Book Review: Berlin Coffee Shop – Episode One: An Office, An Office by Gerlis Zillgens

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Berlin Coffee Shop (Episode One) by Gerlis Zillgens
Release Date: 4th May 2015
Publisher: Bastei Entertainment
Buy: Kindle
Rating:
5 star

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From a trendy café in central Berlin, the best office in the world, Sandra plies her trade as a seeker. Her customers are people who have lost things, or who want to find something which they believe will bring them happiness – be it Doric columns, an exact replica of a broken urn or even their dead brother’s ashes. With the help of, or occasionally in spite of, her friends, Sandra will go above and beyond the call of duty to bring her customers what they need – often landing herself in hot water in the process. But after arranging the perfect relationship for the most beautiful woman in Berlin, Sandra suddenly realises that her own happiness may have been right within reach the whole time… In between rebuilding an Asterix diorama, getting caught in a hostage situation and the unexpected emotional trauma of meeting a sick goose, will Sandra find time to seek her own happy ending?

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I fell in love with this novella pretty much from the moment I first read the synopsis. It was just one of those books that I wanted to read, with places I wanted to visit and characters I wanted to meet.
I loved lead character Sandra; who works as a seeker and operates from her ‘office’ which is actually a rather delicious-sounding cafe in Berlin, run by serial flirt ‘Captain’. If you’re wondering what exactly a seeker is (no, it’s nothing to do with Quidditch) then it’s someone who will track down literally anything you want. And I mean ANYTHING. Not matter how specific and from what decade – Sandra will be able to find it. Although often her job lands her in more trouble that she bargains for…
We also meet Sandra’s best friend Nils who helps to get her out of more than one or two sticky situations, and Asterix obsessed Claudi who is constantly on Facebook. I LOVED the four lead characters in these novels. Captain was outrageously funny and Nils comes across as a total sweetheart and always seems to be rescuing Sandra from some dilemma or other. The four of them added a great dynamic to the story and the situations they find arising when Sandra’s parents come to visit (and want to see her ‘office’) are snort-worthy. Whilst I had an inkling that this installment of Berlin Coffee Shop might be great I never anticipated it being as genuinely funny as it was. It really made me chuckle and you can’t help but feel for poor Sandra at times as she seems to be digging a deeper and deeper whole for herself…
Then there’s the cliff-hanger of an ending which I was also not expecting. So very funny and also rather exciting at the same time (I won’t say why, but EEEEK!)
The comparisons to the TV show Friends and How I Met You Mother are completely justified and if you’re a fan of either of those shows then chances are you’re probably going to love this. When it comes down to it the story is centering on four friends are they try to navigate the tricky path of life, love and friendship. Simple but a guaranteed winner and with added quirkiness.
I loved everything about Berlin Coffee Shop. The characters, their jobs, the roles that they play within their friendship group. I loved how there are recipes from the coffee shop’s Specials included, I loved how Claudi’s social media updates co-inside with what’s going on with the story. It was just all-round perfect for me, I thoroughly enjoyed it and now can’t wait to dig into Episode Two: Life’s No Walk in the Park

A huge thank you to Sophie at ed pr for sending me Episode One to read and review. 

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Gerlis Zillgens lives in Cologne and works as a freelance writer. She has written a number of novels and short stories for both adults and children, and has been published in ten different languages. She also occasionally appears as a cabaret artist in Germany.

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