Tuesday 21 January 2020

BLOG TOUR: The 24 Hour Café - Libby Page

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 . . .

What did I think?

I picked up The 24 Hour Café based on all the excitement around Libby Page's debut, The Lido, which I haven't read.  It took me a little while to get into the book as I felt that we had only just started to scratch the surface of a story before the clock chimed the next hour and new customers entered the shop, but the long-running thread of Hannah and Mona's friendship kept me interested.  

Hannah and Mona are flatmates who work in Stella's Café which is situated opposite Liverpool Street Station in London.  It is open 24 hours so attracts a myriad clientele throughout the day and night.  The main story is around Hannah and Mona's friendship which is put to the test during the 24 hours we observe the cafe, but there are lots of little stories based on the lives of customers in the café.

Hannah has recently broken up with her boyfriend and I could tell he was a bad 'un from the start; preferring Star Trek to Star Wars is not a good sign!  I enjoyed this part of the story though, showing how Hannah's relationship with Jaheim not only changed her but consumed her and left Mona well outside Hannah and Jaheim's bubble.  I wondered how much of this was Hannah's own doing, but I suspected Jaheim liked that level of control over her.  Mona is a very good best friend to Hannah; she keeps quiet and bides her time knowing that boyfriends come and go but friends remain.

If you've ever people-watched and wondered what their story was, this book is for you!  Libby Page has put people watching into print and it did feel like I was there in the corner of the café, sipping my cuppa and observing the goings on myself.  Maybe I'm just nosy but I would have liked to delve a bit more into the lives of the customers, however, for Libby Page to have done so she would have ended up with several volumes of The 24 Hour Café.  

Libby Page's writes in such vivid colour that The 24 Hour Café brings London to life in front of your very eyes; the hustle and bustle is evident but also a more humane side.  Whereas a visitor to London might find it impersonal and inhospitable at first, Libby Page shows that there's more to Londoners than might first meet the eye.  I think you could call The 24 Hour Café a love letter to London, as Libby Page paints our capital city in such glorious light.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

About the author:

LIBBY PAGE is the author of the SUNDAY TIMES bestseller and runaway success of 2018, THE LIDO. THE LIDO has sold in over twenty territories around the world and film rights have been sold to Catalyst Global Media.

After writing, Libby’s second passion is outdoor swimming. Libby lives in London where she enjoys finding new swimming spots and pockets of community within the city. She and her sister run a blog and Instagram account @theswimmingsisters, documenting their swims and the benefits of outdoor exercise for mental health.

Follow Libby on Twitter @libbypagewrites

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