Review: Gouda Friends by Cathy Yardley


Title: Gouda Friends
(Ponto Beach Reunion #2)
Author: Cathy Yardley
Genre: Contemporary romance, friends to lover
Release date: 22 March 2022

Author Links: Website / Twitter / Facebook / Instagram


Tam Doan dumped her boyfriend after he threw away her gourmet cheese. Sure, it’s a little more complicated than that, but the point is, he had it coming. Newly single and unemployed, Tam calls up her best friend from high school and utters the emergency code word—goldfish. Next thing she knows, she’s on a plane back home.

Josh O’Malley was a troubled, unconfident teenager. Now he’s the successful owner of a multimillion-dollar ghost kitchen. Tam, his high school BFF and fellow member of the Nerd Herd friend group, was instrumental in building his self-esteem. When she calls him out of the blue, he jumps at the chance to return the favor.

Josh and Tam immediately get to work fixing her life—but again, it’s complicated. Their close friendship was always a lifeline between them; a blooming romance might confuse things. Still, at least one thing is for certain: their chemistry is un-brie-lievable.


I loved the first book in this series, Love, Comment, Subscribe, and I was excited to continue with the series set around a group of high school friends, 10 years after graduation.

This is such a lovely, comfy read. An enemies to lovers, starting from 'We shouldn't do this. It will mess up our friendship." going through "Ok, we do it only once to get it out our systems and then never talk about it again." to finally "You are the love of my life and want to be with you forever."

It was no smooth sailing for Josh and Tam but it was fun, with a touch of angst, and very satisfying in the end. We get to see more of their friends and I love all their interactions - the support, the casual joking, the serious talks about life goals and dreams, it was all amazing.

As usual, we meet a diverse cast and it feels natural and organic to the world of the MCs. Both Tam and Josh come from messed up families and the found family they build around themselves as adults is a thing of beauty.

My complaint has to do with the portrayal of the villains in the story. They were too stereotypical, cardboard figures of what the bad girl/guy should look like and act like. It was unnecessary, it didn't bring much to the story, it just felt like lazy, careless writing to me. Same goes for the constant negative talk about both Tam's and Josh' exes. There is no need to make them all sound like terrible people just to show how perfect Tam and Josh are for each other.

It is a minor thing in the overall story but it kept cropping up here and there and found it annoying and distracting.

On the plus side, like the previous book, here the MCs and the side characters felt really modern, involved in new professions - influencer, youtubers, social media managers, setting up ghost kitchen/delivery service. It was interesting to read, entertaining and I am definitely adding this series to my list of romances with uncommon/unusual professions. .

I would summarize this series as modern small town romance - a bit stereotypical, yet diverse, cosy and funny with awesome found family and friends.

CW: alcoholism (off page), messed up families, cheating, online smear campaign

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