"She had taken a bare room and filled it with her passion and chosen other people whose passion matched her own. She had designed and nurtured every element.... She would miss it. But she could leave knowing that she had made something durable."
Chef Annie and her husband Max co-own a successful high-end restaurant in England. One night Annie catches Max cheating with one of their female servers, and it's not his first time. Annie flees, taking a temporary job caring for a beachside property in order to step back from her business and her 26-year marriage and decide what to do about both. She is quickly pulled into her new surroundings, making friends and hosting a women's book club. The property includes an abandoned tea room and a snack kiosk with a good Italian coffee machine, and soon Annie begins serving coffees and sweets to the local morning beach walkers.
The property is owned by a woman named Mari who is in her 80s and doesn't want to have to weather another rough stormy winter. Mari's crusty nephew John wants to sell the property, believing that Mari will soon need the money for increased care, but Annie hates the idea of leaving as she has become so fully entrenched in the community. Max tries to coax Annie back into their relationship and Annie has to decide what she wants to do with her life, and what she is willing to fight for.
A Season for Second Chances by Jenny Bayliss details celebrations that Annie caters, spanning from Halloween to Christmas, and it is a fun, foodie, holiday season read for those who don't mind a bit of raunchy sex humor. I enjoyed Annie's friendship and support of a local homeless man, and her relationships with Mari and the outspoken women in her book club.
Paperback 448 pages, Audiobook (with lovely narration by Ell Potter) 12 hours,11 minutes