Thursday 22 May 2014


Book review: The Travelling Tea Shop by Belinda Jones

My edition: Paperback, published on 22 May 2014 by Hodder & Stoughton, 316 pages.

Description: Laurie loves a challenge. Especially if it involves anything beautiful, baked and frosted. The brief is simple: With three other women, Laurie will board a London bus - kitted out as an English tea shop - on a deliciously different road trip of the USA.

Their mission: To bring home-grown classics like Battenberg, Victoria sponge and scones to the land of cupcakes, whoopie pies and gold-leafed chocolate sundaes.

And to show them how a real cup of tea is made. All of the women have their own secrets and heartaches to heal. As well as a grand appreciation of cupcakes, there's also the chance for romance... But will making whoopee lead to love?


This novel combined two of my favourite pastimes - travelling and eating cake - making it a deliciously addictive read.

British expat Laurie lives a pretty charmed life in New York City. She works for the girlie travel-planning website she and her best friend set up, through which gets to visit all sorts of exciting places and get paid to do so! When beloved baker and fellow Brit Pamela Lambert-Leigh comes over to the States to find inspiration for her next baking bestseller and is on the look-out for someone to make the travel arrangements during her trip, Laurie jumps on the chance.

Laurie's extensive research pays off and she's soon signed on to arrange a delectable foodie tour along the East Coast of the USA - from the bright lights of New York City to rural Vermont, and everything in between. What she doesn't realise yet is that she'll be spending the trip not only with her baking idol, but also with Pamela's fierce elderly mother Gracie and obstinate 20-year-old daughter Ravenna. What follows is an often hilarious, sometimes poignant but most of all mouth-watering journey. The road they travel - in a traditional British red double-decker no less - is as diverse as the delectable treats they bake and devour along the way.

This is the kind of novel the word 'lovely' was invented for. It was an utterly delightful read and it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I instantly took a liking to the character of Laurie, even though I was also more than a little jealous of her fabulous job. She gets paid to travel to new places and eat all sorts of sweet treats? Sign me up please! While she also had to find interesting things to stop by along the way and make sure the trip ran smoothly, that sounds like a small price to pay in exchange for getting the chance to visit new cities and eat copious amounts of cake.

Laurie's research is of course actually that of author Belinda Jones, and she's done a truly amazing job. Not only does she take her characters on a brilliant foodie tour of the East Coast, but she describes the places they visit and things they experience in such colourful detail that as a reader you believe you are right there with them, travelling from cake shop to coffee shop in the red double-decker bus. Unfortunately this wasn't actually the case, but she made the stops on the road trip sound so appealing that I now really want to make this journey myself.

Even though this was merely fiction, the hugely inviting descriptions of the places visited made the novel resemble a good travel guide at times, one with a dash of romance thrown in and a swirl of scrumptious baked goods. It was the perfect calorie-free sweet treat for my Sunday afternoon and I'm already craving more of Belinda Jones' delicious writing.

You can purchase a copy of the novel from Waterstones,, or your own preferred retailer.

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


Twitter: @belindatravels


This review was first published HERE on

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