Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The Goodbye Cafe - Contemporary Fiction Review

Goodreads:  The Goodbye Cafe (Hudson Sisters #3) by Mariah Stewart

Rating: Very Good
Source: Publisher

Description:  California girl Allie Hudson Monroe can't wait for the day when the renovations on the Sugarhouse Theater are complete so she can finally collect the inheritance from her father and leave Pennsylvania. After all, her life and her fourteen-year-old daughter are in Los Angeles.
But Allie's divorce left her tottering on the edge of bankruptcy, so to keep up on payments for her house and her daughter's private school tuition, Allie packed up and flew out east. But fate has a curve-ball or two to toss in Allie's direction—she just doesn't know it yet.

She hadn't anticipated how her life would change after reuniting with her estranged sister, Des, or meeting her previously unknown half-sister, Cara. And she'd certainly never expected to find small-town living charming. But the biggest surprise was that her long-forgotten artistry would save the day when the theater's renovation fund dried up.

With opening day upon the sisters, Allie's free to go. But for the first time in her life, she feels like the woman she was always meant to be. Will she return to the West Coast and resume her previous life, or will the love of her family be enough to draw her back to the place where the Hudson roots grow so deep?

Genre: Fiction - Contemporary

Why I Picked This Book:  The first book in this trilogy was one of my favorite reads of 2017 and I enjoyed the previous book last year.

My Impression:  I was a little hesitant about this one.  I loved the first sister, Cara, and I loved her book.  I really liked the second sister, Des, and I really liked her book.  However, the third sister, Allie, was never a character I warmed to.  She was so prickly and hostile and just not very nice.  It was hard to imagine that I would really enjoy getting to know her and see her story unfold.  However, I trust Mariah Stewart so I took a deep breath and started reading.  And for awhile I still didn't like Allie.  She is making better decisions but for the first third or so she can still be more than a bit sharp with those around her.  As well, while her relationship with her daughter, Nikki, is sweet and provides some needed softness, I didn't understand a lot of her thoughts regarding Nikki's future.  Nikki is nothing but enthusiastic about the town and being involved with her newfound family.  As well, she has made solid friendships with some really good kids and is constantly involved with new projects.  Allie seems unable to see this and assumes that Nikki will of course start looking down on all the stuff in the small town despite all the evidence to the contrary. 

The relationship between Ben and Allie took awhile to develop.  Actually it took awhile to even turn to not antagonistic.  In a previous book Allie and Ben had a confrontation and it took a long time for things to thaw.  At the beginning I just didn't see how anything could ever happen. And at the beginning I just wasn't sure I'd ever really like Allie.  However, I was wrong on both counts.  I think the struggle made the connection all the more real and by a third of the way in I can say I really liked Allie and felt truly connected with her even though I still wanted to shake her a time or two (or more).  Despite my rocky relationship with Allie at the beginning I never had a rocky relationship with the book.  From the beginning it pulled me and had me fully invested in the lives of the Hudson sisters and the town. 

I have thoroughly enjoyed this series and loved not only seeing Allie's character really develop but also spend more time with Cara, Des, and Barney.  It was a delightful read from beginning to end.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  I would.  I've found Stewart's books a bit inconsistent but when I enjoy them I really love them. 

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you like women's fiction and sibling relationships this is a fantastic read though I recommend you go back and start with Cara's story - The Last Chance Matinee.

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *


  1. Good to hear you enjoyed this one Katherine. I just bought it from Audible as soon as it published and intend getting into the listen. Your review has me prepared well!

  2. I am just starting this! Excited you thought it was very good :)

  3. I was very pleased with this one as well.

  4. I've never read anything by Maria Stewart. I may have to remedy that as this series sounds like one I would like. Thanks for the heads-up!

  5. I haven't read this author yet. I am so glad that this one ended up working for you despite not liking the main character in previous books.