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The Cafe by the Sea

(Summer Seaside Kitchen #1)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  14,651 ratings  ·  1,517 reviews
The beloved author of The Bookshop on the Corner returns with a sparkling, sunny, soulful new novel perfect for fans of Elin Hilderbrand.

Years ago, Flora fled the quiet Scottish island where she grew up -- and she hasn't looked back. What would she have done on Mure? It's a place where everyone has known her all her life, where no one will let her forget the past. In
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ebook, 416 pages
Published June 27th 2017 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 2016)
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Popular Answered Questions
Desirée Boom Why do they do that? How do US publishers feel that 'The cafe by the sea' sounds better, more romantic, more fitting to the story, than 'the Summer…moreWhy do they do that? How do US publishers feel that 'The cafe by the sea' sounds better, more romantic, more fitting to the story, than 'the Summer seaside kitchen'? Not just this one, but 'the Little shop of happy ever after' got the same treatment. Booh!(less)
Marjolein There is now, though. It's called 'The Endless Beach' and it came out last January!

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.89  · 
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 ·  14,651 ratings  ·  1,517 reviews


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Karen Whittard
Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always love a book by Jenny Colgan. She always knows how to make me smile and I always loose track of time reading her books. So when I found out she had a new book coming out. I immediately preordered it and it feels like I've been waiting for it for AGES!!

So in this book we meet Flora who is born and breed in Muir. A beautiful, rustic, Scottish Isle. However she has moved to London to live out her dream to be a lawyer. Although at the moment she is a paralegal as she hasn't taken her final
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Malia
Dec 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: women-s-fiction
This was a lovely book about family, expectations, relationships and yummy baked goods:-) Just what
I was looking for after finishing a particularly grim mystery!

Find more reviews and bookish fun at http://www.princessandpen.com
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2017
Flora swore she would never go back home to Mure, the little Scottish island where she grew up. Instead, she settled in London, working and enjoys the life there. Well, enjoy is a bit far-fetched, but she has a great friend, Kai, at work and a crush on her boss, Joel. However, he is definitely out of her league. Then, she has to go back, thanks to a millionaire with big plans for the island. So, now she has to face her past, her father, and the brothers she left behind. And, who knows, going ...more
Gina
Jul 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Meh. Definitely not as good as Bookshop on the Corner. Loved the descriptions of Scotland and the quirkiness of the town and its people, and Colton, despite his less than stellar first impression, but the ending was annoyingly predictable, at least the romance part, and I wasn't thrilled with that at all! Fintan's storyline was cute and I was rooting for him, but Flora, not so much.

Updated to add: now that I'm on a computer and can hide spoilers, I will tell you why I was so disgusted with the
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Rebecca Carter
Jenny Colgan books have become a go to fave of mine when I want to read something warm and cozy, something that makes you feel fuzzy and safe. Like wrapping yourself up in a blanket on the sofa in front of the fire, with a warm cup of tea or coffee on a winters night. She's always been a dependable go to author for me, when I don't want to read anything too heavy, but still want a fab read.

Initially I didn't find this with the The Summer Seaside Kitchen. It just didn't feel like a Jenny Colgan
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Deanna
Jul 14, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a major disappointment after the bestseller, Bookshop on the Corner, that I discovered by this author earlier this year. After Bookshop I thought I had a new author. Now I'm thinking Bookshop was an outlier.

Bookshop was quite bookish, as you might expect, which was a big draw for that book. But even more, that story was about a young woman who had a driving life passion (not a life-driving passion for a man, which was pretty much the yawny case with for Cafe), and when confronted by a
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Ian
As she was growing up, Flora dreamed of escaping her life as a farmer's daughter in a small village on Mure Island. Then when her mother died she railed against her well meaning neighbors and well and truly burnt all her bridges.

Three years later she is working as a paralegal for a prestigious law firm in London.

But life in the city is anything but perfect. Her job is a grind, her coworkers are hard and don't get her and she is secretly in love with a senior partner who treats women like
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Brittain *Needs a Nap and a Drink*
Apparently, I am easy to please when it comes to books. There seems to be a checklist that I was previously unaware of that will almost guarantee that, if followed, I will enjoy the book.

1) If there is a dog, especially one with a big personality.

