Sequel to the Kabul Coffee Shop series, Return to the Little Coffee Shop Of Kabul by Deborah Rodriguez gives you glimpse into the life of Sunny, Halajan, and the new generation. A generation living away from Kabul, trying to adjust on the another side of the world, a world without bullets and bloodshed. And not just the young ones, the grown ups now need to find a new path towards their life as well.
Book Review: The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul
The protagonist from the previous book, Sunny, is getting off a boat to reach a vineyard at a remote Island, which Jack has left to her in his will. Away from the life of Afghanistan, she now faces the challenge to either dispose of or make something of Screaming Peacock Vineyard. Yazmina, the young mother is now managing Sunny’s cafe in Kabul along with her mother in law, Halajan. But a terrible attack on her family leaves her disturbed and face to face with the reality of her husband, who she thought was moving on the right path, but instead boiling like a chemical from inside. There’s Layla, Yazmina’s sister who was saved from drug lords by Jack, has now been placed in America to study with the help of Candace, but she along with another Afghan girl Kat are trying to make sense of their place in the world.
And then there is Zara, who is about to be forced into a marriage with devastating consequences, even for Halajan’s family. In their respective lives, these women will learn a valuable lesson from Halajan;
When the world as you know it disappears, you find a new way to live.
Initially, there were five, but now there are six women, including Layla who has their fate tied with the Little Coffee Shop of Kabul. The initial book speaks about the ups and downs the women face while trying to settle down in Afghanistan, the second book focuses on their life away from Cafe whilst fighting to understand what their heart truly desires. Sunny, who misses Afghanistan and her own little world of Cafe, now needs to make sense of her life without Jack and a vineyard left to her. Layla and Kat, former one wants to keep a piece of Kabul in heart always and the latter has memories that have torn her heart away from the city and its magical culture. Yazmina, who is trying to manage the cafe and Ahmet, who is dealing with the modernisation of women in his household. And Zara, who doesn’t give up on love, even when she knows that being in love can only mean death in Kabul.
Return to the Little Coffee Shop of Kabul is a book that will keep you engaged to some extent, but then somewhere in between, you might start feeling that the book is a little slow. When I started reading Return to the Little Coffee Shop of Kabu;, I was not happy to know that Jack is not there anymore. I mean I have imagined him the way Sunny saw him and her heart leaped out, so you can understand how it feels when a character you have a fictional crush on is no more.
While you will be eager to know what will happen next, thanks to Zara who maintains this feeling throughout the book, the previous characters of Sunny and Yazmina won’t appeal to you that much. Even Halajan, who was like a neighborhood badass, is a notch down in the story. Return to the Little Coffee Shop of Kabul could have definitely used some more twists and turns, but what I read was not that half bad. Also, if you think that reading the first book is important to understand the story, do not worry. Rodriguez has made sure to cover important areas and has not left the reader in the dark.
All in all, Return to The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul is something that can be definitely your next light-read.