Starry Skies Over the Chocolate Pot Cafe
by Jessica Redland
Tara has worked hard to make The Chocolate Pot Cafe a success, but there are lots of heartaches and pain in her story. She has isolated herself on a personal level and focused on her professional life in response to the devastating events of her childhood and the wicked betrayals in her youth, betrayals perpetrated by those she had reason to trust the most. Now she has determined that if she doesn’t let anyone past her barriers, she can’t be hurt again.
In Starry Skies Over the Chocolate Pot Cafe, Jessica Redland has crafted a moving tale of a girl with a Pollyanna type personality, always looking for the good in others and in situations. As a child, she is wrapped in her father’s love and in the black cloak that surrounds her mother who battles depression and mental illness.
When disaster strikes the family, Tara is introduced to the foster care system. After several rough starts, she finds a real home with a loving family. Tara is finally convinced to open up to her friend Carla about her abusive experiences with her foster sister and with her own husband. In three different sessions, Tara manages to relate the trauma. In the telling, it is clear that Tara is a courageous young woman.
Another complication to the story is the return to Whitsborough Bay of Jed, the former owner of her cafe who scammed Tara during the purchase. There are many delightful characters who see Tara for what she is—kind, intelligent, caring, humble, generous, and innovative. A favorite character is Hercules, Tara’s Flemish Giant house rabbit.
Although there are difficult parts of the book that are hard to read, they are important in understanding why Tara is the way she is. Readers will enjoy following Tara’s growth as she learns to open her heart and take a chance on people again.
I would like to extend my thanks to NetGalley and to Boldwood Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: General Fiction (Adult)
Publication: September 8, 2020—Boldwood Books
There was no need for anyone to know anything about me outside of work. I let them see what I wanted them to see: a successful entrepreneur, an excellent chef, and a fair boss who stood for no nonsense. When you let people in—fully in—they have a habit of letting you down, so it’s easier to keep them at arm’s length. That way, they won’t break your heart.
…for the first time ever, I realised that my past had the power to do good. Instead of hiding from it, I could harness it and help others face their future.
“Facebook isn’t real, you know.” “What do you mean?” “It’s all about what people want others to see…most people I know use it to present the shiny side of life…And because it’s accompanied by a fanfare and smiles, we’re all fooled into thinking that everyone has a better life than us.”