From Coffee to Champagne to Coconuts


Non-Fiction - Autobiography
461 Pages
Reviewed on 08/23/2018
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite

A gorgeous meld of romance and adventure, From Coffee to Champagne to Coconuts by Brigitte Kassa is an autobiography that follows the life of Brigitte Kruger Kassa, a woman born in 1939 in Germany when WWII was breaking out. Her family affected by the repercussions of the war, she set out on her own to face life alone when she turned nineteen, and after going through numerous challenges, she ended up in Monte Carlo where she became co-owner and manager of The Gipsy Club that welcomed celebrities and an elite clientele. It was here that she met the man who later became her husband. This narrative follows the pair on their adventures, travelling across countries and finally settling down in Little Cayman.

From the beginning of the narrative, the author recalls telling her aunt with determination that one day she wanted to live on a small tropical island. She was just ten years old in Germany. This story takes readers into her adventures that brought about the fulfillment of this dream. What attracted me most to this story is the way the personality of the protagonist comes out. She is determined, has a pleasant personality, is outgoing and easily connects with people. She takes us from her life back with her Aunt Berta on her grandparents’ farm in Zeckerin to her interesting experiences at the Gipsy Club, to moving to New Jersey with her man, to finally settling in the cozy island of Little Cayman. This is an emotionally intense story, punctuated with adventures that will delight as well as inspire readers. From Coffee to Champagne to Coconuts is both hilarious and thoughtful, delivered in an arresting first person narrative voice.

K.C. Finn

From Coffee to Champagne to Coconuts is an interesting autobiography by Brigitte Kassa. Born at the beginning of the Second World War, Brigitte Kruger Kassa survives life in the heart of Berlin in a world where the promise of a future is limited. At the age of nineteen, Brigitte left for the big wide world and found that it was even more dangerous than the war she’d been born into, but after some trials she found a settled life in Monte Carlo. From there, time shifted her again when a successful businessman merged his life with hers, and from the jet set to the simple tropical isles, her life changed again and again until she achieved the dream she had always desired.

Brigitte Kassa writes with authenticity and in a friendly voice that any reader would be able to relate well with. I have to admit that I found the early years of her life much more intriguing than the post-marriage years, so the novel tapered off for me somewhat after that. Her early life in Germany was particularly interesting, as was her time managing a famous Monte Carlo club. That said, Kassa has certainly enjoyed and endured a fascinating life that makes for great reading. She brings the other characters of her story to life with lovely descriptions and pithy speech that could only be captured from reality. Overall, I’d say that From Coffee to Champagne to Coconuts is an accomplished read which any fan of true life stories will find enjoyable and interesting.

Christian Sia

From Coffee to Champagne to Coconuts by Brigitte Kassa is a spellbinding autobiography with wonderful settings, an underpinning of adventure mixed with compelling historical references. When she was ten years old, back in Germany, Brigitte told her aunt with conviction that she’d one day live on a small tropical island with “lots of sunshine and palm trees, surrounded by warm water.” That is a dream she had while living in Germany, but her adventures brought her to a man with whom she made that dream possible.

Born at the outbreak of WWII, Brigitte grew up to suffer the consequences of the war, and with her family life disrupted, she set out on her own at the age of 19. She experienced many challenges and trying adventures and ended up as manager and part owner of a night club, the Gipsy Club, in Monte Carlo. It was here that she met the man of her life, a businessman who had her move to his home in New Jersey, USA. Thus begins an adventure that took them across the globe, finally settling on Little Cayman.

This book is a mix of adventure and romance, a story that explores one woman’s journey to creating the life of her dream, but it is also the story of a strong romance. Readers will love Basil and how he allows the connection to deepen with Brigitte. The author captures important moments in their relationship with a lot of skill and expertise, allowing the conversations to come across naturally, the climates of their hearts to shine out through the narrative. Themes of family, business, adventure, and friendship are explored throughout the narrative. It is a story with strong cultural and physical settings, captured in wonderful images. From Coffee to Champagne to Coconuts is a very engaging and inspiring story. You can’t put it down easily.

Ruffina Oserio

Romance, adventure, business, family and marriage are some of the underlying themes of From Coffee to Champagne to Coconuts by Brigitte Kassa, the story of a woman who set out to create her dream and found a man who completed her world. Brigitte Kassa was born in Germany in 1939 and lived through the aftermath of the war. As a child, she had always dreamed of living on a small tropical island, a dream she shared with her aunt when she was just ten years old. At nineteen, Brigitte already embraced an independent life and, after facing many challenges and difficulties, she ended up in Monte Carlo, where she became co-proprietor and manager of The Gipsy Club. It was at her night club that she got to meet all kinds of celebrated people, including Basil who eventually won her heart, a fine businessman who had her move to New Jersey. A new phase opened in their life as they explored the world, finally deciding to settle in Little Cayman, hence fulfilling Brigitte’s dream of living on a tropical island.

A passionate tale of love and adventure, of pursuing a dream and creating a life of happiness. The story is told from the point of view of the author and in an absorbing voice. The prose is beautiful, punctuated by emotionally charged moments, images from the author’s life, and beautifully written dialogues. I loved the people in From Coffee to Champagne to Coconuts. My favorite character was Basil and I enjoyed his portrait in the narrative. From the moment he expressed dismay then excitement about Brigitte’s marital status, I started rooting for him. Readers will enjoy the way Brigitte talks about her husband. I enjoyed every bit of the story, especially the experiences at the club and the encounters with different characters. The autobiography is well written and engaging.