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R J Gould – A Street Café Named Desire

Book Cover

Marlon Brando’s over for coffee.

Publisher: Accent Press
Pages: 291
Type: Fiction
Age: Adult
ISBN: 978-1-783-75257-7
First Published: 22nd December 2014
Date Reviewed: 17th August 2015
Rating: 3.5/5

When his wife Jane springs a divorce request on him, David is lost, but not for long. The school reunion he attended, at which he realised bullies will always be bullies and people change beyond recognition, led him to meet Bridget for the first/second time and they got along rather well.

A Street Café Named Desire is an oft-funny book, and a romance told from a male perspective, that has a lot going for it but doesn’t quite reach its potential.

Gould has a way of writing that can pull you in when you’re sitting somewhere noisy. His writing style is comfortable, the humour a mix of straight-forward and subtle – guaranteed to put a smile on your face – and the characters steeped in reality. David is very British, just an average chap trying to live his life which he was doing well until his narcissistic wife told him she was having an affair. He may not be the most thrilling of people but that’s part of the point – he shouldn’t have to be – and regardless, he’s very likeable.

The humour is all British and, if you’re British or know a lot about the Isles, you’ll ‘get’ it. Mishaps, children old enough to know what’s going on, orange paint that isn’t orange actually. The humour is never forced, it rolls out naturally.

The first half of the book is super. The plotting is good, the characterisation works well, and the way Gould has written the children is just great. Rachel in particular isn’t ready to let her mother get away with running off with a friend; in many ways Rachel takes on what David ‘should’ have been doing, getting angry on both her own and her father’s behalf and refusing to see her mother. It is a good part of the story because it shows both the difference between David’s relatively passive behaviour and his daughter’s assertiveness, whilst also delving into the teenager’s hurt and therefore the way the wronged parent has to comfort others whilst they themselves are in pain.

Bridget, too, is a fine character, and matches David’s contentedness with vividly-coloured passion. The attraction between them is something Gould shows brilliantly and Bridget’s no-nonsense responses to David’s worries read as true.

The issue, then, comes in the second half. Whereas the first half is rather excellent, the second half is full of info-dumps and minor, two-line, characters who are given lengthy backgrounds. It slows the story, which gets lost in amongst the detailing, and gives you a lot of information about people and situations there is no need to know anything about. Secondary characters, too, have sections given to them that don’t have much or any baring on the plot at hand.

A Street Café Named Desire is fun, true to life, and promising. It’s a fair read, and worth it, but needed more editing.

I received this book for review from the author, who I’ve met.

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Belle Wong

September 5, 2015, 9:53 pm

This sounds like a fun read. Love the title!

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