I readily admit that I purchased this book solely based on the title and cover. I had read one other book by the author, Katherine Reay, so this looked like a fun and safe bet.
Of Literature and Lattes was, in fact, a fun read. I didn’t realize it was the sequel to the other book by Reay which I had previously read, The Printed Letter Bookshop. Because it has been quite awhile since I read that one, the beginning of this was a little confusing for me. I didn’t remember most of the characters, so that may be why it started out clunky for me.
Both The Printed Letter Bookshop and Of Literature and Lattes begin with similar story lines–the main character grows up in a small town, moves to the big city for a career, the career crashes and burns, so she returns to her hometown.
This does sound a little Hallmark-y, but Reay does a wonderful job of really digging into the emotional conflict and distress of the characters. While there is a lot of long dialogue, I love that the dialogue is intelligent and thoughtful.
The Printed Letter Bookshop follows the stories of three women, Madeline, Claire, and Janet, who have come together under painful circumstances, and tells a heartfelt story of friendship, reconciliation, betrayal, and forgiveness, with a sweet love story woven throughout.
Of Literature and Lattes picks up with Alyssa, the daughter of Janet, who is still bitter and angry over the hurt she experienced from her parent’s breakup.
I appreciate that Reay does not sugarcoat complicated and difficult topics such as betrayal, mental and emotional pain, and family difficulties.
I also appreciate that the love stories are clean, realistic, and do not take precedent over the rest of the story.
While I enjoyed both of these books, I didn’t find them so compelling that I would read them again. The endings left me wanting a little bit more of…something, but I’m not sure what.
All that being said, I would recommend both The Printed Letter Bookshop and Of Literature and Lattes, even if just for all of the literature references, cozy coffeeshop feels, and small town charm. And the covers.
I definitely recommend reading The Printed Letter Bookshop first.
I have several more Katherine Reay books on my nightstand, sparking joy every time I look at their lovely, colorful covers! I’m looking forward to reading those sometime soon.
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