book review: Christmas at the Cat CafÃ© by Melissa Daley
Welcome back to the peaceful Cotswolds town of Stourton-on-the-Hill, home to Debbie, her teenage daughter Sophie, tabby cat Molly and her five adorable kittens… all members of the charismatic cast we first met in Molly and the Cat Café.
Melissa Daley won thousands of hearts with her warm and entertaining story featuring Stourton newcomer Debbie who, with the help of homeless puss Molly, set up a thriving cat café offering comfort, tranquillity and a tasty range of feline treats.
And with smart puss Molly as our all-seeing narrator, these delightful stories featuring love, loss, family life and some unforgettable cats are garnering an army of adoring fans.
Twelve months on, the café is thriving, Molly and her litter are revelling in the cosy home that has become a cats’ paradise and life couldn’t be better as Christmas approaches.
The cats offer an aura of calm and plenty of cuddles while Debbie serves the locals home-made goodies like Cat’s Whisker Cookies and Feline Fancies.
But even in the most idyllic surroundings, things don't always go to plan and when Debbie's sister Linda unexpectedly arrives at the café, heartbroken that she has split up from her husband Ray, Debbie insists that she move in.
However, Linda is not alone, and the cats are devastated to find that she has brought not only her mounds of ‘clutter,’ but a very frisky dog called Beau. Molly knows instantly that Linda – ‘all angles and edges’ compared to Debbie’s ‘softness and curves’ – is most definitely not ‘a cat person.’
But the very territorial Beau's arrival is not the only bombshell for the cats. Molly's home also appears to be under threat when a rival cat moves in on her turf. With Christmas approaching, Molly is so unsettled that even the promise of tinsel to play with holds no joy.
As fairy lights twinkle in the café window, Debbie is distracted by the cats causing havoc, caring for Sophie and keeping her romance with plumber boyfriend John on track. Fearing for her family, Molly is convinced that only a Christmas miracle can bring everyone together again...
Daley is a natural born cat lover and the adventures and misadventures of her colourful cat colony, and the dilemmas and dramas of their kind and caring owner Debbie, are proving purrfect reading for lovers of both romance and animals.
Each character – whether human or animal – is perfectly drawn, and the compelling, beautifully observed story is packed with emotion, genuine warmth, real-life family issues and a seductive sense of fun.
So cosy up with your own feline friend and enjoy the true spirit of Christmas…
(Macmillan, hardback, £8.99)