Friday 30 January 2015

** BLOG TOUR ** Campari For Breakfast by Sara Crowe

In 1987, Sue Bowl's world changes for ever. Her mother dies, leaving her feeling like she’s lost a vital part of herself. And then her father shacks up with an awful man-eater called Ivana.
But Sue’s mother always told her to make the most of what she’s got – and what she’s got is a love of writing and some eccentric relatives. So Sue moves to her Aunt Coral’s crumbling ancestral home, where she fully intends to write a book and fall in love . . . and perhaps drink Campari for breakfast

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Campari for Breakfast by Sara Crowe.

Campari for Breakfast is published on 29 January 2015, in paperback, by Black Swan (Transworld), and is the author's debut novel.

Seventeen-year-old Sue Bowl has gone to live with her Aunt Coral at Green Place, the family's ancestral home. Sue's mother Buddleia died recently, her father has taken up with a new woman, Ivana and Sue hates her. Aunt Coral's invitation is perfect, she will make the best of what she has, just as her mother always urged her to.

Campari for Breakfast is told through Sue's diary entries, in her own slightly quirky, and often muddled words. Interspersed between Sue's words are extracts from Aunt Coral's Commonplace Back; a diary come scrapbook that Coral has been keeping for many years.

There are many things to love about Campari for Breakfast including Sue, her Aunt and the delightful cast of characters that surround them. Although at times they do verge on the stereotypical, there is no doubt that they are colourful bunch who keep the reader entertained throughout the story.

Sue is a writer and forms her own writing group made up of the most eclectic and eccentric of characters. She also starts work in a cafe, and experiences her first romance, and her first heartbreak.

Overall, this story is charming, and a little bit mad, although there are a couple of things that I had to question. Sue's story is set in the 1980s, and if I hadn't known the date, I would have placed it in the 1950s or, at a push the 60s.  There are none of the trappings of the 80s in the story, Sue doesn't act like a teenager of that era at all. The other issue that I had during the first chapter or so was what I thought were typos in the print. Sue muddles up her words and phrases, when she speaks and when she writes and these are replicated in her diary entries. Once the reader realises that these are not mistakes, then all is fine, it just takes a while to realise that these malapropisms are a huge part of Sue's character.

Sue is a hopeful, optimistic character who deals with everything that is flung at her with humour that is quite touching.

Campari for Breakfast is a book that is easily devoured within a couple of sittings. The characters are eccentric, original and endearing.

Sara Crowe is an actress who has worked on television, stage and film, including the iconic Four Weddings and a Funeral. She has won the Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress, the Variety Club Best Actress Award and the London Critics Circle Theatre Award for Most Promising Newcomer. Sarah's West End appearances include Private Lives, Calendar Girls and Bedroom Farce. She has also toured with The Constant Wife and A Woman of No Importance, and appeared in The City Madam at the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Sara lives in Surrey with her dog Nelly, working on theatre projects and dreaming up the world of Sue and Green Place, Campari for Breakfast is her first novel.

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