Monday, March 23, 2015
Book Review: The Tea Chest
Whilst I don’t think ‘extras’ that accompany books for review are necessary, they can undoubtedly help generate excitement regarding an upcoming release, particularly in terms of less well known authors. When I received The Tea Chest by Josephine Moon (not an author I’d heard of), the book arrived along with a lovely tea towel, teabag and postcard which I thought was great marketing; and yes I happily use my tea towel! But what is the book itself about?
‘Kate Fullerton, talented tea designer and now co-owner of The Tea Chest, could never have imagined that she'd be flying from Brisbane to London, risking her young family's future, to save the business she loves from the woman who wants to shut it down.
Meanwhile, Leila Morton has just lost her job; and if Elizabeth Clancy had known today was the day she would appear on the nightly news, she might at least have put on some clothes. Both need to move on.
When Kate's, Leila's and Elizabeth's paths cross, they throw themselves into realising Kate's vision of the newest and most delectable tea shop in London, The Tea Chest. But with the very real possibility that The Tea Chest may fail, the three women are forced to decide what's important to each of them.
An enchanting, witty novel about the unexpected situations life throws at us, and how love and friendship help us through. Written with heart and infused with the seductive scents of bergamot, Indian spices, lemon, rose and caramel, it's a world you won't want to leave.’ (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon UK.)
I have to say I wasn’t particularly enamoured with the cover or title, although the description did make me slightly more interested in it. This initial lack of appeal probably has more to do with me having read quite a few food/tea based books lately and maybe feeling the market has been a little over-saturated with them; many have been excellent, some not quite working for me. However, I loved this book from start to finish and didn’t feel it was anything like the books I’d already read.
This novel is very strong on character development, I warmed to all three leading characters immediately and they are all introduced to the reader quite quickly. They were all interesting characters and my interest in all three of their stories was maintained throughout the book. I loved how these women came together and how they move from colleagues to friends and essentially become what felt like family to me. The bonds were so tight at points, aided by the fact that Kate and Leila are both away from their home of Australia. I also enjoyed how the narrative was interspersed with the back story of Judy (the not so nice co-owner of The Tea Chest) as all the stories came together and were nicely interwoven with clear resolutions by the end.
I enjoyed the rich descriptions in the novel and felt like I was a fly on the wall of The Tea Chest, right from its starting point of being a building in disrepair to the grand opening and challenges in running the business. I also enjoyed how Josephine drew on topical issues, such as the London riots to further develop the story.
This book had lovely descriptions, rich characters, humour, romance and sadness with several interesting twists and turns along the way. This was a book that warmed my cockles and I’d personally love to meet these characters again in future novels, I thought there was scope for all of the characters to crop up again.
Time for a nice cup of Yorkshire tea!
Thanks to Allen and Unwin for the book in exchange for an honest review.