Blog Tour Review: The Traveling Tea Shop by Belinda Jones

The Traveling Tea Shop by Belinda Jones
Release Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 316
Source: book provided by NetGalley for review

 

 

A delectable tale of friendship, love and cake for fans of Jenny Colgan and Sophie Kinsella…

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?

All aboard for: New York – Connecticut – Rhode Island – Massachusetts – Maine – New Hampshire – Vermont

 

Review: First of all, don’t start reading this one if you are hungry or if you haven’t satisfied your sweet tooth. All those goodies had me craving cake and rich frosting!

Laurie can’t believe how lucky she is when she gets hired on by Pamela Lambert- Leigh- The Cake Queen, to travel around to various locations in search of history and recipes to put into Pam’s new book. But, once the deal is sealed, Laurie finds things are not as glamorous as she thought it would be.

For starters they are traveling in a double-decker bus driven by Pam’s elderly mother plus Pam’s daughter is along for the ride and boy is she a pill. Pretty soon Laurie finds herself the confidante to all those along for the trip and naturally she finds herself in an awkward position because she is sitting on some pretty big bombshell secrets and can’t tell anyone. But, she also begins to take sides or feel like she was in a position to give advice when in fact her own family was in far worse shape and she was not all that inclined to practice what she was preaching to Pam and her daughter.

What worked for me was the history the author adds to each stop on their tour. Wonderful stories and interesting facts abound which adds some adventure to the story. I was happy to see Pam and her daughter finally get to the heart of the matter between them and show hope for a much more stable and healthy relationship.

For Laurie, I think it’s often human nature for us to see what others need in their lives, but fail to see the flaws in our own. Laurie was very helpful to this family, but also overstepped her bounds too, at times. I think we can all learn a thing or two from Laurie’s experiences.

What didn’t quite work was the secondary story involving Laurie’s sister and her drug problems. As I said, Laurie could see where Pam’s family needed help, advice, forgiveness and all the rest, but in her own family things were much more serious. Then one character arrives in the story and proceeds to lecture Laurie about anger, bitterness, and drug addiction and how Laurie has made everything all about her. While some of the things said were true, this one area in the book rubbed me the wrong way. It almost felt like a preacher in a pulpit and I thought is was unfair to Laurie since her situation was much more serious and complicated.  However, this  one conversation  caused all of Laurie’s rage to suddenly evaporate and send her on a mission to make amends with her black sheep sister.

However, I do love stories where families are able to work out huge problems and find a way back to one another after a rift. Old hurts and past mistakes are something we all deal with at one time or another and we all know how complicated family can be. I thought all the players in the story took great strides in making their personal lives better and toward making their relationships with others much stronger and rewarding. The trip in itself was worth it, with all the fun facts, sweets, and the uncovering of many wrongs that needed to be righted. If you like women’s fiction, family secrets and drama with a lightly toned inspirational type message, you will enjoy this one.

 

Julie