REVIEWED BY SUSAN WATSON
A feel-good story of friendship, kindness and love to brighten your January…
Libby Page’s uplifting debut novel, The Lido, became a Sunday Times bestseller so I was very much looking forward to reading her second novel, The 24 Hour Café, released last week. With the same feel-good feel at the heart of the story, Libby Page has certainly given us another winner.
Stella’s is the London station café that never sleeps. Open 24 hours a day, we are introduced to the wide range of characters that the café attracts, everyone from the kind-hearted crossword-obsessed insomniac to an older couple heading off on their honeymoon. We get a heartwarming insight into each of their stories and also learn some valuable lessons – you never really know what’s going on in a person’s life and that everyone has a story to tell.
Hopes and dreams…
However, at the heart of this uplifting book is the friendship between Hannah and Mona, who both waitress at the cafe and share a flat together. Hannah dreams of making it as a singer while Mona spends her time auditioning for dancing jobs, dreaming of one day seeing her name in lights. In the city that both have adopted as their home, they have become each other’s chief cheerleaders in the pursuit of their dreams.
As the story progresses over a 24 hour period in the café, we soon learn that cracks have developed in their friendship and recent events mean both begin to question whether their friendship can survive.
As we explore Hannah and Mona’s friendship, we find out more about some of the key characters in the café. Be warned… Dan’s story will almost certainly have you reaching for the tissues, as will Harry and Martha’s tale of finding love later in life.
This book is a gentle reminder of the kindness of strangers, enduring friendship and love against the odds. The perfect antidote to a cold January day!