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Coffee Shop Girl by Chris Waddington is a funny, perceptive and heart-wrenching tale, vividly describing the roller coaster of falling in love. Anyone who has ever been in this situation, i.e. most of us, will recognise the agony of the lows and the ecstasy of the incredible highs and the speed of moving from one to the other. Taking place in the few short days before one Christmas, the story tells of Ben, a Post Office counter hand approaching his 50th year, whose real passion in life is writing children's literature, in verse no less. That is, until one afternoon, when working away in his 'office', the local coffee shop in Ulverston, Cumbria, Alessia walks in and, for him, it's love at first sight. Not knowing that Alessia is only in town from London till Christmas Eve settling her late aunt's affairs, Ben redoubles his efforts on his latest book, spending every spare opening hour in Costa (other coffee shops are available), hoping against hope that this vision of beauty will reappear for more than a takeaway drink. His torment is finally ended a few days later, when she takes a seat at his table, the only one available, and strikes up a conversation. Sorry, I should have said his torment now begins. Learning that Alessia is in a loveless marriage, a powerful relationship rapidly develops between them, which tears them both apart. The author cleverly manages to convey extreme eroticism without there being any actual sex. The climax might not be what the reader is expecting or indeed wanting but it's the only one possible for them both. All the characters, even the minor ones with no real bearing on the plot, are relatable but the book, for me, stands out because of the variety of quotes the author uses to introduce and epitomise each chapter. Towards the end, he uses a Jim Steinman lyric from a Meatloaf song and, I would go so far as to suggest, the whole book could be encapsulated in the title of another Meatloaf hit, 'I would do Anything for Love (but I won't do that)'. Drena Irish, A LoveReading Ambassador