The Tea Chest by Josephine Moon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
'A beautifully engaging novel set in the world of a boutique London tea shop. 'I loved it - a perfect blend of sweet and spice.' Jenny Colgan
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 start again.
When the three women's paths unexpectedly cross, they throw themselves into realising Kate's magical vision for London's branch of The Tea Chest. But every time success is within their grasp, increasing tensions damage their trust in each other.
With the very real possibility that The Tea Chest will fail, Kate, Leila and Elizabeth must decide what's important to each of them. Are they willing to walk away or can they learn to believe in themselves?
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.'
This story centres around the future of 'The Tea Chest' one of a chain of boutique shops offering gourmet and custom blended teas; with two shops in Australia the owner Simone Taylor has secured a shop in London with the intention of launching her unique blends of tea in the UK when her untimely death leaves the future of the London shop in jeopardy. Kate Fullerton who inherits Simone's share of the business feels that she wants to continue with the London store in memory of her friend. Despite Simone's step sisters' wish to sell the business as she is also a part owner, Kate is determined to launch this store and fulfill Simone's dream. Kate has a family and it's not easy for her to leave them behind in Australia and she also has to contemplate facing financial risks to make this work for Simone but she realises very quickly that it is something that she needs to do both for her friend and for herself.
Essentially this is about having courage to take a chance, facing fears, trusting your instincts, friendships and love. Kate's passion for tea and her close bond with Simone push her to achieve the almost unachievable, it teaches her a lot about herself, her relationship and her friends. Kate has no real head for business and realises she needs help and recruits Leila Morton and sisters Elizabeth Clancy and Victoria Plimsworth to help her. Working long hours and facing many obstacles along the way including construction workers, jealous neighbouring shop owners, London riots and personal problems they finally make this happen.
I did feel that the constant jumping from character to character and time periods was annoying in that it made it hard to recall where I was in the book each time I picked it up as I could not read this over a couple of days as I would have liked to. I also didn't share the writers obvious passion for tea and found the technicalities of tea making a bit laborious but the overall appeal of the story came through despite this for me.
A nice lighthearted read, good for round the pool/holiday reading, nothing too heavy to worry about here and of course it all has a happy ever after ending. I did think it was perhaps too tightly and neatly wrapped up but satisfying nevertheless.
Dare I say it but it was not quite my cup of tea (excuse the pun) but possibly different enough to be a successfully entertaining read. I would give this a 3.5 star rating (rounding up to 4* for Goodread and Amazon) - the ending was predictable but it just was a little slow for me.
I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.