Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Book review: The Teashop on the Corner by Milly Johnson


My edition: paperback, published on 19 June 2014 by Simon & Schuster, 492 pages.

Description: At her beloved husband's funeral, Carla Pride discovers that Martin never divorced his first wife and has been living a double life with her. And his other wife, Julie Pride, is determined to take everything from Carla - her home, her money, and her memories.

When Will Linton's business goes bust he at least thinks that with the support of his trophy wife Nicole he will rise to the top again. But Nicole isn't going to stick around with 'a loser' and Will finds himself at rock bottom.

Molly Jones is being bullied into going into a retirement home by her 'concerned' daughter-in-law Sherry and son Gram. Then the love of Molly's life walks in through her door - a man who broke Molly's heart into little pieces many years ago. But he says he is dying and wants to spend the time he has left with her.

All people in need of a little love and compassion which they find by chance in the stationery and teashop on the corner run by the ever-cheerful Leni, a woman that site developer Shaun McCarthy finds annoying beyond annoying for her ability to remain unrealistically upbeat about everything.

But is the world of Leni Merryman as full of rainbows and sparkles as everyone thinks? Or is her smile papering over many cracks in her heart that will soon be shattered unwittingly by her new friends?

Rating:



The moral of this novel is: when life gives you lemons, you should make a delicious lemon drizzle cake to cheer yourself up. As we meet the main characters, they are all at a low point in their lives and are struggling to find any joy in it. Yet as if by magic - or it may very well be the alluring smell of a freshly baked pie - over the course of several days they all wander into the new teashop in Spring Hill Square for a cake-shaped pick-me-up. They are warmly welcomed by Leni Merryman who, just like her last name, brings some much-needed merriness into these lost people's lives in the form of delectable home-baked goods, lively literary discussions and an unexpected friendship.

Will Linton has just lost his business and with it his money-obsessed wife and all his worldly possessions. With his positive attitude he doesn't find it a problem to start at the bottom of the ladder again. However if he ever wants to make it as a builder he needs to overcome his newly found fear of heights, or he will never be able to climb a ladder again - literally and figuratively. Carla Pride thought she couldn't feel worse after her husband Martin suddenly passes away, but at his funeral she discovers that he had been hiding a huge secret from her for many years and as a result she has to start all over again as well. And then there is the elderly Molly Jones, who has never been lucky in love. When her ex-husband suddenly re-appears, charming as ever and claiming he wants to make amends because he's about to die, she has to decide whether she can possibly forgive him for the terrible way he hurt her in the past.

While I own quite a few novels penned by women's fiction author Milly Johnson, as the stories sound right up my alley and the inviting covers always makes me want to stroke them in appreciation, I have not actually read any of her books yet. Until now that is. And boy did I love this one! So as soon as I can free up some time, I will grab that stack of unread novels and have a proper Milly Johnson weekend (there will, of course, be cake involved).

It did take me a few chapters to get The Teashop on the Corner and I actually started to doubt that it would live up to its inviting title and gorgeous cover illustration with dainty cupcakes, but all of a sudden I felt myself being completely drawn into it. I don't remember the exact point where this happened, but it was after the various storyline strands of the characters started coming together in that gorgeous literary cafe. They were no longer a random bunch of people, each with their own unconnected story to tell, but a close-knit group of friends sharing happiness, heartbreak and a lot of very special moments.

While I loved the characters and I felt myself getting really involved in their lives (and feeling quite emotional towards the end) the absolute best part of this novel was The Teashop on the Corner itself. The literary cafe sounded like a utopia to a book and cake lover such as myself. Filled with the alluring smell of freshly baked goods and offering a plethora of geeky bookish gifts (I need EVERYTHING Leni so carefully sources in my life), I desperately want to make a visit myself - and possibly never leave again. Why is this enchanting place fictional?! Fingers crossed someone is inspired by the wonderfully inviting descriptions of the cafe in this book and will create their own little piece of bookish heaven. I will definitely make a pilgrimage to that teashop when it opens its doors!

Filled with a wonderful mix of characters the reader will quickly fall in love with - not to mention a wealth of literary baked goods, must-have gifts and interesting debates - this is the perfect novel to enjoy on a relaxing Sunday afternoon with a freshly brewed pot of chamomile tea and a big slice of home-made cake.

You can purchase the novel from Waterstones, Amazon.co.uk or your own preferred retailer.



Would you like to know more about the author? You can connect with her online at:

Website: www.millyjohnson.co.uk

Twitter: @millyjohnson

Facebook: facebook.com/milly.johnson1


This review first appeared HERE on Novelicious.

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