The Little Cafe in Copenhagen by Julie Caplin
Kate is a young, ambitious top 5 PR firm employee, keen to move up the company ladder. When her boyfriend, a fellow employee, gains a promotion she thought she had in the bag by stealing her idea, she is devastated. Her boss gives her a seemingly impossible chance to prove herself by winning over a client from Denmark with very little preparation time. Miraculously, Kate pulls it off, and the client's first request, once he has signed with the firm, is for Kate to round up a group of press agents and journalists to go on a week long all-expenses paid tour of Copenhagen and write about the Danish concept of hygge, which will be factoring into the client's new business in the UK.
Kate is able to secure the requested journalists, a motley bunch with varying levels of experience and personality. She is particularly perturbed by the cranky but handsome guy who is a former business desk writer, now relegated to the lifestyle page after a professional mistake and wears his bitterness on his sleeve as they arrive in Copenhagen. From the beginning, mishaps follow the group, and Kate finds it difficult to keep track of and reign in a group of adults determined to misbehave and exceed her budget.
Her one bright spot at first is meeting her client's mother, who runs a charming Danish bakery and cafe near the hotel. Kate soon finds herself spending time there regularly, confiding in the woman, and truly learning what hygge is all about from this cozy cafe run by a woman who gives Kate both her attention and her heart. As the week progresses, Kate's boss becomes more and more frustrated with the mishaps, and sends Kate's ex to get a handle on the situation.
The group, who have come to love Kate and the way she has been tender and forgiving of them through all of their misadventures, take offense to the interloper. They stage a bit of a coup, making his life difficult. In the background of all of the misadventures and then interference of the ex, Kate falls in love with Ben. When a fluke at the airport necessitates that Kate and Ben spend an extra night in Copenhagen while everyone else returns to the UK, they take the time to really fall for each other. Back in the UK, Kate is finding it hard to return to business as usual, finding herself missing the hygge life and the cafe. Everyone's articles about the trip are generating positive buzz, until Ben's is published, portraying a cynical view of hygge as a measure being capitalized on for commercial gain. Kate is crushed, feeling that Ben has been lying to her, but given the chance to explain, all comes right in the end.
Sweet and charming and full of hygge, this was a lovely little romance. It veered a bit too far into the chick lit category for my personal preferences, and had a very explicit sex scene, but was a sweet story. I love all things hygge and loved that this book addressed that it is more than fireplaces and blankets. I think I could be very happy in Denmark, bonding with a kind motherly woman at a bakery too.