The Café on Manor Lane

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Pub Date 9 Aug 2024 | Archive Date Not set


A stranger can change your life in a moment of kindness

1952: Bella is a young French Jew in post-war London, having lost everything in WWII. When she meets Adebayo, a doctor from Nigeria, Archibald's Café is the only place they feel like they belong.

1977: With London consumed by anger, Amara decides to take action.

2010: Gina is a daydreaming artist whose efforts crumble into disaster. Her hopes for a career are over as she finds herself making lattes at the café where her grandparents went on their first date.

Across the lives of three generations of women, London can be a harsh and beautiful place. Yet, chance friendships hold people together, when the world feels like it is falling apart.

A stranger can change your life in a moment of kindness

1952: Bella is a young French Jew in post-war London, having lost everything in WWII. When she meets Adebayo, a doctor...

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ISBN 9780008605896
PRICE £1.99 (GBP)

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Average rating from 10 members

Featured Reviews

I really enjoyed this book. It was very easy to read and I was hooked from the beginning. And it was very well researched.

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A fun sweet read! Highly recommend.

Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for my ARC.

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This was a really lovely book to read, the author found the beautiful in the everyday and created a rich narrative firmly rooted in Lewisham. Kyazze has a talent for using metaphor simply but to great effect, one that particularly stood out to me was comparing someone to a cup of tea that had stewed too long, they had been warm and comforting, now cool and bitter.

I enjoyed the story being told from multiple perspectives within the family, though I would have liked to have heard more from Amara, her chapters were really interesting and I would have liked to hear more about what happened and what made her tick. Adey's sections were a really lovely surprise as I had thought from the blurb that the perspective would remain solely with the female members of the family.

The setting was beautifully done, I truly felt like I spent my time reading this book walking the streets of Lewisham. I have read a few books recently that have similarly attempted to describe the same area at different points in time and this is one of the most successful ones I've read. It felt like Kyazze really knew what Lewisham was like in the 50s , 60s, 70s and 2010s, and did not rely on historical stereotyping and assumptions about a homogenous culture in past decades. In particular I really enjoyed the events depicted in the 2010s, as I remember them happening and think this book really brought the reality of what happened to the fore for those of us who did not live in the area and only saw it on the news.

My only negative about this book is that I think there should have been more of it. I really loved the chapters we had, but as I mentioned above I would have really liked to have had more from Amara's perspective, maybe more from Bella and Adey from the 70s as well. I found the ending a little sudden, this might be because I was reading this as an e-book and hadn't realised quite how close I was to the end of the book, but I would have liked maybe a chapter or two more at the end.

Overall I think this was a really great book , I really enjoyed Kyazze's writing style, I found the characters interesting and engaging and could only ask for more.

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