Serena and Ava have their own reasons for loving The Book Nook, the tiny workshop/café that provides a library in the form of a book exchange to customers, grateful for it in the small town a bus journey from Cork in Ireland. For Serena it’s her retreat from tragedy, the mysterious disappearance of the man whose child she miscarried and, one blustery autumn morning, a man she sees when she walks her dog on the beach, who apparently walks into the icy sea to his death. Her friend Ava visits often, escaping her city life with domineering husband, Richard, who insists on being the bread-winner and expects her to do nothing but wait on him, when her desire is to help those in need.
These two characters, and many others, are brilliantly drawn, and the story gripping, but there is much more to this book than appears at first. A girl whose father vanished from her life a year previously asks Serena to display a photograph of him. Serena does so, but tells Ava she will cast a spell to bring the girl luck with her quest. Is Serena really a white witch, or slightly insane with grief? If she does have magic powers, can she use them to find her own lost love? Can she help Ava to to find true happiness and if she does try, will it be as a normal friend or… read “Soup” and see, but do read it.