wording of the city was jus
Kitvaria Sarene
This was a nice change from the other Christmas chicklit I've read, as the main protagonist is already a grandma (albeit a young one) and her granddaughter is also a main character. Those two POVs worked well for me.
I like how it is both about the past and the present, how one influences the other.

As so often it all was just that little bit TOO easy after such a long time, and the characters too good. But it was a nice read and I enjoyed it.
Kay Cardona
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this. I did get over emotional but I loved it.
Rachel Hall
Prosaic, entirely predictable & heavily padded women’s fiction with a festive theme.

Having read two books by Amanda Prowse with decidedly mixed experiences I opted to read The Christmas Café in the hope that with a widowed protagonist of over fifty it might bring some emotional depth to the usual festive fluff. Sadly everything about this novel screamed of being rushed and poorly thought out and for the fifty pages of genuine insight there was a good two hundred and fifty of filler material, inc
Ritu Bhathal
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yet another wonderful book by Amanda Prowse.
A heartwrenching story of Bea, recently widowed, and dealing with her wayward granddaughter.
Its a learning curve of a story, where both grandma and gran daughter learn a lot about themselves.
Letting love find you, finding first loves and a trip from Oz to Scotland.
A truly lovely read and a bonus when I read of some old favourite characters too!
Oct 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Christmas Cafe is not your usual seasonal read in that the book starts off in a hospital ward devoid of festive cheer. We meet Bea just as her husband Peter is close to death. Bea’s loss has left a big hole in her life, especially as she barely sees her son, Wyatt, and his family. Through the pages we find out that as much as Bea loved Peter she was not in love with him, but he had come along in her life just as she needed someone to lean on. Now that he has died she says sorry to him every ...more
Oct 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was probably one of the loveliest Christmas books I have ever read . The story is about a woman called Bea who owns a cafe , and through that on an online forum for cafe owners worldwide she meets another cafe owner on the other side of the world and they begin a friendship . The story is based in Auatralia and Scotland and was lovely expieriencing the story from both settings .
This story is about family, love and timing , and how important all these things are especially at Christmas. I c
Nicole Carey
Aug 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway and was so excited as I never usually win anything. We follow the story of Bea and what happens after her husband Peter dies. It took me a few chapter to get in to the book but once I did I raced through it reading the last half of the book in one evening. There are lots of other interesting characters in the book who made me smile. All in all a fabulous book Amanda Prowse always delivers a good story.
A pleasant read, a little slow to start. The characters were well written and easy toward to. The descriptions of a cold Scotland and the Christmas Cafe were lovely.
Bea is an easy character to like, although she has her own issues to correct, which come to light later in the story.
The ending was a little twee, but enjoyable non the less.
Emma Crowley
Oct 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Christmas Café is the fourth book from Amanda Prowse this year and I'm still left wondering where on earth does she find the time to write so much? To write so many books and never lose any substance or depth to her stories is quite an achievement. Having read all her releases this year she is now firmly one of my favourite authors, one of those whom you eagerly await news of each new story to come. You are always guaranteed an emotional read from Amanda as she brings relevant, everyday topi ...more
Maddy Cordell
Oct 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Bea loved her husband Peter very much, and was devastated when he died, however there was always the underlying feeling of guilt that he wasn't the love of her life. When Bea met Peter she had already loved, and lost, and had a son by her lover. Peter took on her and her son, and cared for them both.

After Peter died Bea was stuck in a bit of a rut. Her Granddaughter Flora was playing up and staying with her to give some distance between her and some undesirable friends (and her and her parents!)
Sandra Pearson
Dec 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this lovely book. I picked it up at our local book swap because I wanted a Christmas read. To tell the truth you could read this at any time of year though. Christmas features yes but as an incidental not main theme. The characters are believable, cleverly written. Our sympathies are swept from one character to another and back again starting with Bea the main character. Hints at sadness in her past follow her through the early pages and leak into her current life and recent ...more
Linda Tilling
5 stars for this Christmas book by Amanda Prowse.

"Bea does not believe in second chances. A widow at fifty-three, Bea knows she must accept that she will be alone forever. She buries her grief in hard work, and soon the deli she runs in Surry Hills has a reputation for the best carrot cake in Sydney.

But then an email from a cafe-owner in Edinburgh leads her to take a trip to Scotland in the depths of winter. There, transported by the twinkling lights and falling snow of a traditional Christmas,
sharon mason
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A really nice story, one of Amanda Prowse's best!

There was a couple, Bea and John, who fell in love when they were young. However there was two big problems, one I'll let you discover yourself but the other one is that they live half around the world from one another. As circumstances usually go, perhaps the stars were not right and they spent 30 years apart, raised families, thought they had finished their life chores, until in their 50's, the stars choose to align. This is a lovely book, with
Emma Bunting
Dec 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a book this is. Absolutely loved it from beginning to end! Such an easy read with a great storyline based on revisiting the past, with some really heartwarming stories running through it, and a few surprises along the way. I absolutely loved Bea and her relationship with her granddaughter... and the absolutely beautifully written scene on the beach with her son. I was driving at the time of listening to this and had to keep wiping my stinging eyes. The way this book ends is just beautiful, ...more
Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was ok
Started off well but got more and more over-sentimental and maudlin. Also really not happy with the interaction with the granddaughter and her love interest, the fact that the boy rifled through her bag and she got punished for reacting is wrong and the usual blaming of the victim, with no consequence. And the over-sentimentalism about an affair, where Bea was seduced by John and the meeting up again was too much. Written well, but much too romanticised about an affair that all magically resolve ...more
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fabulous story

Yes this is a Christmas story but it can be read anytime of the year as the messages are relevant all year round. The book is a fantastic read set in both Sydney and Edinburgh. Being fairly local to Edinburgh I recognised lots of the places and despite never having been anywhere near Australia it still felt very real.
gloria jones
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely unputdownable! Due to having similar younger life stories and same age as Bea I could empathise with her especially as I wept when realisation dawned that Alex was John's son Xander! I carried on sobbing right to the end smiling at the same time..beautifully written...well it's 4:31am so best get some sleep 😉 ...more
Anne Whiting
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a great story. I have just finished it with a happy tear in my eye. I loved Bea, Flora the cafe staff and customers and of course John. I was so pleased that there was a happy ending which I hoped there would be. Amanda is a wonderful writer. What talent. Thank you.
Rachel Clarke
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Well deserved 5* rating as this novel was gripping. Amanda Prowse is a genius author who takes you on a journey with her writing from start to finish. I love the character Bea she's relatable and you feel you are on the journey with her.
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Amanda Prowse was a management consultant for ten years before realising that she was born to write. Amanda lives in the West Country with her husband and their two teenage sons.

Other books in the series

No Greater Strength (6 books)
  • Perfect Daughter (No Greater Strength, #1)
  • Another Love (No Greater Strength, #3)
  • My Husband's Wife (No Greater Strength, #4)
  • I Won't Be Home For Christmas (No Greater Strength, #5)
  • Three-and-a-Half Heartbeats (No Greater Strength, #6)

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“Life is for the brave, Kim. You have to chase the life you want and grab it. So if you really want Tait, and I believe you do, then make it happen! Don’t be defined by anyone else; don’t worry about Janine, or whoever. Just be yourself, because one day you’ll blink and it will be too late to tread your own path. You might find you’re walking the route that someone else has ploughed for you.” 0 likes
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