ABOUT THE BOOK
Welcome to the café that never sleeps. Day and night Stella’s Café opens its doors for the lonely and the lost, the morning people and the night owls. It is many things to many people but most of all it is a place where life can wait at the door. A place of small kindnesses. A place where anyone can be whoever they want, where everyone is always welcome.
Meet Hannah and Mona: best friends, waitresses, dreamers. They work at Stella’s but they dream of more, of leaving the café behind and making their own way in life.
Come inside and spend twenty-four hours at Stella’s Café; a day when Hannah and Mona’s friendship will be tested, when the community will come together and when lives will be changed…
PUBLISHED BY ORION
I found myself totally captivated by the goings on of the staff and customers of Stella’s, a 24 hour cafe by Liverpool Street Station, that becomes a ‘family’ to those who frequent it, however briefly! There’s a story behind everyone and it was so fascinating to be a ‘people watcher’ with each chapter, while the main story revolves around the 2 waitresses – Hannah and Mona. Best friends and flat mates, who both moved to London with different artistic dreams but their career paths haven’t quite gone to plan, but they still live in hope despite constant disappointment!
They work long shifts so there’s a lot of time for them to reflect on their pasts and to look forward to what they hope, as well as connect with the different characters that they see come into the cafe. There’s Dan who is a student and still coming to terms with the death of his mother, and finding it difficult to ask for help financially. A chance chat with an insomniac writer also in the cafe brings him some hope, and it’s the coming together of people who would never normally meet up that really made this book for me. Everyone is equal in the cafe and it gives people a time to sit, take time out from the world outside and to feel safe over a cuppa or breakfast! There’s also John, the Big Issue seller, a stressed out new mum, an older couple looking forward to a new life together, the city worker losing his job and more – all really different kinds of people who have an interesting story to tell.
It also brilliantly explores the role of female friendships. Mona and Hannah were brought together when sharing a house with other friends, and they instantly hit it off and got a flat together and it is fascinating to see how their friendship evolves over the years, especially with new career opportunities and boyfriends on the scene – how sometimes the things you find most stable and comforting can quickly change in the blink of an eye.
I adored The Lido, and feel just as warmly about The 24 Hour Cafe! The author has a brilliant way of inventing characters and making them so appealing to read about – their different approaches to life and all the problems thrown in their way – and it’s a book I highly recommend!!