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Summer at the Art Cafe

Published Date: May 15, 2018

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Out now!
Art Cafe Series

288 pages


From watercolours and cupcakes to leather jackets and freedom …

If you won a gorgeous purple motorbike, and your domineering husband said you were too fat for leathers and should sell it, would you do as you were told – or learn to ride it in secret?

Artist and café owner Lucy Daumier intends to do just that – but learning to ride is far from easy, especially under the critical eye of prickly motorcycle instructor, Ash Connor.

But gradually Lucy gets the hang of it, and in the process re-discovers the girl she used to be. So starts an exciting summer of new friendships and fun – as well as a realisation that there is more to Ash than meets the eye when she is introduced to his seven-year-old daughter, Daisy.

But can Lucy’s new-found happiness last when a spiteful family member wants to see her fail?

Book 1 – Art Café series. Book 2 – Meet Me at the Art Café.  Book 3 – Escape to the Art Café.

Available as an eBook & audiobook on all platforms. Available in paperback from all good bookshops and online stores. 

Sue McDonagh

Sue McDonagh’s career as a policewoman for Essex Police was cut short when she was diagnosed at the age of twenty-four with ovarian cancer. After a successful recovery and a stint working as a Press Officer she moved to Wales.

In Wales her love of art evolved into a full-time occupation and she made a living teaching and sketching portraits at shows. In 2014 she was a regional finalist for the Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year. She now works exclusively to commissions from her art gallery.

In 2009 she learned to ride a motorbike, and now helps run Curvy Riders, a national, women only, motorbike club. Her joy of motorbikes and her love of writing inspired her to write the Art Café series.
Sue, granny of two little girls and proud mum of two stepsons, lives a mile from the sea in Wales. She can often be found with her border terrier, Scribbles, at her art gallery. Scribble thinks the customers only come in to see him. Sometimes, Sue thinks that too.

When she’s not painting, she’s writing or on her motorbike. She belongs to a local writing group and the Romantic Novelist’s Association.
Summer at the Art Café is Sue’s debut novel and the first in her Art Café series.

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See all Sue’s novels here …

Customer Reviews


  1. Sally
    Sally at

    What a great book. I loved the story & couldn’t put it down. I discovered at the end Sue was a Police Officer & as I’ve just retired from the force thought it was great she had produced a lovely story. A fabulous summer girly read. Well done Sue. I’m going to buy Meet me at the Art Cafe.

  2. Luise Pirie
    Luise Pirie at

    This is a wonderfully written story that captures your mind and heart.  Sue creates characters that come to life and take you along with them on their journey through the Welsh landscape.  I was totally submerged into Lucy’s world and her journey to fully licensed motorbike rider.

    As a fellow lady biker, ex military and police staff, I devoured this story in two sittings.  All characters and their relationships are believable and I really feel like I know them and could be in a similar circle of friends.  I could not put this down and have downloaded the next book only a few hours after finishing this one as I am eager to experience more of Sue’s wonderful writing.

    I would love to enthuse over the story but do not want to spoil it for future readers, suffice as to say I am completely smitten!  This story will captivate and warm you on a cold winters night or whisk you through a summer’s evening too – perfect for anytime you need to escape, it’s superb!

  3. Louise Bartle
    Louise Bartle at

    Loved this story about a woman finding the courage to change her life and get rid of all the negativity. The book gripped me from the first page and I didn’t want to put it down! Lucy’s decision to take charge of her life set her on the road to an amazing change, with a few bumps along the way.

  4. Debbie Southwell
    Debbie Southwell at

    When Lucy wins a motorbike in a prize raffle it’s the start of a new adventure for Lucy, one that involves her learning to ride the motorbike she won for a start.
    In the process she realises that she shouldn’t have to take all the spiteful comments from her Husband and that she can do things she wouldn’t have had the confidence to do.
    I found the characters very believable and hated some of them as much as I loved others. I found myself really rooting for Lucy to gain confidence in herself and have her happy ever after.
    The writing was so descriptive that I could easily picture the characters and the cakes and the wonderful paintings and at times felt I was there with Lucy learning to ride.
    A wonderful debut novel in my opinion and well worth a read.
    Thanks to Choc-Lit for providing me with a review copy of this book in return for an honest review which is completely my own opinion.

  5. This is about Lucy, a happily married artist who also runs the local cafe with Richard, oh and she is terrible at making coffee! ☕

    She buys a raffle ticket for the local fundraising evening and ends up winning a purple motorbike. She has no idea what to do and has never rode a bike in her life. Nicola (Richard’s wife) is an avid biker and persuades her to take some lessons.

