Thursday, September 22, 2016

Life After Coffee by Virginia Franken - #review

When globe-trotting coffee buyer, Amy O’Hara, assures her husband—who stays at home to watch the kids—that it is He Who Has it Harder… she doesn’t really believe it. That is, until the day she gets laid off, her husband decides to devote all his waking hours to writing a screenplay, and she discovers she’s actually the world’s most incompetent mother.

Amy’s only possible salvation is to find another high-flying job as quickly as possible, but with the coffee industry imploding around her—and the competing buyers in her field being much hipper prospects—things look pretty dire. Even if Amy does manage to find full-time employment ever again, as her life slowly becomes more and more entwined with her children’s, how will she be able to bear leaving them to travel for weeks on end?

When salvation appears in the form of a movie-mogul ex-boyfriend who wants to employ her husband and rekindle their relationship, Amy starts to find she’s sorely tempted…



Life After Coffee could have turned out to be a much different book if I were Amy.  I mean, if my boss called me back from the airport on my way to an international coffee-buying trip to tell me he had sold the company and that I no longer had a job, or benefits...well, let's just say I would not be happy.

And staying home, taking care of the kids, is not something for which Amy has been trained.  Add to that a talented writer husband who has an ego as big as all outdoors in that he cannot bear the slightest suggestion to change his work...well, he's not pulling home much lettuce at the moment, and refuses to do anything else.

Needless to say, the family finances plummet.  Somebody has to get a job and fast, and it looks like that person will be Amy.  But she's seen life from the other side of the mommy wars and worries about 'leaving her kids'.  So, she tries a home party business.  One of the mothers at her one and only party writes her a check for her total investment if Amy will just pack up and forget she ever heard of the company.

Then a light shines down from the heavens through a break in the clouds.  A (married) ex-boyfriend of Amy's happens to be a big shot movie mogul and offers Amy's husband a job.  If possible, the ex'es ego is even bigger than the husbands, because he exerts undue pressure on Amy to be a fringe benefit of employing her husband.

In fact, none of the featured men in Life After Coffee are particularly stand-up guys.  The ex-boss sells the coffee company, takes a healthy payoff, leaving Amy without a job or a future.  The husband decides to write full-time, having burned most of his Hollywood bridges through a prima-donna past, and still expects Amy to take care of everything at home because she's not working.  The ex-boyfriend is married and pressures Amy into kindling their past relationship.

Despite all the drama, there are some really funny moments in Life After Coffee - like when Amy takes her young children on a job interview.  She has to leave the room to take care of her son, and her daughter as a little 'chat' with the interviewers.  Due to the innocent frankness of children, the interview basically ends with a 'don't call us, we'll call you'.

In the end, Amy comes up with a refreshing and creative ending to her family's story.  Ms. Franken serves up a delicious cup of cappucino in Life After Coffee, full-bodied and aromatic, a delight to the senses.  Women, with or without children, working inside or outside of the home, will nod in recognition of some of the trials in Amy 's life.

And it all goes to prove what I've known from the time I heard the title of this book, there is no Life After Coffee, er, or is that life after Life After Coffee.  Make mine a double shot.



Virginia Franken was born and raised in Medway, Kent, the place where Henry the 8th sent his wives on holiday in the hope that they’d be eaten alive by mosquitoes and save him the trouble of beheading them. Most her childhood was spent wearing a dance leotard and tights, and at age 11 she attended the (sort of) prestigious dance school The Arts Education School, Tring, where she spent her teen years trying to do pique turns in a straight line and getting drunk in the village. (The inability to do the former possibly informed by too much opportunity to do the latter).

After graduating from The University of Roehampton, she worked on cruise liners as a professional dancer before deciding she’d had enough of wearing diamanté g-strings for a living and somehow managed to bag a job in book publishing.  Getting fed up of having to choose between paying the rent or buying groceries, she eventually moved from London to Los Angeles where life was affordable and every time she opened her mouth she got to act all surprised and flattered when someone said they liked her accent. She then spent years trying to convince everyone else that it was them who had the accent, but this was never met with anything more emphatic than a polite, “Is that so…”

These days she lives in Monrovia, near to Pasadena, with two kids, a dog, one ever-lasting goldfish and her bearded lover, in a house that’s just a little bit too small to fit everyone in quite comfortably. She gets most of her writing done when she should be sleeping. LIFE AFTER COFFEE is her first novel. If enough people buy a copy, there’s a good chance she’ll write another…


Click on the button to go to the tour page, where you will find links to numerous reviews of this title.  You can also find out how to become a blog host for future book tours!

(Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers via TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.)

1 comment:

  1. I don't drink coffee but I might have to take it up in order to keep up with this wild ride of a story!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.