Book Review: Second Helpings at the Serve You Right Cafe by Tilia Klebenov Jacobs

Second Helpings at the Serve You Right CafeSecond Helpings at the Serve You Right Cafe
Tilia Klebenov Jacobs
Linden Tree Press, April 2015
ISBN 978-0-9898601-6-1
Trade Paperback

From the publisher—

What if the world didn’t want you to go straight? Out on parole after almost ten years in prison, Emet First is repairing his shattered life. He has friends, a job, and his first date in a decade. The young woman, Mercedes Finch, is lovely but wounded. When her deranged brother learns about Emet’s past, he will stop at nothing to destroy him–and suddenly Emet has everything to lose.

It’s impossible to say what I love most about this book—the characters, the book cover, the setting, the story, the author’s writing—so I’ll say this: Second Helpings at the Serve You Right Cafe is a charming, delightful tale of what I call comfort fiction and the author gave me a few short hours of escape at a time when I really need it. The title is pretty close to perfect also as it alludes to the second chances people sometimes need and there are several characters in this story that do indeed get those second chances. What they do with them is another facet of the tale.

I occasionally have a coffee date with a friend (one of my volunteer reviewers, actually) and I SO wish this cafe was real and existed right here in our town. It’s a wonderful spot for all sorts of people and Eden Rose is the kind of proprietor who can make even a curmudgeon feel welcome. Her willingness to hire an ex-con fits right in with her personality and yet she shouldn’t be mistaken for a patsy. This is a woman who cares about people and takes steps to make their lives better. A case in point is a couple who act as her taste testers, a small part of the story that’s quite endearing.

It’s largely because of Eden Rose’s support of Emet, as well as his own sense of honesty and humility, that gives him the nerve to ask Mercey out on a date and what happens after he tells her the truth about himself is all about whether or not they can make things work. Cheering them on from the sidelines, I thoroughly enjoyed going along for the ride. Thank you, Ms. Jacobs 😉

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, December 2015.