Friday, October 18, 2013

Review: The Coffee Legacy by Katharina Bordet

The Coffee Legacy: A Wiener Blut Novel by Katharina Bordet


Isabelle runs a cafe with her best friend, Karin, and coffee is her life. When someone close to her is murdered, Isabelle begins to feel drawn to the past she abandoned when she married her husband, Dominik. Straining to protect her family, who knows nothing of her past, from the drama of that abandoned life, Isabelle must reconnect with and fix everything she left behind ages ago. Either that, or watch as the rest of her family is picked off, one by one.

That's my summary. Here's the one I pulled from

An old café, an even older legend and a new threat.

When Isabelle’s secret past returns to haunt her nightmares, she must take action to protect her family from a threat that is closer than she realises.

Set within the traditional Viennese café culture, ‘Wiener Blut’ (literally translated as ‘Viennese Blood’) is the story of café owner Isabelle Schindler-Krug and her role in a struggle for power that stretches back for centuries.

As she tells her sons the legends behind coffee and Vienna, it becomes clear that one such legend is still in the making, with her own family caught right in the middle.


When you get right down to it, America is pretty well addicted to coffee. You can’t turn a corner without seeing a cafe, coffee shop, or restaurant that claims to sell “premium” coffee. And don’t get me started on Starbucks. I have one word for them, and that word is disgusting. But I’m not here to talk about that. I’m here— at least in this little section— to talk about the context of the book, and for me, that’s how the book can be seen to relate to America right now. And we’re, on the whole, addicted to coffee. That in mind, a novel that revolves around the stuff was due, and Bordet slammed this one out of the park! Along with an excellent plot involving the nature, discovery, and development of coffee, The Coffee Legacy includes chapter openings with a picture, name, and description of specific types of coffee that show up in the following chapter. And if you really pay attention, the coffee itself often reflects the events in the chapter, too! It’s a very subtle connection, but rewarding to find. And these are coffees I personally have never heard of, because coffee culture here is, honestly, nothing compared to how it is in Vienna. I would like to make the note that the author, Katharina Bordet, is Austrian and actually lives in Vienna, so she has the access to this culture we simply lack. But the pictures and descriptions made me desperately yearn for some of this greatness rather than a drive-thru “latte”. That said, this book proves that coffee is much more than just a morning (or afternoon, or any other time of day) pick-me-up, and bravo to the author for revolving an entire plot around it!


Initially reading The Coffee Legacy can be a little disorienting at first, because Bordet’s formatting style in the e-book is very different from that of native English speakers. But that’s mostly a punctuation thing and doesn’t actually apply itself to the plot or book content. I just wanted to alert readers who want to pick this up that, if you’re used to reading books by American or English authors, the punctuation might catch you off guard, and I would hate to see that make you put the book down.

As far as the writing style itself, The Coffee Legacy is tightly written, clear, and intriguing. I thought I had an idea what sort of setting we had, but by chapter three, that perception was blown out of the water by awesomeness. The book did not go in the direction I thought it would. It turned out I was reading something very different than I initially thought I would be reading. And what a pleasant surprise that was! I got sucked in by the characters, the secrets, the layers of connection between characters, and just coffee in general. Bordet is very good at getting you inside characters’ heads so you at least understand their decisions and actions, even if you don’t agree with them.

My Thoughts

I thoroughly enjoyed The Coffee Legacy. I distinctly felt the highs and lows that a good book is supposed to bring you. Had I not been reading it in a public place, I can think of at least two or three times I wanted to exclaim things and yell at the pages (of my kindle). Most of those would have been “Aw, Hell!” exclamations. There was one, “You’d better not!” for certain. And then, the character did it. Satisfying, yet upsetting, but the plot couldn’t have gone any other way, really. Have you ever not wanted something to happen but couldn’t imagine it not happening? That’s what the situation was, and I’ll go ahead and tell you, that’s one of the times I completely understood the character’s actions but did not agree with them. But how realistic and true to human nature! Yes, I’m purposefully being vague because I don’t want to give spoilers. Even though I’m the type to love spoilers, I know I’m the odd one out, so I’m not going to do that to you guys. Suffice it to say, you will feel the low desperation of the characters when the time comes.

Of course, there were also the moments when, despite reading this in public (at work, mostly), I could not help but laugh. So don’t think this book is all caffeine with a side of sadness. What are the lows without the highs to balance them? Less effective, that’s what. And do you like less effective things? I didn’t think so.

Overall, this novel was well constructed, easy to read, and engaging. And there’s some automatic audience participation if you go and make the coffees in the book to go along with them. I, sadly, didn’t have the means to do this, but I want to, and I’m sure at some point I will completely botch them by making them myself. But in more ways than one, this book really opened up some new worlds and new cultures for me. It left me wanting more… and wanting coffee. There’s a lot of good stuff for the mind and palate here. I know I keep saying it, but the characters are very real, and that makes for a tale that I honestly think could happen, even with the fantastic elements involved. Who are we to say you can’t get to Neu Meidling? Maybe we just haven’t found it yet. THey are hiding, after all.

Would I Recommend This Book? Yes. Its plot is well-woven with a tight cast of characters who have more connections to one another than you would think, and it’s a great way to absorb some of that Viennese culture (for those of us who have never been there). On a scale of 1 to 5 stars, I give it a solid, caffeine-carrying 4. A few typos and a word or two that I think were meant to be something else (plot-centric and -specific terms) kept it from being a 4.5. But overall, this book is a good pick, especially if you’re the type to curl up with a good book and a hot drink.

For more on the author, visit For more on Wiener Blut and The Coffee Legacy, visit

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this fantastic review! I am really glad you enjoyed it so much and trust me, many things my characters did were out of my hands too... I simply got to tell their story ;)