Meet Me at the Art Cafe by Sue McDonagh #review @ChocLitUK @SueMcDonaghLit

I really enjoyed Summer at the Art Cafe last year which combined art, baking and motorbiking. At the time I said that, though I’ve never fancied motorbiking, even I found it appealing the way Sue McDonagh wrote about it. Well, here I am just finished Meet Me at the Art Cafe featuring another member of staff, Jo Morris, and finding myself thinking again that perhaps biking sounds fun after all, especially with the vintage bikes in this book. The author is a woman of many talents since as well as writing, she can, like her characters, ride a motorbike and she painted that beautiful cover herself. Isn’t it gorgeous?

So as I said, this book is about single mum Jo who works in the Art Cafe. A encounter with a herd of sheep whilst out cycling results in some bruising, a damaged bicycle and her meeting Ed. Ed has a bit of a reputation for being a bit of a ladies’ man, getting through relationships rather quickly. Jo, on the other hand, is absolutely not looking for any kind of relationship and very much focused on providing the best life she can for her little boy Liam. Forced to accept help from Ed after their meeting with the sheep, he is soon far more indebted to her.

What I really enjoyed about this book was the slowly developing relationship between Jo and Ed. They both had their reasons for behaving the way they did when it came to relationships and had built up defences around their hearts. Secrets from their pasts were having a profound effect on how they lived out their lives. Although they didn’t seem to believe it themselves, they were both good, caring people and both deserved happiness. My heart melted a little at the gentle way Ed related to little Liam. Their friendship was so lovely to see and Jo began to realise that if her little boy could trust Ed, then perhaps she could too. But then, there were still those bothersome secrets holding her back from putting her heart on the line.

Meet Me at the Art Cafe is a lovely, uplifting read. It has some surprises and many moments to make your heart swell. Jo, Ed and Liam are characters you will definitely take to your heart. I really liked Jo’s neighbour Beryl too, who provided quite a few of the lighter moments in the book. Ed’s parents were also lovely. There’s a really supportive community feel throughout this book, particularly during a heart-stopping incident near the end of the book. I really enjoyed this visit to the Art Cafe and really hope the author will be writing another book so I can look forward to visiting this lovely part of the Welsh coast and countryside again soon.

My thanks to Liz at ChocLit Publishers for my review copy of the book. Meet Me at the Art Cafe is available as an ebook now. You can order your copy for just £1.99 for various e-reader platforms on the publishers’ website here: Meet Me at the Art Cafe

From the back of the book

Would you take a chance on a bad boy with a leather jacket and a vintage motorbike?

That’s the question single mum Jo Morris has to ask herself when she collides with local bike mechanic Ed Griffiths on a rainy Welsh hillside. Working at the Art Café, Jo hears the gossip and is all too aware of Ed’s reputation. 

But whilst he’s certainly no angel, there is something about Ed’s daredevil antics that Jo can’t ignore. And as she gets to know him better and watches the kind way he deals with her young son Liam, she begins to wonder – is there more to this ‘bad boy’ than meets the eye? 

About the author

Sue McDonagh
Author photo and bio from Amazon

Arty, biking, writing granny, that’s me! Living on the Welsh coast, right at the bottom before it plops into the sea, I was a policewoman in Essex before I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at a very early age. 

Thanks to my amazing family and friends, I made a full recovery, left the police, met the man I then married and went to live in semi-rural Wales – well, I thought it was semi-rural after living in Essex. I mean, you had to drive fifteen miles to get to a Marks and Sparks. Where on earth did people buy their underwear? It was a small town that thought it was a village. But it had a beach.

I fell in love with it, along with the two adorable little boys I inherited. They inspired my passion for painting children, and they and their children inform the young characters in my books and subsequent career change as portrait painter. I even appeared on Sky’s Portrait Artist of the Year!

The beach formed a huge part of my life, and I trained as a beach lifeguard, patrolling the beach and competing on the single ski. That all stopped when I needed a hip replacement and found carrying equipment too painful. Not to be outdone, I and three pals did a 45 mile walk and raised over £10,000 for Cancer Research, and not long after that, I decided I’d learn to ride a motorbike. 

That was a huge and entertaining learning curve, and inspired my debut novel, Summer at the Art Cafe. I’m on my second hip now, still riding my 1000cc red Honda, and I’ve made some of my most enduring friendships through biking. 

I hope you enjoy reading about my characters and their stories. Some of my life has inevitably given birth to some of theirs, but their personalities are all their own, and I keep expecting to see them in the local supermarket or on the beach! 

Second novel, Meet Me at the Art Cafe is about to meet the world. Although there is still a bikey element in there, this time I touched on vintage motorbikes, which I have a soft spot for.

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