Snowflakes Over the Starfish Cafe [Book Review]

August 27, 2021

Snowflakes Over the Starfish Café by Jessica Redland

Snowflakes Over the Starfish Cafe by Jessica Redland (cover) Image: a young man and woman sit outside at a table near a rustic cafe near a cove of water and a lighthouse

Genre/Categories/Setting: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Family Life, Romance, North Yorkshire Coast

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My Summary:

Thanks #NetGalley @bookandtonic @boldwoodbooks for a complimentary eARC of #SnowflakesOverTheStarfishCafe upon my request. All opinions are my own.

Mum had built a legacy around warmth and friendship and I was determined to keep that going.”

Hollie has inherited the Starfish Cafe and works hard at retaining the traditional warmth and friendliness of the small, family-owned, community cafe where everyone knows your name. A fluffy, cute dog causes Hollie and Jake to meet. Both Hollie and Jake are dealing with loss and grief and are hesitant to risk love again. Will they find the courage to trust each other, build a strong friendship, move past loneliness and fear, and find love?

My Thoughts:

Dependable Author: I love the confidence that I have in certain authors who consistently deliver a story that matches my reading tastes. This is especially true in light women’s fiction where I tread carefully for many reasons! Yes….I’m picky! I don’t want to read stories with an F-bomb in every sentence (lazy writing in my opinion). I will read stories that include profanity when it’s used for specific reasons….for example, Code Name Helene included a great deal of profanity but it was understandable in the circumstances and accurately depicts the real person. I once reviewed a book and cited excessive profanity and one person commented that she never noticed the profanity… I realize that all my concerns identified here are personal preferences that I know do not affect all readers. I don’t want to read stories that include graphic violence, explicit open door romance, or heavy-handed political agendas. I do enjoy an occassional light women’s fiction read that includes thoughtful and substantial themes with a side of romance. I can depend on Jessica Redland to write stories I enjoy that match my reading tastes!

The Genre: In the romance genre, we expect HEA and certain predictable tropes. We can identify fairly early in the story that two grieving people who have huge personal losses to overcome and are afraid to risk falling in love will eventually find love in this strangers to friends to lovers trope.

I Wish: I think the degree of loss in the story is a bit overwhelming and overdone, and I wish that had been toned down a bit. Each instance of loss was realistic; however, it seems unrealistic that two people might experience so much loss. While I do appreciate the theme of loss and grief, it felt heavy.

Point of View and Structure: I enjoyed experiencing Snowflakes Over the Starfish Café from two points of view (Hollie’s and Jake’s). Even though the story has a straight forward timeline, we are given many, many flashbacks which shed light on the types of losses that have been suffered and the history (meet-cute) between the main characters.

Themes: Substantial themes include grief, loss (a great deal of loss), family, risk in loving again, death of a parent, tragic accidents, childhood trauma, friendship, overcoming emotional abuse, the dedication of rescue organizations (Royal National Lifeboat Institution), loneliness, the process of recovery, and courage.

“There was something in his eyes that I recognized so well: pain, loss, heartache.”

“With courage, nothing is impossible.”

Recommended: I’m recommending Snowflakes Over the Starfish Café for readers who enjoy romance and heartfelt women’s fiction, and for fans of Jessica Redland’s. I have also reviewed two books in her Hedgehog series here and here.

Content Consideration: death of a parent, grief, loss, emotionally abusive older sister

My Rating: 4 Stars


Snowflakes Over the Starfish Cafe by Jessica Redland (cover) Image: a young man and young woman sit at a table outside a rustic cafe that overlooks a cove and a lighthouse....there is snow on the ground and a dog nearby

Snowflakes Over the Starfish Café Information Here

Meet the Author, Jessica Redland

Author Jessica RedlandI live in Scarborough on the stunning North Yorkshire Coast in the UK. My home inspired the creation of the fictional seaside town of Whitsborough Bay where I set some of my books. The Hedgehog Hollow series takes readers to a gorgeous countryside setting on the Yorkshire Wolds.

I live with my husband, our teenage daughter and sprocker spaniel, Ella. I’m a stationery addict with a notepad obsession who loves chocolate (although it doesn’t love me), hedgehogs, 80s music, collectible teddy bears and lighthouses.

My career has mainly been in HR as a trainer and recruiter. I had a brief detour into retail to set up and manage my own specialist teddy bear shop and started writing my debut novel on quiet days in the shop.

In June 2020, I became a full-time author. I’m so very grateful to anyone who has bought or borrowed my books in whatever format, helping me fulfill a long-held dream of writing full-time. I still can’t believe I get to spend every day chatting to my fictional friends and making stuff up.


Is Snowflakes Over the Starfish Cafe on your TBR or have you read it?

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  1. Excellent review Carol. Even though it contains a lot of loss, I am looking forward to reading this one soon. I also enjoy Jessica’s books and have not been disappointed in any that I have read.

  2. I completely understand and agree with you about what you mean by the weight of the loss (es) and how it was described!😀I still have to write the review for this and my thoughts mirror yours

  3. Hi Carol, not sure how I’m not already following your reviews. I thought I was! Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts on Snowflakes Over The Starfish Cafe. I’m pleased you enjoyed aspects of Hollie and Jake’s story despite the level of tragedy for both characters not working for you. I agree with you about the swearing in stories and frequent use of it (when it doesn’t add to the story) being lazy writing. Much more impact if used occasionally and appropriately at a realistic moment 🙂

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