Epeolatry Book Review: At the Coffee Shop of Curiosities by Heather Webber


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Title: At the Coffee Shop of Curiosities

Author: Heather Webber

Genre: Magical Realism

Publisher: MacMillan Publishers

Publication Date: 1st August 2023

Page count: 320

Synopsis: A mysterious letter. An offer taken. And the chance to move forward.

When Ava Harrison receives a letter containing an unusual job listing one month after the sudden death of her ex-boyfriend, she thinks she’s being haunted. The listing—a job as a live-in caretaker for a peculiar old man and his cranky cat in Driftwood, Alabama—is the perfect chance to start a new life. A normal life. Ava has always been too fearful to even travel, so no one’s more surprised than she is when she throws caution to the wind and drives to the distant beachside town.

On the surface, Maggie Mae Brightwell is a bundle of energy as she runs Magpie’s, Driftwood’s coffee and curiosity shop, where there’s magic to be found in pairing the old with the new. But lurking under her cheerful exterior is a painful truth—keeping busy is the best way to distract herself from the lingering loss of her mama and her worries about her aging father. No one knows better than she does that you can’t pour from an empty cup, but holding on to the past is the only thing keeping the hope alive that her mama will return home one day.

Ava and Maggie soon find they’re kindred spirits, as they’re both haunted—not by spirits, but by regret. Both must learn to let go of the past to move on—because sometimes the waves of change bring you to the place where you most belong.

Ava is a young girl lost in the sad circumstances of her life. Overly protected since childhood by her well-meaning parents, she’s stuck in a comfortable rut and is struggling with the unexpected death of her ex-boyfriend. When a paper clipping of a job advertisement promising new life as a caretaker for an elderly man in Driftwood, a beach town far away, magically appears Ava thinks it is a sign from her deceased ex. She packs up to interview for the job, before she can second guess it and stop herself.

Meanwhile, Maggie, the daughter of the elderly man in question, runs the very popular Magpies coffee shop and is dealing with issues of her own. Mainly, a father who stubbornly refuses to admit that his health is declining. Maggie is slowly getting in over her head and needs help, but, just like her father, she won’t ask for it. And she was not expecting Ava. At all. 

Ava and Maggie’s worlds collide in a wonderful way that will teach these comfortably sheltered young women a thing or three about life, love, grief, and the deliciously unexpected. The townsfolk are a delightful part of the story, and though it takes a while to pick up the pace, once it gets moving, it is a heartwarming read. 

Webber is a wonderful writer and is truly gifted with her words. Her ability to captivate her readers is evident from the first page. Her words, and flow, are easy and enjoyable to follow, and the description she gives to every story detail, no matter how small, is flawless. 

At the Coffee Shop of Curiosities is a delightful book of mystery, starting anew, and yes, a little romance (but not too much). It’s the perfect ‘lose yourself in this book’ you didn’t know you needed.


Available from Amazon and Bookshop.

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