Tuesday 9 July 2024


Book review: New Beginnings at the Cosy Cat Café by Julie Haworth [blog tour]

Last year I was fortunate to be on the blog tour for Julie Haworth's debut novel Always By Your Side. It introduced me to a delightful new voice in women's fiction, not to mention a brand-new (sadly fictional) setting that I fell head-over-heels in love with. Blossom Heath is the ultimate picturesque English village, filled with charming characters and cottages – and as soon as I turned the final page I was already desperate to return again. Thankfully, I didn't have to wait too long as the end of the book teased the next Blossom Heath adventure: New Beginnings at the Cosy Cat Café.

About New Beginnings at the Cosy Cat Café

Tori was supposed to be on the trip of a lifetime, but when her boyfriend dumps her while she's halfway across the world, she returns to her home of Blossom Heath. While trying to figure out what to do with her life next, she helps out at her mum's café, serving tea and cake to the local villagers; reacquainting herself with old friends and making new ones along the way. 

She also meet a handsome new stranger – Leo – but as Tori doesn't feel ready for another relationship, she's keeping him at arm's length. Besides, she quickly has her hands full anyway as she finds herself a big new project to dig into: making her mum's already popular tearoom even more of a destination by turning it into a cat café like the ones she loved visiting on her travels in Asia. 

My review

I had extremely high hopes for New Beginnings at the Cosy Cat Café. I adored Julie Haworth's debut novel (it was probably my favourite women's fiction read of 2023) and I am a huge cat lover, so putting the two together sounded like an absolutely winning combination – and I wasn't wrong. I loved everything about this book!

Especially returning to Blossom Heath and reuniting with some of my favourite villagers. They weren't just briefly mentioned in the background either. Rose from Always By Your Side is Tori's best friend, so we see plenty of her (and even the idyllic Jasmin Cottage she lived in makes an important appearance). That isn't to say that this is a clear "second in a series" and readers need to have read the first book to understand this one. They work perfectly as independent standalones, but if you do read them in order then it's very satisfying and a delight to revisit favourite characters and places. 

Author Julie Haworth really expands the world of Blossom Heath in this novel, most notably with the focus on Joyce's Cosy Cup café and the nearby New Beginnings Animal Rescue run by Izzie, who teams up with Tori to turn the tea room into a bonafide cat café. I loved the way these settings were brought to life in the novel, "cosy" truly is the best way to describe them. There's a beautiful sense of place in this book that really transports readers to these locations. 

And let's not forget the incredible new characters, particularly Tori, Leo and his adorable little niece and – most importantly – the many, many cats, each with their own quirks. I absolutely adored each and every one of them. While, of course, I wanted them all to be adopted by loving new homes, I did make me sad that we potentially wouldn't see them again once they did. But then again, the village isn't very big so they can always make a background appearance when they're out and about exploring. 

New Beginnings at the Cosy Cat Café is exactly what you'd expect it to be from its cute title and cover design: feline-forward, romantic, and utterly charming; the "purrrfect" return to Blossom Heath. It's a warm hug in book shape and a great escapism from the stress and pace of everyday work and life. 

There was no teaser for Julie Haworth's next novel at the end of this one, so I want to start the campaign for it here and now as I need more Blossom Heath in my life! What about a festive tale next? I can already envision the village decked out with twinkling lights, the smell of mulled wine and freshly baked mince pies wafting from the doors of the cat café...

New Beginnings at the Cosy Cat Café by Julie Haworth will be published in paperback by Simon & Schuster on 18 July 2024 (it's out already in ebook form) and you can now pre-order your copy from your favourite local book shop!

Blog tour stops for New Beginnings at the Cosy Cat Café by Julie Haworth

This review for New Beginnings at the Cosy Cat Café is part of the blog tour for the launch of the book. Make sure to check out the other stops too!

Disclaimer: This book was gifted to me, but this has not impacted this honest review.

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