This week’s BotW is Cressida McLaughlin’s latest novel, The Canal Boat Café. With the exception of this, I had a bit of a lacklustre week of reading last week – so I was glad to have something that I enjoyed and could actually recommend!
Summer Freeman returns to the waterside village of Willowbeck after her mother’s death to sort out her mother’s narrowboat, the titular Canal Boat Cafe. Summer has been avoiding returning to the boat, but the family friend who has been keeping it going has run into some difficulties and needs Summer to take the reigns. Soon she and her dog Latte are moving on board and making new friends as Summer tries to work out what her future holds and what part the canal plays in it.
This originally started out as a four part ebook story, but is now out in proper paperback format. It’s still split into sections and there is a little bit of repetition of previous events, but as I was in the post-nightshift, too little sleep, too many hours at work haze it didn’t bother me because my concentration span was so shot! What it doesn’t have are the big, jarring cliff hangers that you often get at the end of sections in these novelisations – the sort of thing that are designed to get you to buy the next part to see what happens, but are then resolved within a few pages. And that is definitely a good thing. That’s not to say that there isn’t drama – because there is, but it happens at the point that it needs to happen for the story – not at where a part needs to end.
Summer and her friends (and not friends) have distinct characters and problems and points of view and the canal makes for a really appealing setting for them all to play out. It’s a lovely summer read, ideal for sitting out in the garden enjoying the sunshine – and it will probably make you want to go for a walk down the canal towpath, or even go on a holiday on the waterways.