Book Review & Blog Tour: Summer at the French Cafe by Karen Clarke

Happy Monday fellow book lovers! I’m excited to be one of the stops for the blog tour of Summer at the Little French Cafe by Karen Clarke, which is hosted by Bookouture. Be sure to check out the other lovely bloggers taking part!

Summer at the Little French Cafe

Author: Karen Clarke

Publication Date: 27 June 2019

Genre: Adult Fiction – Romance

Pages: 281

Publisher: Bookouture

In the beautiful village of Chamillon lies the Café Belle Vie, where you’ll always find croissants and friends when you need them the most – and where Elle is hoping to uncover the truth about her past…

Thirty-year-old Elle Matheson has decided it’s finally time to find the mother who gave her up as a baby. With a faded postcard from the Café Belle Vie in hand – one of the very few things she has from her mother – she heads straight to the Île de Ré to begin her search.

With only the postcard and the ivory shawl she was wrapped in as clues, finding her mum is like trying to find a needle in a haystack, even with the help of friendly – and gorgeous – café-owner Charlie. And since Elle hasn’t exactly told her younger sister what she’s up to, the little white lies about where she is are starting to add up…

But Elle is really starting to feel at home on the beautiful island. The locals are welcoming, the café is homely, and Charlie is always there with a helping hand, a listening ear, and a pain au chocolat.

Is Elle about to discover not just where she came from – but where she belongs?

A hilarious rom com perfect for reading in the sunshine! Fans of Debbie Johnson, Zara Stoneley and Debbie Macomber will love Karen Clarke!

The Summer at the Little French Cafe follows the story of thirty old Elle Matheson. When Elle was one week old, she was delivered to her father by her biological mother with only a postcard saying to name her Eloise, and the postcard was signed M. Elle finally decides that it’s time to go to Chamillon and visit Cafe Belle Vie (the cafe on the postcard) in order to get the answers that she so desperately seeks.

When Elle arrives at the cafe, she crashes (literally) into the gorgeous Charlie, who assumes that she is the temporary fill in for the cafe. Elle meets Dolly, Charlie’s mom and co-owner of the cafe, and ends up agreeing to work at the cafe for the week that she is there. With Dolly’s help, Elle is determined to meet all the women in Chamillon whose name starts with the letter M and that traveled to London in the eighties.

One of the best aspects of this story is that it is almost entirely character driven. We get to see the different relationships that Elle builds in such a short timespan, and how each of those characters become integral parts of Elle. I loved watching Elle interact with Dolly who is incredibly maternal and choses to help Elle without any judgment. Also, Toni, Elle’s best friend is hilarious. She’s that type of best friend who tells it like it is, and I loved every minute of it. You can tell she’s been a part of Elle’s life for a long time because she doesn’t sugar coat anything.

While this book says that it is a romantic comedy, I would actually say that is a bit misleading. This book definitely has some funny moments (Elle trying to eat a raw oyster on a not-date with Henri), but most of the story really pulls at your heartstrings as you embark on this adventure to seek closure for Elle.

Overall, if you enjoy French cafes, romance, and character driven plots, then definitely pick this one up! You won’t be disappointed.

Thank you to Bookouture for providing an eARC of this book for review and for the blog tour invitation. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

Purchase your copy of Summer at the Little French Cafe below:

Karen Clarke writes romantic comedy novels. Her BEACHSIDE series is set in the fictional seaside town of Shipley and features recurring characters, but each book can be read as a standalone. She is currently working on a new, three-book series set in Devon. 

Karen has also written three romcoms with a paranormal twist, all available to download

When she’s not working on her novels, Karen writes short stories for women’s magazines and has had over three hundred published globally. Some of them can be read in her short story collection ‘BEHIND CLOSED DOORS…and other Tales with a Twist’ 

Karen lives in Buckinghamshire with her husband and three grown-up children.

Author Social Media Links:


  1. Wow this sounds like such a cute story. Although since you said it pulls more at your heartstrings, I’m debating on if I want to cry while reading this lol. I love how many blog tours you’re a part of and I’m always looking forward to your reviews and posts!


  2. […] Summer at the Little French Cafe by Karen Clarke (eARC) – 4 stars. This is the perfect beach read that will have you wishing you were sipping mimosas in the French Riviera while reading this book. I loved watching Elle interact with the people of Chamillon as she tried to find her biological mother. Here’s my review. […]


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