I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Happy People Read and Drink Coffee by Agnes Marin-Lugand
Published on May 10, 2016.
Diane seems to have the perfect life. She is a wife, a mother, and the owner of Happy People Read and Drink Coffee, a cozy literary cafe in Paris. But when she suddenly loses her beloved husband and daughter in a tragic car accident, the world as she knows it instantly vanishes. Trapped and haunted by her memories, Diane retreats from friends and family, unable and unwilling to move forward.
But one year later, Diane shocks her loved ones and makes the surprising decision to move to a small town on the Irish coast, finally determined to heal and rebuild her life alone—until she meets Edward, the attractive yet taciturn Irish photographer who lives next door. At first abrasive and unwelcoming, Edward initially resents Diane’s intrusion into his life of solitude . . . until he can no longer keep her at arm’s length, and they fall into a surprising and tumultuous romance. But will it last when Diane leaves Ireland, and Edward, for the home she once ran away from in Paris? At once heartbreaking and uplifting, Diane’s story is deeply felt, reminding us that love remembered is love enduring.
The title of this book appealed to me, even though I don't drink coffee. The blurb hooked me when it mentioned that the main character owns a literary cafe. Unfortunately, I didn't really pay attention to the rest of the description, which goes on to state clearly that Diane leaves Paris (and her bookstore) to go to Ireland for the majority of the book. I was hoping for fun bookstore references, and instead I got a grieving woman, which if you know me, you know I also kind of love. But this book didn't work for me at all.
Diane's husband and young daughter were killed in a car accident one year before the start of this novel. Diane hasn't really left the house since. Her best friend, Felix, is left managing the bookstore and trying to coax Diane back to the land of the living. Even the one year anniversary visit to Colin and Clara's graves can't do it. Then Felix suggests they do on a trip together. Instead, Diane plots to go to Ireland (somewhere Colin always wanted to go) alone.
This all seemed good in theory for me, but the writing was very choppy. It jumps around between past and present a lot in the beginning, which was quite confusing. Then later on the timeline progresses forward in a very disjointed way. It was almost more like a string of scenes versus a cohesive story line.
Once Diane gets to Ireland, there is an almost Darcy-ish romance with her very dark and moody neighbor, Edward. Only he wasn't as charming as Mr. Darcy, and the relationship was rather unhealthy in my opinion. I wanted to want them to get together, but I just couldn't.
The ending is rather abrupt and unresolved (apparently there's going to be sequel).
This book was originally published in French, but I don't think it was the translation that I had an issue with. I was able to look past the grammatical errors because I read an eARC. I think it was more that the writing was flawed. It was kind of emotionless and ultimately too all-over-the-place for me.
My Rating: 2 Stars
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