Monday, 21 March 2016

5* review - Return to the Little Coffee Shop of Kabul by Deborah Rodriguez

Six women forever joined by a little cafe in Kabul
Sunny, former proprietor of the Little Coffee Shop and new owner of the Screaming Peacock vineyard. Can she handle the challenges of life on her own?
Yasmina, the young mother who now runs the cafe, until a terrifying event strikes at the heart of her family and business...
Layla and Kat
Afghan teenagers in America, struggling to make sense of their place in the world...

Zara, about to be forced into a marriage which will have devastating consequences...
These women are about to learn what Halajan, Yazmina's rebellious mother-in-law, has known all along: when the world as you know it disappears, you find a new way to live.
Reuniting us with the much-loved cast of the international bestseller, The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul. Deborah Rodriguez tells an inspiring story of women's strength and courage in a changing world.

The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul  has been one of those books that stayed with me, (I loved reading about this culture so much it inspired me to read Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns ) so I was overjoyed when Rodriguez's latest offering was available for review. 

I loved being back with the women of the Kabul coffee shop. Sunny, having left Afghanistan due to the rising safety threat to foreigners, is now living on a Pacific Island and instantly hates it. After travelling with Jack, he wanted to settle down and follow his dream of running a vineyard, so the Screaming Peacock vineyard is born after a lot of soul searching and hard work. As there is such a strong bond between her and her Kabul 'family', she keeps in touch with them via Skype (and her friend Candace). Tensions are running higher there than ever, and the threat of danger is ever present, and so much closer to home than any of them realise.

Yasmina and Ahmet face struggles that come with tradition and the role of women in Afghanistan beginning - if only slowly - to change, and Ahmet is not sure how he feels about this, especially when Yasmina chooses to help Zara, a young girl promised in marriage to a vile and lecherous, not to mention incredibly powerful and dangerous older man, when she is in love with another. Halajan is there to support Yasmina while planning a little uprising of her own...

And there is Yasmina's younger sister, Layla, having travelled to a host family in America to better her English, learning Western ways and being torn herself between tradition and freedom.

There will be heartbreak along the way.

I loved the new characters in the forms of Sky, Kat and Joe who help Sunny rebuild the vineyard, I loved how Joe always had a nugget of wisdom and was very much Sunny's 'Halajan' albeit on a different continent, I also loved how wonderful and patient Sky was in helping Layla to adapt to western ways, and Kat to overcome the tragedies from her past.

All in all, Return to the Little Coffee Shop of Kabul is as equally wonderful as it's predecessor and equally as heart wrenching yet inspiring. They show huge courage in a changing world, and the ending is poignant and satisfying.

A huge...
Many thanks to the publisher for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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