I first come across the Comfort Food Café when I read the Christmas edition in 2017, aptly named, Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe. It was only after reading it that I found out there was going to be a whole series of books by Debbie Johnson, each focusing on different characters from the Comfort Food Cafe.
“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 bread 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.”
The Comfort Food Cafe Series by Debbie Johnson
As each story stands up on its’ own, it doesn’t really matter what order you read them in. In fact, I quite liked reading them in the order I did as you just gained more insight into characters that you’d met before.
Cherie Moon is the quirky matriarch and owner of the Comfort Food Café and the books tell the stories of the wonderful characters that live, work, and visit Budbury, a seaside town in Dorset. Each book focuses on one family or person but all the characters play their part in every story.
These aren’t just flaky romance stories. In each book, you witness the relationships between family, friends, and lovers. You see the growth of characters who overcome believable troubled pasts to find that elusive happy ending. They are all portrayed with compassion and humour. How lovely it has been to get to know all the funny traits of people of all ages. And, of course, it’s nice to be served a good dose of comfort food along the way.
The fifth book, A Gift from the Comfort Food Cafe was quite a bit darker I felt. The main character Katie is an extremely anxious but capable young woman who is deeply affected by the unhappy upbringing that she had as a child caused by volatile warring parents. It took quite a long time to get to that happy ending.
One thing I took away from this story was that you never know what’s happened in people’s lives that makes them act the way they do. We all need to be a bit more patient and less judgemental. Maybe that’s what Debbie Johnson intended the gift from the Comfort Food Cafe to be.
All five books are so well written that you can imagine the village of Budbury as a real place but fictional enough to be able to escape to in today’s troubled world. Yes, I wanted to move there, live there forever, and be healed by being enveloped in Cherie’s world of comfort. And then, once I’d been sucked up into that environment, I wanted to run the Comfort Cafe and soothe others. Wow, how often can you say a story will have such a profound effect. A perfect bit of escapism.
All books are available in paperback and on Kindle.
You might like to check out some of my recipes for my own comfort foods. My favourites are Chicken Noodle Soup if I’m poorly which was a recipe that’s been handed down from my nan through the generations. Or if I’m feeling in need of some pure comfort, it’s got to be the old school dinner recipes of Butterscotch Tart and Apple Coconut Squares.
After publishing this post initially, I then went on to write about someone who was my real life Cherie Moon. You can read about her HERE
A Wedding at The Comfort Food Cafe followed in March 2019 but that’s still in my TBR pile.
Have you read these books, if so what did you think?
Do you have any favourite comfort foods of your own?