Pets in general shape our lives to an enormous extent. I cannot leave my house without giving scritchies to two dogs that aren't even mine. My own dog is spoiled to such an extent by my father that she literally has a football season wardrobe. This big
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Angie
Originally reviewed here @ Angieville

I was not expecting this. I was simply not expecting just what was to come when I picked up this deceptively pleasant-looking novel. My mom gifted me a copy of Jenny Colgan's The Café by the Sea awhile ago, but it took until the other night while I was browsing my shelves after starting and stopping no fewer than four different books for me to snatch it up off my TBR shelf and give it a go. And I'm not remotely ashamed to say that I didn't even make it past
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Mandi Schreiner
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: contemporary
This book. What an absolutely lovely, lovely book. The heroine - her brothers, her father, her best friend, Agot! :) :) The entire family/town makes this book.

And yes there is a romance, and a HEA (although def a little more fictiony)

It made me smile sooooo much. I laughed out loud at times. I want to eat fresh-made cheese and butter, and steak pies. Damn it.

I will fondly regard this book and I can't wait to reread it.
Laura
3.75 stars. This was pretty predictable at times but it was exactly what I was looking for: a light, romance-y escape read that takes place on a (fictional) Scottish island. I've requested the next one in the series. When you're in the mood for a smile in a beautiful location, I've found this author fits the bill.
Kathryn
4.5 stars. Review to follow
Kendra
Aug 02, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2017
I told myself I wasn't going to finish if I disliked this one as much as I did The Bookshop On The Corner. Unfortunately, I kept giving it the benefit of the doubt. And I didn't realize how much I disliked it until far enough in that I just couldn't have all that reading time go to waste. Overall, Colgan's writing is just not for me. I don't find any of her characters likable or believable. The character development is lacking, the plot is predictable and unoriginal. And much of the dialogue ...more
Dale Harcombe
Ever since Flora Mc Kenzie moved to London she has been adamant she would never return to Mure the small Scottish Island where she grew up. In Mure everyone knows too much about each other and Flora’s mistakes of the past are not forgotten. But in London she has anonymity and a boss for whom she has a huge crush. Only problem is her boss, Joel, doesn’t seem to notice her. When a wealthy client with big plans for the island and who wants to stop a wind farm from interfering with his plans, ...more
QNPoohBear
Colorless, mousy Flora Mackenzie from the island of Mure in Scotland has failed to make much of an impression at the prestigious law firm in London where she works as a paralegal. She spends her days hoping her boss will notice her and fall in love with her and her nights lonely and alone. When her boss suddenly asks her to do a big job for an important client, Flora is elated, until she realizes this job will take her back to Mure, a place she fled three years ago after her mother's death. Back ...more
Mel
Jun 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Jenny Colgan is a wonderful writer and The Bookshop Around the Corner is one of my favorite books of 2016. The Cafe By the Sea didn't do it for me. It lacked charm and likable characters. I just couldn't warm to Flora and Joel was a very one-dimensional "hero". The setting was lovely, but the attempt to bring the magical element into the story failed. It seemed forced. I also found myself scoffing at the premise which seemed a bit unrealistic. The stuff with the Outward Bound couple was clumsy ...more
Jacob Proffitt
Honestly, I stalled out on this. It wasn't an auspicious beginning when the panoramic dial-in with anonymized references almost made me roll my eyes it was so lit-fic. Then the chick-lit kicked in with Flora being kind of a dopey doormat with the American Lawyer dude and immaturely dismissive of her hometown in a way you just know (and not just because of the title and cover copy) that she's going to grow out of during the course of the novel. So it's a lit-fic/chick-lit hybrid and the romance, ...more
Obsidian
Jun 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Sorry, the main reason I cannot give this above three stars is that I can never cheer for a woman (fictional or not) being the reason that a man who is an asshole changes his ways. It never feels realistic and it just ends up making me annoyed the author writes a guy that you end up not liking and wish would just disappear from the book. I liked the character of Flora and her family (her three brothers and father are great) but thought she was self absorbed and sharp to people too much. I did ...more
steph
This was ADORABLE. Just a great, happy, enjoyable read. I loved the setting (is Mure a real island?) and the characters AND THE FOOD. Ohmygoodness all the food listed in here made me so hungry I actually cooked dinner last night. I am super excited to start book 2 because I feel like I need to see more of this place.

