Welcome to the café that never sleeps. Day and night Stella’s Café opens its doors for the lonely and the lost, the morning people and the night owls. It is many things to many people but most of all it is a place where life can wait at the door. A place of small kindnesses. A place where anyone can be whoever they want, where everyone is always welcome.

Meet Hannah and Mona: best friends, waitresses, dreamers. They work at Stella’s but they dream of more, of leaving the café behind and making their own way in life.

Come inside and spend twenty-four hours at Stella’s Café; a day when Hannah and Mona’s friendship will be tested, when the community will come together and when lives will be changed…

24 hour cafe

The Lido was one of my favourite books of 2018 so I wanted to love this just as much. While I did love it, it didn’t resonate in quite the same way, but I think that says more about me than about the story. I love the premise of a cafe that never shuts and the people who come and go. They all have their stories (a bit like in Ruth Hogan’s The Keeper of Lost Things where each lost item has a personal story). My only issue was with the two main characters – Hannah who wants to make her living as a singer and Mona who is a dancer. They have both passed the grand old age of 30 and doubt that it will ever happen, but still they dream while working in Stella’s cafe, popping off to auditions in between. I did love Mona – though Hannah not quite as much as she could be quite irritating – but I couldn’t identify with either of them. I also didn’t find their lives that interesting but maybe that’s the point. I think perhaps this book is aimed more at the Millennial generation and not at me (a baby boomer). I would probably have loved it 30 years ago when Thirtysomething was my favourite TV programme. However, the characters are beautifully written and Libby’s powers of observation are unparalleled – she is my favourite ‘people-watcher’ of all time!

When I read The Lido I sobbed throughout most of the final part (in a good way) – this one took a lot longer, but I still needed the hankies near the end. A lovely, gentle read, that as someone already mentioned, you can dip in and out of. Highly recommended and I look forward to Libby’s next book.

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