Book Review: Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe By Debbie Johnson


The Comfort Food Cafe is perched on a windswept clifftop at what feels like the edge of the world, serving up the most delicious cream teas; beautifully baked breads, and carefully crafted cupcakes. For tourists and locals alike, the ramshackle cafe overlooking the beach is a beacon of laughter, companionship, and security – a place like no other; a place that offers friendship as a daily special, and where a hearty welcome is always on the menu.

For widowed mum-of-two Laura Walker, the decision to uproot her teenaged children and make the trek from Manchester to Dorset for the summer isn’t one she takes lightly, and it’s certainly not winning her any awards from her kids, Nate and Lizzie. Even her own parents think she’s gone mad.

But following the death of her beloved husband David two years earlier, Laura knows that it’s time to move on. To find a way to live without him, instead of just surviving. To find her new place in the world, and to fill the gap that he’s left in all their lives.

Her new job at the cafe, and the hilarious people she meets there, give Laura the chance she needs to make new friends; to learn to be herself again, and – just possibly – to learn to love again as well.

For her, the Comfort Food Cafe doesn’t just serve food – it serves a second chance to live her life to the full…



Laura Walker has been existing, going through the motions since the unexpected death of her husband David, functioning for the sake of her children and nothing else. That is until she spots an advert looking for Summer help at a café in Dorset, miles away from her home in Manchester. Knowing there is no way she can afford to take the kids away on a holiday like they used to before David’s died, Laura decides to apply hoping to combine a Summer of work with a much-needed holiday.

Having poured her heart out in her application letter Laura is stunned when she is offered the position at The Comfort Food Café in Budbury. Still unsure if she is doing the right thing she up’s sticks for the Summer heading into the great unknown – despite the protests from the kids!

The Comfort Food Café though isn’t a run of the mill place, run by the slightly eccentric Cherie it offers much more than good food to its customers. Offering it’s VIP customers their every own menu fulfilling their comfort food needs and a place of sanctuary for locals and tourists alike Laura soon realises how special the café is. It’s not just a place to gain a full belly, but a place that helps nourish the soul too.

Given the opportunity to be themselves away from home and those who know their history Laura and the children thrive. Meeting new friends and learning about themselves and each other the Comfort Food Café helps them start to imagine a future even with the absence of David, but does that include a new love interest too?

Summer at the Comfort Food Café is the first in the series however I have already read and reviewed the latest instalment, Sunshine at the Comfort Food Café – I hadn’t realised I had read them out of order until I had finished it! Both books can easily be read as standalone novels, however reading this book definitely filled in some of the detail about the characters. It works both ways though as I felt I knew Willow, one of the café workers, really well as the fourth book tells her story, despite having only been featured as a small part in this book.

I loved this book it’s full of quirky, yet believable characters and I especially loved the relationship between Laura and her teenage daughter Lizzie – I’m guessing that Debbie has perhaps had some first-hand experience of teenage behaviour as I could completely relate!

The book deals with the subject of grief and loss in such a real way it is at times heart-breaking. Despite this the overriding themes of the book are that of friendship, love, family, community and healing which mixed together make for a wonderfully up-lifting and light-hearted read.

Even though I have never visited Dorset myself the descriptions of the area and scenery are so well written I could vividly picture it in my mind, almost able to feel the sea breeze on my face! Set during a lovely warm Summer this book would make the perfect holiday read – one for the beach perhaps when you don’t have to imagine the sea breeze and she sunshine on your face!

I now have the other two books in the Comfort Food Café series firmly on my ‘to be read’ list and I can’t wait to find out more about some of the character’s I have already been introduced to. I do hope that Debbie adds more books to this series as with so many character’s each with their own story to tell there is so much more as a reader I would like to discover.

You can buy Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe from Amazon* .

We were gifted an copy of this book in return for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

*This post contains an affiliate link.

11 thoughts on “Book Review: Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe By Debbie Johnson

  1. I really like the sound of this series and how each book focuses on different characters in the cafe. I’ve been to Dorset many times, it’s such a beautiful location. I’d love to read this to see if I recognise any of the places in the story 😍. It sounds like a fab lighthearted holiday read which touches on more serious topics too. Fantastic review Melanie, thanks for sharing 💖 xx

    Bexa |


  2. Aww this sounds so lovely! Despite the dark beginning of the story with her partner passing I have a feeling it has more of a sparkly ending to it. Although I’ve never been to Dorset, I’ve spent a week of every Summer in Cornwall since I was about 5 years old and half of that time was in cute little cafes after a beach trip. It feels like home from home now so I can picture myself really enjoying the theme of this book! Great review, I would really love to read this whole series from the sounds of it!
    Alice Xx


  3. I love the sound if this book! Definietly something I could see myself reading. I like that it deals with grief and the fact it has great realised characters. I think it’s important for books to have characters that really have a story and you can get a sense that they probably do exist somewhere.

    Jordanne ||

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is another fab sounding book, ideal for holidays! I love Dorset so it would be fun to try and recognise some of the places – I shall add it to my list for our upcoming trip to Lanzarote 🙂 Thank you for sharing! x

    Lisa |


  5. I literally bought this book a couple of weeks ago, actually thinking it was the second book in the series! I’d won a copy of Coming Home to Comfort Food Cafe at Christmas but didn’t read it as I knew it wasn’t the first book in the series. This is at the top of my Summer TBR. I’m so glad you enjoyed it, it looks like such a fun read and just my kind of thing. Great review, lovely Melanie x


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