This time, I’m writing as part of a #CompulsiveReaders blog tour for the The 24-Hour Café by Libby Page. It’s a MASSIVE blog tour (the graphic below is just the first page of three!)
If you’re looking for a sweet, heartfelt novel that really captures a broad range of London life, and human life, The 24-Hour Café is the novel for you.
Title: The 24-Hour Café
Author: Libby Page
Publication Date: 23rd January 2020
In reading this book, you spend 24 hours inside Stella’s Cafe in London. Throughout the course of a day, you experience the 12 hour shifts of two waitresses, Mona and Hannah, and snippets from the lives of various characters that come through the doors.
Most of the novel focuses on Mona and Hannah, their friendship and their goals and dreams. This means a number of flashbacks, as each character reflects on how she got to where she is now, and what that means for her future.
The setting of the book, the characters that walk in through the doors, their stories and the people around them are all super. I used to spend a lot of time working long shifts in cafés, and it’s lovely to read a novel that encompasses so many parts of the diverse lives that walk through it.
In particular, Libby Page obviously has a passion for writing about London and capturing the variety of highs and lows experienced in the city every day. I enjoyed her previous book, The Lido, and the community feel that it gave. The 24-Hour Café is obviously aiming for something similar, but doesn’t quite hit the mark as precisely.
Unfortunately, some of that is due to the main characters, Hannah and Mona. Their friendship is a little … tedious. Which is made even more so by their flashbacks, which take a little too long to tie together. It also means that when their friendship is tested, their fears and worries around this also get a little bit wearing.
The book, however, is a lovely concept and is enjoyable to read. It gives the same vibe as those cosy bookstore style novels, but with a bit more edge, which comes from the clientele of the café and Libby Page’s own desire to about London as thought it were a community – just one that doesn’t always realise it.
Thanks to Compulsive Readers, Orion and NetGalley for an ARC of this book – all views are my own.