I bought The 24-Hour Cafe by Libby Page ages ago and held onto it until the summer, when I find it easier to read lighter books. I bought it because I loved The Lido by Libby Page, and also because I had to order a school book for my daughter from Amazon and needed to buy something to make up the money for free postage. (Generally, I don’t buy stuff from Amazon.)
The 24-Hour Cafe is the sweet story of best friends Hannah and Mona. The two women live together and both work at Stella’s, a 24-hour cafe. But they both dream of a better life.
The story takes place over the course of a single 24-hour day, with lots of flashbacks to Hannah and Mona’s past life. Hannah takes the first 12-hour shift, narrating the first half of the book, and Mona takes the second 12-hour shift, narrating the second half of the book. Each chapter of the book is a single hour and the chapters also include glimpses into the lives of some of the customers, many of which are very moving.
The action takes place on a pivotal day in the lives of Hannah and Mona. After years of working together in the cafe, everything is about to change. But can their previously unbreakable friendship survive?
The 24-Hour Cafe isn’t a great work of literature, but it is a moving and enjoyable read about ambition, the importance of female friendship and the feeling that life is leaving you behind. It reminded me a little bit of The Switch by Beth O’Leary, which I read earlier this year.
Is The 24-Hour Cafe as good as The Lido? No. But is it still worth reading? Yes.
If you’re looking for a moving and gentle read, I could definitely recommend The 24-Hour Cafe.