Title: Of Literature and Lattes
Author: Katherine Reay
Publication Date: May 12, 2020
Number of Pages: 336
Summary: From Goodreads: “After fleeing her hometown three years earlier, Alyssa Harrison never planned to return. Then the Silicon Valley start-up she worked for collapsed and turned her world upside down. She is broke, under FBI investigation, and without a place to go. Having exhausted every option, she comes home to Winsome, Illinois, to regroup then move on as quickly as possible. Yet, as friends and family welcome her back, Alyssa begins to see a place for herself in this small Midwestern community.
Jeremy Mitchell moved from Seattle to Winsome to be near his daughter and to open the coffee shop he’s been dreaming of for years. Problem is, the business is bleeding money—and he’s not quite sure why. When he meets Alyssa, he senses an immediate connection, but what he needs most is someone to help him save his floundering business. After asking for her help, he wonders if something might grow between them—but forces beyond their control soon complicate their already complex lives, and the future they both hoped for is not at all what they anticipated.
With the help of Winsome’s small-town charm and quirky residents, Alyssa and Jeremy discover the beauty and romance of second chances.”
Review: Thank you, Thomas Nelson and Net Galley for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Of Literature and Lattes is one of those books where a lot is going on. It features a wide cast of characters, many of which are going through their own struggles, and it bounces back and forth between multiple perspectives. Overall, it’s a book about forgiveness: forgiving yourself and forgiving others.
My favourite thing about this book was that it takes place in a small town. I love stories that take place in small towns because I love the sense of community that the characters have. Winsome is one of those communities where everyone knows everybody, and they’ve been there for each other during good times and bad. This book is full of moments that show the sense of community Winsome has, and I just loved reading about it.
Now to talk about the two main characters Alyssa and Jeremy. I wasn’t the biggest fan of either of them, but they did have some redeeming moments. I found Alyssa’s attitude to be annoying, and I thought that some of the things she said to her mother were incredibly rude. I understand that she was under a lot of stress and that she didn’t have the best relationship with her mother, but I don’t think that’s an excuse to be as terrible as she was. I found myself shaking my head at Jeremy a lot because I felt like a lot of his problems could have been avoided if he would have done more research before opening his coffee shop and paying more attention. I did really like his relationship with his daughter, and I loved reading the scenes they had together. Fortunately for both main characters, they both eventually learned how to forgive themselves and others, which made me like them more towards the end of the book.
One thing that I found a bit confusing at times was the shifting between different perspectives. Winsome is home to a lot of people, and it took me a while to figure out who they all were. Once I got a better idea of who each character was, and what role they had in the community, I started to appreciate the different perspectives more. What started as a confusing mix-mash of characters, eventually turned into a cozy community that I felt apart of.
This brings me to my next point, which is there was a lot of stuff going on with this book. There were the two main characters, and their many problems, but then different members of the community also had things going on. There was Janet, who was trying to be a better person and find her true self. There was George, who was dealing with his wife’s decline in health and the changing community around him. There was the new priest, who was trying to figure out if he could belong in the community. All of these things made the community feel whole, even if it was confusing to keep track of at times. Some of the issues that come up in this book include Alzheimer’s, found family, addiction, infidelity, and many more.
Finally, I want to take a second to talk about the romance in this book. There is some romance, it’s predictable, and in my opinion, it’s only a minor plot point.
Overall, I enjoyed this book, but it wasn’t my favourite. I liked the sense of community and the small town, but I wasn’t thrilled with the two main characters. I liked that this book touched upon a lot of different issues, but at times I found it confusing to keep track of everything that was going on.
Rating: 3.5 Stars!