Welcome to The Starfish Café – where you will find stunning views, delicious food and lifelong friendships.
Two broken hearts.
Since she inherited The Starfish Café, Hollie has poured her heart into the business, striving to keep her mother’s traditions and warm-hearted spirit alive. But behind closed doors Hollie is searching for true happiness, as she grieves the tragic loss of her family who were once the beating heart of the café…
An unexpected meeting.
Jake lives by two rules: don’t let anyone get close and don’t talk about what happened. Little does he know that a chance meeting at The Starfish Café, facilitated by a fluffy lost dog, is about to turn his world upside down…
The chance to love again.
Can Hollie and Jake break down the barriers that have been holding them back from finding love and happiness, before Christmas comes around? Afterall, with courage, nothing is impossible…
You Can Purchase the Book: Amazon
Jessica Redland writes uplifting stories of love, friendship, family and community set in Yorkshire where she lives. Her Whitsborough Bay books transport readers to the stunning North Yorkshire Coast and her Hedgehog Hollow series takes them into beautiful countryside of the Yorkshire Wolds.
I was introduced to this author through the Hedgehog Hollow novels, so I jumped at the chance to give her newest novel, Snowflakes at the Starfish Café, a try. The novel begins with Hollie Gabrielle Brooks, whose pet name is ‘Angel,’ who was born on Christmas Eve. She works at her family run café, The Starfish Café, which is located on Starfish Point. Her maternal grandparents owned the land at Starfish Point – a five acre site a couple of miles south of the North Yorkshire seaside town of Witsborough Bay. Since there is another series set in the Bay location, I look forward to giving those novels a try. I enjoy when authors feature locations that can tie together with other series as it adds a nice sense of cohesion without centralizing it to a single series.
The story opens with Bonfire Night eight years in the past where the reader first meets Hollie and her family as they run the café. It was a lovely introduction to Hollie’s relationship with her family as they are all very close to each other. The next chapter introduces the other character, Jake, who is a charge nurse in A&E at Whitsborough Bay Hospital and is later to be revealed to be training to work as a crew member for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. His family relationship is more complex as his sister, Larissa, who is twelve years older, holds a lot of resentment towards Jake as their mother passed away giving birth to him. Before even getting into the main part of the story, I could not stand Larissa as she was horrible and causes a lot of emotional damage to Jake as he grows up. I hated every moment that she was on the page as she has a lot of misplaced anger towards Jake and in the very beginning of the story it seemed to be an obsession on her part to make sure Jake feels bad about something he had no control over. All of this was an excellent set up for both Jake and Hollie as the story moves forward through time, initially focusing on Bonfire Nights each year, before the two characters meet.
The two are brought together when Jake finds a dog and finds assistance with Hollie. The two may have an instant connection, but they both are not initially in a place to willingly let another person into their life. Both characters are tougher on the outside with softer and more emotional insides while being presented in their own way. Each character accurately reflects their past, so while they both try to appear calmer on the outside, they have a lot going on emotionally. After losing multiple members of her family, Hollie is determined to keep her family’s traditions alive and to run the café that holds many great memories. I cannot imagine, even in my wildest dreams, the amount of tragedy that Hollie has gone through and commend the character for trying to move forward and keep living her life. Jake keeps people at arm’s length based on his past, which makes them a very interesting pair to come together. As the story is told from both Hollie and Jake’s perspectives through both the present timeline and flashbacks, there is a lot within the story to give the characters a connection to the reader and to each other.
Overall, this story is filled a lot of heartache, grief, a variety of emotions, and heart. There is a nice balance between the sad and happy tears as the reader makes their way through the story. It was more emotional and tragic than I initially expected, but I enjoyed that the balance was present so the story didn’t become too depressing. It still has the tragedy, but there are many light-hearted moments, too. Pickles was the cutest rescue dog and was the perfect catalyst to bring the two characters together. The relationship that develops between the two of them is very well done and extremely sweet. It is not a perfect relationship that forms and there are many obstacles that they must overcome, so it is a well-paced roller coaster. The ending works well for the story and it was a very entertaining read to get there. I continue to enjoy Jessica Redland’s novels and will definitely read more in the future!
**I give a special thank you to Rachel @rararesources,, the publisher, and the author for the opportunity to participate with this enjoyable novel via Netgalley. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**