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  • Writer's pictureLilac Mills

The Second Chance Café in Carlton Square by Lilly Bartlett


One chance isn't always enough…

Everyone expects great things from Emma Billings, but when her future gets derailed by an unexpected turn of events, she realizes that getting back on track means traveling in a different direction.

She finds that new path in the closed-down pub on Carlton Square. Summoning every ounce of ingenuity, and with the help of her friends and family, she opens the Second Chance Café. The charity training business is meant to keep vulnerable kids off the streets and (hopefully) away from the Metropolitan Police, and her new employees are full of ideas, enthusiasm … and trouble. They'll need as much TLC as the customers they’re serving.

This ragtag group of chancers have to make a go of a business they know nothing about, and they do get some expert help from an Italian who's in love with the espresso machine and a professional sandwich whisperer who reads auras, but not everyone is happy to see the café open. Their milk keeps disappearing and someone is canceling the cake orders, but it's when someone commits bloomicide on all their window boxes that Emma realizes things are serious.

Can the café survive when NIMBY neighbors and the rival café owner join forces to close them down? Or will Emma’s dreams fall as flat as the cakes they’re serving?


This gorgeous story brought back memories of playing Raw Deal Top Trumps with my hubby when I was stuck at home with the sick and the poop and he went out to work - both of us insisting we had the worst end of the stick. I totally empathised with Emma and found myself saying, "yep, I know that feeling" every couple of pages.

This is a chicklit with a difference - yes, it features a cafe, yes, it is heartwarming, and yes, there's a nice fuzzy feeling at the end - but this isn't a romance (though I suppose there is a bit of romance as Emma does reconnect with her husband) but this book proves you don't have to have a romantic HEA to have a HEA.

Highly recommended!

Publication date is 23rd July, so grab your copy now.


About the Author

Lilly Bartlett’s cosy romcoms are full of warmth, quirky characters and guaranteed happily-ever-afters. Lilly is the pen-name of Sunday Times and USA Today best-selling author, Michele Gorman, who writes best friend-girl power comedies under her own name.

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