Overall though, I just really love Flora and I how she got a chance to really explore what "home" meant to her. It something that I have personally given a lot of thought too so I
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Aura
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: uk, scotland, cookbook
Flora left her Northern Scottish town of Mure after her mother died. She went to London where she became a regular city girl. She returns to Mure for work after a few years. Coming home to the remote Scottish isles, Flora finds that she is needed and that this is what she needs. I loved this Jenny Colgan novel probably more than all her past novels. This author has a talent for creating likable characters, interesting story lines and bringing out the lovely setting of rural Scotland. In the end, ...more
Mary
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was my first book by this author, and I picked it strictly for the cover and title. I'm a sucker for cafes and seaside towns. That said, I am glad I found it. While the plot and love story are pretty formulaic, the way Colgan weaves in the magic and wonder of Mure, the legends of the selkies and naiads...it was lovely.
Amber ☾♥
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, favorites
It has become impossible for me to not completely fall in love with every word Jenny Colgan writes in her stories. Even with this book, even though I told myself at the start "Eh, you don't like this that much. Your tastes have changed in the last three years so you will probably be disappointed." Not much has changed.

So, at the beginning of this story I wasn't entirely sure what I was going to get. I didn't like the main character all that much because all she would do was whine about how she
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Julie
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A heartwarming easy read about a young gal who leaves her small island home in Scotland to head to London where she works as a paralegal. Her mother has passed and many hurt feelings between she, her brothers and father have kept her in London. A case arises that requires she return to Mure (her home island) Things play out in a way that are funny, touching and a little romantic.
Sue
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: british-authors
This is another delightful book by Jenny Colgan. If you enjoy light-hearted stories with easy to like characters, give her books a read. The Cafe by the Sea is a good book to read as your first book by this author. It has family issues, acceptance problems, love and a wonderful story of learning to be who you are meant to be and not who others want you to be. Along with that there are beautiful descriptions of the islands in Scotland and to top it all off - RECIPES for the food that is written ...more
Melissa
Apr 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book has everything readers have come to expect from a Colgan novel: humor, heartfelt relationship issues and yummy food descriptions. The romantic storylines are well-developed and it isn't clear until the end who Flora is going to end up with. Flora's family situation is equally meaningful, with realistic issues that are handled in a lighthearted but touching way. Colgan knows the way into a reader's heart — through the stomach! Her delectably described food is made complete with recipes, ...more
Jaclyn
This was a delight to read/listen to. If you get a chance to listen to it on audio, the narrator, Sarah Barron, is absolutely wonderful. This is the perfect summer read, and I only wish that I had book two in my hands right this minute.
Luanne Ollivier
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love Jenny Colgan's books - they're the perfect 'feel-good' read. Her latest North American release is The Cafe by the Sea.

What makes Colgan's books such a delight to read? Her characters first and foremost. There's always a fun female lead facing decisions, both professionally and personally. This time 'round it's Flora, born on the remote Scottish island of Mure. When her mother died, Flora fled to London to pursue her career. Three years on she hasn't returned, even for a visit. But when
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Kelly (Belle of the Literati)
This book caught my attention because of the setting and cafe angle. I will basically read anything set in Scotland and I love reading about cafes and restaurants or anything of the like. I enjoyed this book and fell in love with the northern island of Scotland because I've wanted to go for years and this book brought to life what I envisioned it to be! I was really invested in the beginning but then things got weird. The pacing and writing felt very clunky. There were plot points that weren't ...more
Mandy Radley
Apr 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You can always rely on Jenny Colgan. This time we meet paralegal Flora who has fled from the highlands of Mure the very very north of Scotland (fictional island) and works in London and is love with her boss Joel. When a potential new client for the law firm wants someone to get the locals of Mure on his side against a new wind farm Flora is his person. Very reluctantly Flora returns to her childhood home and family where she hasn't been since her mother funeral. Of course there is local ...more
Nicola Clough
Apr 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another good book by Jenny Colgan and lovely as based on an island off Scotland. Flora left her home on the island of Mure and moved to London when she lost her mother but she is forced back to the island and and she finds her mothers recipe book can she enjoy cooking and reconnecting with her family and enjoy island life or is she desperate to go back to London. Must read this and such an easy read as well.
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Jenny Colgan is the author of numerous bestselling novels, including 'The Little Shop of Happy Ever After' and 'Summer at the Little Beach Street Bakery', which are also published by Sphere.' Meet Me at the Cupcake Café' won the 2012 Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance and was a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller, as was 'Welcome to Rosie Hopkins' Sweetshop of Dreams', which won the RNA Romantic ...more

Other books in the series

Summer Seaside Kitchen (3 books)
  • The Endless Beach (The Summer Seaside Kitchen, #2)
  • Christmas on the Island (Summer Seaside Kitchen #3)
“hiraeth (n): a homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home that maybe never was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for lost places in your past” 6 likes
“That was the problem with being so pale. Well, that and not being able to go out in bright sunlight without turning the color of a lobster and starting to smoke slightly.” 4 likes
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