Books Reviews

The Quaker Café

Summary: When Liz Hoole, a free-spirited liberal from the Midwest, marries into a conservative Quaker family, she knows that raising children in compliance with Quaker values will be challenging. Twenty-five years later, she still feels like she’s falling short of expectations. Fortunately, her faith and her friends in the small, rural North Carolina town of Cedar Branch keep her strong.
After her best friend’s politically powerful father dies, Liz stumbles upon secrets from the past that threaten to unravel the current harmony in Cedar Branch, a town with a history of racial tension. As she researches more and eavesdrops on gossip at the Quaker Café, where everyone meets each morning, Liz soon discovers the truth about an injustice that she cannot reveal to anyone—not even her husband.
Surrounded by a cast of richly drawn Southern characters, Liz learns that even good people can make bad choices. Now, she must decide whether she has the strength to bring a past wrong to light, despite the consequences.

My thoughts: This book is not a thesis on the South, the racial relations in the US, or on the Quaker culture. So it is best not to expect great discussions on any of that from it.
The author, Brenda Bevan Remmes, tells the story of a woman, her family, her friends, and the events that affect the community she lives in. It is realistic in that the story can easily take place in any other part of the world. For example, Liz could be any woman who marries into a family with a religion/culture different from hers and tries to understand and accept their beliefs or vice versa. Similarly Maggie could be the daughter of a landowner/politician of a village, whose family has mistreated an underprivileged family of the same village. These conflicts or this confusion and how Liz deals with it, which is described so well in the book, are universal.
Some parts of the first half of the book had me laughing; I cried reading some of the second half. I enjoyed the story so much.
I disliked that Maggie dies without knowing what all others in the community come to know but I respect the author’s decision to let it be so.
I am in two minds about the name The Quaker Café because although many important events happen there, it is not so central to the real story of the novel. However, I have to admit that I chose to read this book from my long TBR list because of the name. ‘Diner’, ‘Cafe’, or any word related to food is quick to catch my attention!

Note: I received a copy from Lake Union Publishing in exchange for a honest review. I thank them for that.

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