The Enchanted Garden Cafe
Book Review,  Foodies Read,  Reading

The Enchanted Garden Cafe

The Enchanted Garden CafeThe Enchanted Garden Cafe (South Side Stories Book 1) by Abigail Drake
on May 1, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Magical Realism
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Setting: Philadelphia

For her sixth birthday, Fiona Campbell’s mother, Claire, made her a peace sign piñata filled with wishes for a better planet instead of candy. When she got her period, her mother held a womanhood ceremony at their café and invited the neighborhood. On her sixteenth birthday, they celebrated with a drum circle.
Fiona grew up trying to keep the impulsive Claire in check, and their struggling café afloat. She plans to move out, but first must find a way to stop a big corporation from tearing down their business and destroying her mother’s livelihood.
Claire thinks karma will solve their financial and legal problems. Fiona prefers a spreadsheet and a solid business plan. The last thing she has time for is Matthew Monroe, a handsome complication who walks through their door with a guitar on his back and a naughty gleam in his eye. But when disaster strikes, and Fiona’s forced to turn to him for help, will she learn to open her heart and find she can believe in something magical after all?


I was drawn immediately to this story because of the description of a woman spending her life trying to be the grown-up in her mother’s life.

The Enchanted Garden Cafe is the kind of place where there are acoustic music nights in the garden and yoga on Sunday mornings in addition to serving food. If it is hot in the building and Claire decides to have the senior citizens do yoga naked, why should Fiona get so upset? They have bigger issues. A developer is looking to buy the whole street. Businesses that have been there for years are selling. The remainders are looking to Fiona to help find a way to stay in business because she’s the responsible one.

Fiona wants a different life. She has it all planned. She’s close to getting her MBA and she has the perfect boyfriend for her new self. All she has to do her figure out what will happen to her mother and all her neighbors if the cafe closes.

This book set up a community that surrounds this cafe very well. It makes it feel like a very welcoming place that you’d like to hang out in. There is a little bit of romance and a little bit of mystery to the story. The overarching mystery in the book was super easy to see coming a mile away but it still was a fun read.

One Comment

  • Mae

    There seem to be a large number of books about women (or girls) running a cafe and facing business and social challenges. I wonder what the pandemic’s new disasters for these businesses will do to the plots and characters that seem to recur in this type of book. I think this is far from the first one you have reviewed!

    be well… mae at

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