by Katherine Reay
As you may have noticed, contemporary novels are not typically my cup of tea (or coffee in my case). I absolutely love history and all the otherworldly adventures that arise. However, I have been a fan of Katherine Reay since high school as she often writes Jane Austen retellings set in modern times. With this said, I was still wary to read as I haven’t read a modern-era book in a while, but I am so glad I did! It was refreshing and a good splash of reality!
When the beloved company Alyssa Harrison works for falls under FBI investigation and she is out of work and money, she is forced to return to her hometown and all her painful memories of the past. Jeremy Mitchell moved from Seattle to Winsome to be near his daughter and to open the coffee shop he’s been dreaming of for years. Problem is, the business is bleeding money—and he’s not quite sure why. Life in Winsome, Illinois is not all that it seems and the past even more so!
Of Literature and Lattes is uniquely written in that Katherine Reay provides the reader with special insights into each of the characters; their inner thoughts, desires, fears, sadness. I often felt like I was on a ride at Disneyland where the riders slowly move through various scenes being played out before them. Although the book is primarily about Alyssa and Jeremy, there are others you have a vested interest in. This style of writing is more true to life. In our own minds, the world revolves around us. By nature we are ego-centric as we are only given our own perspective. BUT there are others in our “world” that are experiencing their own versions of life. Everyone is at their own stage. Some are young and enjoying the joys of childhood. Others are older and experiencing the pain of losing a beloved one. This is all apart of life and Katherine Reay writes it beautifully.
I am not one to typically enjoy a “real life” story, whether in a book or on the screen as I often like to escape my own problems in the joys of a book. However, the way in which this book is presented is not to sadden the reader or to force them into the pit of despair, but rather to provide healing, understanding, and courage.
And true to life, there is no true villain. As much as we may see one as pure evil, it simply isn’t true. Same as with the fact that there is no perfect person. Thus the need for Jesus, the only perfect person. As much as Alyssa may dislike and resent her mother, it is not as easy nor true to say the sole blame lays at her mother’s feet.
On the romance side, I did enjoy Alyssa and Jeremy’s relationship. Both are at a unique stage of life in their own way, with their own fears and doubts, but through their budding friendship, they find peace and courage. They are low drama and more real to life characters. They support one another while also remaining true to each other. As I am a lover of romance novels, I wish there had been more written and not just implied. Meaning, the book although focused on Alyssa and Jeremy, it was not on their romance but on the hardships of their current predicament. So at times, the book would say something along the lines of, they went to the park together with Jeremy’s daughter and then it would move on to the next day.
Of Literature and Lattes could be read as a standalone, but does contain characters from the first book, The Printed Letter. There were a few stories left unanswered and I hope more from the little town of Winsome in the future!
I was given a free copy of the book, but the opinions in this review are completely my own.
The Red Review: ❤️❤️❤️❤️
*** 4 Stars: Compelling Characters, Well-Written, Interesting Storyline, Unable to Stop