    She takes the plunge and books a lesson.

    On the day, Lucy arrives at Better Biking to be shouted at by a very rude man ….. this could be because she manages to knock over one of the school bikes before she’s even got out of the car. Lots of falling off bikes, horizontal parking, laughter and tears follow and she soon gets the buzz for riding. But is it the buzz of riding or the attraction of Ash…..

    Lucy’s husband makes fun of her and never seems to be around, so she hides the fact she is learning to ride and relishes that secret.

    Ash, the Bike instructor, has a little girl Daisy and has a fantastic support network for looking after her. (He can also at a moment’s notice name all Disney Princesses and belt out Taylor Swift’s …. I Knew You Were Trouble .)

    This amazing story unfolds into an incredible read and you’re never quite sure what’s going to happen next.

    Fun * Uplifting * Motorbikes * Familiy * Friends * Coffee * Cakes * Support * Love
    * Romance

  6. Bjtraveller
    Bjtraveller at

    This is a book that will really grip you from page one. Whether you are into motor bikes or not it is a great read. The idea of winning a super, purple motorbike gets Lucy buying draw tickets and she is thrilled to be the very lucky winner. That is until her husband has his say. How she deals with him, her Art Cafe, learning to ride and a new friend keep you enthralled all the way through. The details of the process of the driving course are well written but so is the romance. Wow, something for everyone in this book. You never know, it might even tempt you into getting your own steed!

  7. Yvonne Greene
    Yvonne Greene at

    This is such a fun story, yet also emotional. Lucy wins a purple motorbike. How will that change her life especially when her husband wants her to sell it! Throw in an unusual motorbike instructor, the cutest kid. Great friends and even chickens in sweaters and you have possibly the best book of the year! Loved it

  8. Gill L.
    Gill L. at

    Our heroine is Lucy – an arty, sensitive soul whose self esteem has taken a battering from her controlling husband. Until she wins a motor bike and decides to learn to ride it, thus starting to rediscover her backbone. Enter Ash – policeman in his ‘proper’ job, but bike instructor for pleasure. He has a tragic history, a 7 year old daughter, and a disturbed sister-in-law.

    I loved this book – the story flowed easily and kept me interested. Lucy is very likeable, and Ash – well, he’s a man so needs a tiny bit of work! A lot of the action is set in a cafe – which left me craving cake, but that’s not unusual really.

    All in all, a very pleasant, easy read with no lurking horrors, explicit sex descriptions or unresolved issues – just my cup of coffee! (Don’t like tea!)

  9. Janine
    Janine at

    Every now and again a book comes along that you just can’t wait to pick up, well this was one of those for me.

    There is so much to this story, not just an average romance but domestic abuse, grief, family rivarly/dynamics, all centered around a gorgeous coastal town and in particular, the art cafe owned by Lucy.
    I loved Lucy, the ‘heroine’ of the story, she was an enpowering woman who despite an abusive husband and a few knock backs, carried on through with her ambition of learning to pass her test on her shiny new motorbike that she won in a competition, under the instruction of the hunky Ash.
    There were a lot of ups and downs but I loved how Lucy was determined to not accept second best anymore and put herself first, a lesson for us all!

    There are lots of interesting characters interwovan in this book too that could make this a fantastic series, one I will certainly be looking out for !
    This will certainly stay on my kindle which is not something I say often 🙂

  10. Ruth
    Ruth at

    Lucy only bought a raffle ticket because the proceeds were going to a good cause and was astonished to discover she’d won the first prize of a large shiny purple motorcycle. When her bullying husband tells her to sell it, Lucy decides, just for once, to do something for herself. She keeps the bike and enrols in a motorcycle riding training course. Arriving late for her first lesson, and in her haste to park her car, she knocks over a school bike right in front of her new driving instructor, Ash. Running her successful art cafe business, making new friends and learning to ride her bike, Lucy regains her confidence, becomes fitter and discovers that Ash is not as grumpy as she initially thought. This is incredibly well written, the author’s storytelling ability kept me laughing and entertained to the very end.

  11. Els Ebraert
    Els Ebraert at

    Motorbikes and cakes, two things I like very much as well. So when they were combined in a story, it had to be a good one.
    I loved the way Lucy, bit by bit, changed her life and put herself first for a change. She showed, that if you are determined enough, you can reach your goal.
    Love seems to be in the picture again as well, but the road is bumpy and it looks like it is taking a wrong turn. Can everything be turned around or …?
    A lovely summerread with ups and downs, funny bits and sad ones, love and bitchyness. These are all ingredients that will keep to glued to your seat.

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