Book Review: "Sweet Caroline" by Rachel Hauck

Life hasn't always been so sweet for Caroline Sweeny.

She's sacrifice her desires for others--unlike her mother who abandoned their family years ago. But when a friend challenges her to accept an exciting job adventure in Spain, Caroline says "yes" to a new destiny.

But before she can pack her bags, Caroline suddenly finds herself the new owner of the run-down Frogmore Cafe--and forced to choose between her friends and her future.

Then her first love, Mitch O'Neal, returns home and encourages her to seek God's desires for her future. With his help, she may just discover the true sweet life.

Yes, it is almost impossible to read this book without having that Neil Diamond song in your head. Believe me, I had it on repeat in my head for at least the first 10 chapters. Caroline Sweeney fits her namesake song however as she tries to do everything to make others happy while giving up her own self in return. Reading about her running back and forth between going to Barcelona and then staying to run the Frogmore Cafe was very dramatic! Just when you thought all decisions were final, things would pop up to make it seem like the wrong choice had been made.

My main worry about the story was that I was afraid that Caroline was going to end up sacrificing herself over and over again. While I know that sometimes it's absolutely necessary to give up your dreams to help others, it bothers me that in Christian fiction this is the ideal life to lead. I didn't want to see Caroline become a pushover or a doormat. Throughout the story, Caroline kept getting ready to move on with her life and then something would happen to hold her back. It was literally like a roller coaster ride with all the ups and downs to see if she would get to her final destination. I don't want to spoil the ending but I was most pleasantly pleased with her final decision.

I don't normally pay attention to chapter titles or headings but I will say that I loved the menu specials that were included in the chapter headings of this book. First off they sounded absolutely delicious. Second, they were so cheap!!! I mean, for less than $9, one could get a main course, side dishes, a drink and dessert! It totally made me wish that the Frogmore Cafe was real so I could go visit and have a good cheap meal with great company.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Caroline's story is really interesting to read and I loved the colorful characters that floated in and out of the story. I also loved reading about the running of a diner and all that yummy food. There is talk about faith throughout the book. For some it may be heavy handed but at least for me, it was what I needed to hear. I'll be looking forward to reading the rest of the books set in Lowcountry.

Sweet Caroline by Rachel Hauck is published by Thomas Nelson (2008)

This review copy was provided by the publisher


  1. I really loved this one. :)

  2. Food provides the perfect place setting for stories. I'm using the same approach on book #5 with quite a different twist.

    Thanks for the review!


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