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The Restaurant by Roisin Meaney

Writing.ie | Book Reviews | Women’s Fiction

By Swirl and Thread

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The Restaurant is the latest novel from bestselling author Roisin Meaney and is published with Hachette Ireland. Described as ‘the sparkling new novel about finding happiness in unexpected places’, The Restaurant is a book I would describe as a warm hug. Reading Roisin Meaney’s writing brings a glow to your heart. It is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face and is really the perfect antidote to the chaos that exists in today’s world.

Emily Feeney had it all planned out. She had a job that paid the bills, plenty of friends, a relationship of sorts with her parents (who had moved to Portugal) and a man she loved. It was to be her special day, her wedding day, the day little girls dream of, but for Emily it was a day to end in sorrow, one that would change the course of her life. With all the guests in the church waiting and Emily arriving in the car, it is soon clear that no groom will be making an appearance. Emily is left distraught, picking up the pieces of a life that has been shattered. Fergal has apparently packed his bags and moved to Canada, with nothing but a note under a doorway to let Emily know.

Emily makes the decision to park love and to immerse herself in a new business idea, one that brings passion back into her life, but not of the heart kind. Emily turns to food and her passion to bring new taste sensations to her local town. With her grandmother bequeathing her a premises with upper living accommodation and a small shop front, Emily is inspired to open a restaurant with a difference and The Food of Love is born.

One table with fourteen chairs, a place with single diners in mind where they can choose to dine in company. Emily realises that this concept is not to everybody’s taste and, in the opening days, she has many doubts. But as the weeks pass, Emily’s restaurant becomes a safe haven for many and a curiosity for others. Emily attracts folk due to her caring and gentle personality. She listens and she knows when to just be there with a warm bowl of soup, a delicious slice of some luscious cake and an invitation to just be yourself.

The Food of Love begins as a business but it soon becomes more than that. Emily invests her whole being into the running of the place every day. She prepares the dishes with love and with a hope that her restaurant, though small, offers respite for those in need of comfort and company. Emily becomes a valued member of the town but when Fergal makes an unexpected appearance, Emily is thrown. He has caused her great pain but is she willing to forgive him? Is she willing to let him back into her life? Is she prepared to give up all that she has built?

Roisin Meaney has created the most gorgeous characters in The Restaurant. As each of their back stories is revealed I was left with tears in my eyes. Their personalities lift off the page with their heartache palpable in every word. I warmed to every single one of them, but it was Astrid who stole my heart. The fear, the pure terror of her early years and the bravery and courage she showed is beautifully captured by Roisin Meaney. I would actually love to read Astrid’s full story as an offshoot of The Restaurant and, now that I’m saying it here, I would actually love to see many of the characters developed further on their own stage. They each have individual stories to tell that I would really like/hope to see elaborated *she hints*

In creating The Food of Love, Emily Feeney becomes a catalyst for change among a community that needed something special. Roisin Meaney explores the impact that a listening ear, a friend can have on the mindset of a person. She skillfully handles many themes including loneliness, drug abuse, physical abuse, mental health, old-age, parenting and much more.

The Restaurant is a beautifully crafted story knitting together the lives of the four main characters. The development of relationships and friendships, the uncovering of past histories, the secrets that people keep are all wonderfully interwoven creating a gorgeous tale that will delight, charm and captivate the reader.

Lose yourself in The Restaurant, a heartwarming read that is guaranteed to uplift and cast a warm glow, perfect for these troubled times.

(c) Swirl and Thread

Order your copy online here.

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