Saturday, July 28, 2018

Review: The Late Bloomers' Club by Louise Miller

The Late Bloomers' Club
by Louise Miller
Release Date: July 17th 2018
2018 Pamela Dorman Books
Kindle Edition; 336 Pages
ISBN: 978-1101981238
Genre: Fiction / Contemporary
Source: Review copy from publisher

4 / 5 Stars

Nora, the owner of the Miss Guthrie diner, is perfectly happy serving up apple cider donuts, coffee, and eggs-any-way-you-like-em to her regulars, and she takes great pleasure in knowing exactly what's "the usual." But her life is soon shaken when she discovers she and her younger, free-spirited sister Kit stand to inherit the home and land of the town's beloved cake lady, Peggy Johnson.

Kit, an aspiring--and broke--filmmaker needs to generate funding for her latest project, and is particularly keen when they find out Peggy was in the process of selling the land to a big-box developer before her death. The people of Guthrie are divided--some want the opportunities the development will bring, while others are staunchly against any change--and they aren't afraid to leave their opinions with their tips.

When a disaster strikes the diner, the community of Guthrie bands together to help her, and Nora discovers that doing the right thing doesn't always mean giving up your dreams.

The Late Bloomers' Club is one of those books that is perfect for the beach; you just sit back and enjoy the characters and what is going on without having to think too deeply about the events or the ramifications about what you are reading.  Set in the same town as her previous book The City Baker's Guide to Country Living, it was nice to revisit some of the same characters. This one focuses on the owner of Miss Guthrie's Diner, Nora Huckleberry and her sister, Kit, as they struggle with an unexpected inheritance and how it could affect the town and themselves.

I will admit that I did struggle between rating this book 3.5 stars or 4 stars as so much of the book was devoted to finding a lost dog that some of the plot kind of got lost.  I felt like the author was trying to add a bit of sentimentality as well as trying to find a way for Nora and Elliot to have something in common to spark a bit of romance, which I don't really think was needed. Don't get me wrong, the dog story line was cute, but I don't feel it was necessary and for me, it felt like too much of a distraction. There was enough going on that it actually wasn't needed.  I did find the interactions between the town members interesting and I liked how they gave their opinions on what should be done in different ways.  So many people would benefit from a decision to build, while so many people would be destroyed by such a decision.  It was interesting to see who was on what side and why, and it was not always for the reasons you would think.

Guthrie is one of those towns that just seems too good to be true; you know, the type of place where everyone helps everyone else out all of the time and really cares for everyone.  Because of this, it just doesn't feel right as towns typically do have a lot more conflict than this.  I also expected a lot more conflict between Nora and Kit, but really, there was...none.  Personally, I felt like this was a book about Nora and the choices she made in her life that prevented her from achieving her dream of becoming an artist in order to look after her father after her mother died.  While her internal conflict was interesting, that's all it was, internal.  That meant that while the other characters were interesting, they were not quirky or fascinating, like you'd expect in a small town like this so I was somewhat disappointed about this. I did really like the town though and loved all of the descriptions of small town life, like the festivals and community gatherings.  What I really did like was the description of the cake lady as she was quirky and seemed like she would have been a fascinating character.  

The Late Bloomers' Club is a fun, light read with relatable characters. I liked the fact the main character was older, but still struggling with the question of what she should be doing with her life, like a lot of us.  And it did bug me a little that it was never explained why the cake lady left her property to Nora and Kit, just kind of glossed over as if the reader would just accept that it was a done deal.  While the novel is very charming, with a lot of quaint happenings and events, the ending was too simple for me, too easily explained - life just isn't that easy.  That being said, the novel is charming and fun.  If you are someone looking for drama, this is probably not the book for you, but if you are looking for a light beach read, then I do recommend it for sure.