Reviews of the 2018-2019 book

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I used to work in a village cafe that used to be full of regulars and I often thought a book on overheard conversations would be very interesting reading. The regulars in my cafe talked about similar issues, often with the same amount of intensity and repetition; that a newcomer would bring a breath of fresh air and a welcome change of topic. So, The Cafe With Five Rooms, was the sort of book I was subconsciously searching for. I absolutely adored the travel stories, the characters themselves were believable, loved the themed room idea, love the food and drink descriptions, love the details about coffee making – although I’m not a coffee drinker Chaelli so my drink of choice would be an Algerian mint tea! Or a glass or two of the Lebanese red wine 😊Maybe with a slice or two of Hungarian cake.

I must admit the politics discussions did bore me … and I was tempted to skip several paragraphs…. not that I disagree or agree with what was said it is just that I just don’t enjoy political discussions either in books, on social media or in coffee rooms!

(NetGalley review)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Chaelli Cattlin, a life long lover of travel and coffee, is the proprietor of a unique cafe, imaginary that is, which he inhabits with five distinct areas each reflecting a favorite coffee house from disparate parts of the world, each supporting a distinct character attracting a distinct clientele. But there are similarities between them. The food and drink, most notably the coffees, represent his experiences in Budapest, Grenada, Cape Town and the others, and the dialogue is what he overhears and participates in as he visits while serving. Thus, he has managed to present a very meta creation in that the participants voice their opinions (strongly) about Brexit (ANTI) and the current U.S. occupant of the white house. These are linked short stories, and some are more compelling than others. Some ring so true as they might be fact, such as the U.K. native who fudges on his visa application in order to spend a bit longer than the allotted time in New York, and gets turned away at the border. As is his partner, although she was more honest in her application. They are treated like terrorists storming the border with duffles packed with AK 47’s and pipebombs rather than the students that they are, and they are from BRITAIN. This is unfiltered view of today’s America by a resident of our closest ally, and I was mortified.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Ever heard the saying ‘if the walls could talk’? Well the walls in a busy cafe surely would have heard everything, and this books brings those conversations together.
UK cafe owner Chaelli Cattlin, documents the discussion, debates, ramblings and musings from his lively cafe, each room inspired by a favourite place he has traveled too.
This book is enjoyable and easy to dip in and out out off, read an entry or two in diarised format. I did feel the conversations kept coming back around and I sometimes felt like I’d already read this in the book before causing a lull. Given it’s length there is going to be some repetition.
Thank you to Net Galley for the advance opportunity to read and review

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

Such a creative concept: fictionalized ongoing conversations by an assortment of regulars frequenting The Café with Five Faces-the author Chaelli Cattlin’s actual bricks and mortar Café in Hebden Bridge, UK. 
There are five rooms in his café, each named for one of Cattlin’s favorite cities visited in his lengthy stays around the world: Granada, Beirut, Cape Town, Budapest, and Hebden Bridge- each designed to appeal to the patrons’ conversational interests with city specific vibes, decor, coffee, tea and victuals.
So begins the storytelling as regulars and others relate and discuss their experiences and opinions on a variety of topics, with heavy emphasis on politics, politicians and relationships, romantic and otherwise.
It was captivating in the beginning, clever, and at times insightful, and the details of coffee and tea making and accompanying foods of the varied cultures were informative. The featured photographs by the author at the end of each chapter were appealing, as was the plus of additional city photographs accessible through a website link. 
It was sometimes hard to maintain interest as the characters’ oddities, relationship frustrations and woes, and back and forth on politics, mostly focused on the UK and USA, began to feel repetitive..
The conversations take place from 2018 to the end of 2019, with an Epilogue referencing the seismic changes in local and world community in real time 2020. 
The book was a fresh and ambitious undertaking, and perhaps The Café with Five Faces will once again open for business.

(NetGalley Review)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars 

I found this book to be very enjoyable! it is such a cozy and light read, i managed to finish it in well under 4 hours and I am not, by any means, a fast reader. I feel like books such as this one are very hit and miss, you can either feel like you are traveling the world with your new friend who is telling you stories, or you may feel very bored. That is the case for all non-fiction books, however, in the case of this book i happened to find that even if someone were to not particularly enjoy the narration, they would still enjoy the ride that this book takes them on.

(NetGalley Review)

Reviews of the 2018 book

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Multicultural expression and awareness is brought to the foreground through The Cafe with Five Faces, which opens a dialogue of cultural difference and similarities. So impactful!

(NetGalley Review)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This felt more like a Wiki-slash-Lonely-Planet with personal stories behind it.
I dropped it like a million times just to Google all the places and cafes mentioned. But hey…visuals…visuals…this book would be so much better with proper beautiful visuals.

It is informative and it reads like a best friend you don’t really know beyond his tales of his worldly explorations.

I think it would make a nice gift to those who love but for some reason can’t travel at this time because it feels like a mini world in a book format. And of course a treasure for coffee lovers – if only the chapters were much shorter and a subway stop read, for example. Then this would almost feel like reading a version of EASY but in a book, not Netflix series.

