Book Review

The Custard Tart Cafe By The Sea – Isabella May

I am delighted to once again be kicking off the blog tour for a delicious Foodie Romance from Isabella May, as The Custard Tart Cafe By The Sea goes on tour today with Rachel’s Random Resources. Many thanks to Isabella for providing me with a copy of the book, and to Rachel for inviting me to be a part of the tour.


Willow has opened a custard tart cafe at the end of a popular English seaside pier. Her unique and magical spin on the Portuguese pastel de nata has customers queuing outside the door to taste them.

Tiago’s grandparents are purveyors of The Real Deal: authentic custard tarts made in the Algarve region of Portugal, where his family have been lovingly baking them for centuries. When he moves to England for a new job and chances upon Willow’s wondrous wares, he is out for war. At least that’s his intention. But when serendipity brings Willow and Tiago back together at the departures desk in Bristol airport – destination Faro – outrage isn’t the only spark that flies…

Weston-super-Mare and Portugal are about to collide!


Order here!


It’s no secret that Isabella May is one of my favourite authors, and she triumphs once more in the latest instalment of her Foodie Romance books. The conversational style of writing means that you are drawn straight in to Willow’s quirky personality making her as hard to resist as the custard confections she sells. Just the thought of the delicious pastéis de nata took me back to a fantastic girls weekend in Lisbon – the discovery of these little pastries being one of the highlights. Settling down to read this book on the first day of a diet was a seriously bad idea – I should know better by now with Isabella’s books!

Willow is supported by a cast of colourful characters, with Frank and Reggie being particular favourites of mine. I can just picture Frank sat at his regular table with a pile of custard tarts, and I loved his decision to pay it forward in tarts to the most deserving customers. As for Tiago, well, he is just as delicious as Willow’s custardy creations!

As well as tempting the taste-buds, Isabella May also likes to ignite the travel bug, this time whisking us away to sunny Portugal. Whilst my travels in this country have so far been limited to beautiful Lisbon, I found it so easy to picture the remote quinta Willow and her friends holidayed in, and the gorgeous sounding town of Tavira.

Although Isabella May’s Foodie Romances are not a series as such, regular readers of her books will notice that some characters have a tendency of popping up in other people’s stories. I love this little touch, and so was very happy to see a certain Bath-based gelateria getting a mention!


Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalusia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the mountains and the sea. She grew up in Somerset on Glastonbury’s ley lines and loves to feature her quirky English hometown in her stories.

After a degree in Modern Languages and European Studies at UWE, Bristol (and a year working abroad in Bordeaux and Stuttgart), Isabella bagged an extremely jammy and fascinating job in children’s publishing… selling foreign rights for novelty, board, pop-up and non-fiction books all over the world; in every language from Icelandic to Korean, Bahasa Indonesian to Papiamento!

All of which has fuelled her curiosity and love of international food and travel – both feature extensively in her romcoms.

Isabella is also a Pranic Healer and a stillbirth mum.






Make sure you visit the other blogs joining the tour for more about this gorgeous book!

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