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Book DetailsISBN: 9781760113094
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Book Review: Tea Chest by Josephine Moon - Reviewed by CloggieA (16 Sep 2016)
The Tea Chest is the first novel by Australian author, Josephine Moon. Kate Fullerton is a happily married mum of two boys, and a tea artisan at an exclusive Brisbane tea boutique. When her patron, Simone Taylor, half-owner of The Tea Chest franchise, dies, Kate is surprised to learn that she has inherited Simone’s half share. The pressure is immediately on from the other half-owner, Judy Masters, to sell up, but Kate is determined to fulfil Simone’s dream of a Tea Chest shop in London.
Kate is the first to admit she will need practical organisational help in London, so Leila Morton’s immediate availability and excellent reference are like a godsend. Leila is enthusiastic about the project, and rationalises her economy with the true facts of her previous employment as saving Kate added stress.
Elizabeth Clancy’s world has fallen apart: dreams of becoming a mother are unlikely to come true with a bigamist husband who’s had a vasectomy. She beats a retreat to her parents in London. Her younger sister, Victoria is determined to raise her out of the doldrums, and a chance meeting in a pub sees the sisters working with Kate and Leila to meet a looming deadline for the grand opening.
Moon uses four narrators to tell her story: Kate, Leila and Elizabeth relate various aspects of the present day and recent past, while Judy’s short and infrequent parts provide background about the relationship between Simone and Judy. Short text messages from Kate’s husband Mark add humour, as does some of the dialogue. There’s a bit of intrigue, a bit of romance and quite a lot of tea.
This is a fairly light read. Even though the characters face problems and ultimately learn to believe in themselves, some problems seem to be just a bit too easily solved; other aspects that ought to have been addressed seem glossed over; and would you really hand over a quarter of a million dollars so easily? Inclusion of the London riots and their personal effects is certainly topical. A promising debut novel that make a pleasant read. 3 stars
Josephine Moon writes about strong, creative women making their mark on the world. She describes her stories as 'books like brownies': indulgent, comforting, a treat for the senses, but filling and with chunky nuts to chew on. Josephine lives with her husband and their son, and their extraordinarily large and diverse animal family on acreage on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. They are currently renovating a house for profit to maintain Josephine's passion for horses and imported fine chocolate.
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