Thank you Troubador Publishing Limited and Matador for the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Coffee lovers, cafe sitters, travelers and those who find themselves engrossed in eavesdropping on others’ conversations will enjoy this, I think, as much as I did.

(NetGalley Review)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

When I read the summary to this I almost expected to go from conversation to conversation and not feel anything. And maybe I found myself nodding to so many of those conversations specially the bits about politics, football and brexit because I’ve been living in the UK since 2016 (give or take a few months back home). Those are the kind of conversations I have (and have had) with my friends, co-workers, housemates and such whenever we get together go to a pub or wherever.
The story felt honest, just the silly, everyday conversations people have when they get together with their friends to catch up, talk about your life, politics, football and such topics. It made feel part voyeur as if I was sitting there in the corner of those rooms, listening in to these people’s conversations, this strange sense of nostalgia because I want to have a preferred coffee shop too where I can just pop down to, sit, relax for a few hours discussing whatever topic comes to mind. And more importantly, it made me feel the need to find a coffee place with that menu, I’m seriously jealous of all those food choices.

(NetGalley Review)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The Cafe with Five Faces is perfect for people who enjoy and unobtrusive listen in occasionally to the conversation at the next table. A lighthearted read but bringing in all sort of topics to travel and todays political situation in a very readable way. It’s all centred around the rooms in the coffee shop. I loved it, a good read!!

(NetGalley Review)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars:

This cozy little book was just what I was looking for. It has amazing cultural aspects and views, world cuisine and coffee culture, casual yet provocative conversations and last but not least a multi-cultural, know-it-all cafe owner with great insights about food and drinks, who also has a level of nonchalance I wish to have in life.
I guess the reason why I really like this book is that I travel like a gourmet, devouring every local savory I can find, eating and drinking my way around cities. The rooms of this cafe are inspired by five cities, which have left a unique impression on the author in terms of food, drinks and culture. I wish the menu was added to the book as well, I got really curious about it while reading and picturing the rooms in my mind. When I add this to a quaint selection of customers conversing about politics, football, relationships, environment, disillusionments while eating mouth-watering cakes accompanied by coffee, tea or wine usually recommended by the author/waiter/owner himself. This was quite a delicious reading experience for me and it is recommended especially for foodies.

(NetGalley Review)

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars:

A cafe in England a cafe of five rooms. Each room filled with friends neighbors full of talk gossip the usual topics. Welcome to this cafe a lovely place to enter a wonderful read you will turn the pages enter each room make friends join their world. Highly recommend looking forward to reading more by this author.

Amazon review.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Touching book about the lives which intersect at a cafe. Interesting read and sentimental at times. A book I want to read while sitting with a cozy blanket and a cup of tea. This is a book of stories and observations about a cafe. Makes you feel sentimental for friends and people you know well.

(NetGalley review)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This was a good read. Nothing spectacularly unique, but I love how the stories focused on the everyday routines of normal people.

(NetGalley review)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

A lovely book, a book that draws you into people’s lives conversations sitting in a cafe gossiping discussing current events life.A really wonderful group of people I highly recommend this well written engaging novel.

(NetGalley review)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This book was delightful. None of the stories are particularly sensational or groundbreaking – it is more the inane musings of everyday people and the silly conversations you have with friends when you get together and catch up. You talk about family, friends, politics, football, food, travels. At the end of the book you’re left with strong feelings of nostalgia, a need to pop down to your local to catch up with all the community characters and a severe case of travel envy and wanderlust. I’m still trying to find the location of this Cafe so I can go and visit if I ever find myself in that part of the world (because the menus sound delicious and amazing!)

Recommended for rainy day reading when you’re in the mood to people watch.

(NetGalley review)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I can understand why many would love this book, however it was just too basic and simple for me. Please don’t think I’m bashing it, it was enjoyable and it’s more me than the book, as this really wasn’t my cup of tea.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

The Cafe with Five Faces by Chaelli is the type of book I usually love, casual reflections on community, life, and what brings these together. But the voice of the narrator/author just grated on me. I’m sure he is as wonderful as he portrays himself but I would choose almost any other cafe if I were in the area.

Having stated my personal annoyance with authorial voice, I do see how many will enjoy this book. Again, by description, this sounded like one I would love. The little episodes, for lack of a better term, were in content fairly interesting. Overhearing and sometimes taking part in conversations in cafes and coffeehouses around the world is something I have always enjoyed, getting a feel for the people and the communities off the beaten path. So that aspect of the book was good. Again, it was the person telling the stories, not the stories themselves, that I found off putting.

I probably would recommend this to some people I know but I would stop short of making a blanket recommendation. If you can read an excerpt, do so before buying. The issue I have with his voice is not an actual negative against him, or against me, but my opinion of the reader/writer dynamic from my perspective, so should be understood as such.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

A sweet, well-written book about a period I’m always interested in. It had flavors of Kate Atkinson, so her fans might enjoy this one.

(NetGalley review)