Published on 19 June 2014 by Simon & Schuster UK
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?
I always look forward to a new book by Milly Johnson and was delighted to be approved for an advance copy via Netgalley.
The book starts with a funeral. Carla Pride is mourning the sudden death of her husband Martin. However it seems that Martin hid more than a few secrets and a shocking event occurs during the funeral service. Devastated by recent events and facing an uncertain future, can Carla regain her confidence and start her new life?
When Leni Merryman opens her teashop she can have no idea that her first customers would find such comfort in her coffee and cakes….and in each other. A motley group of strangers find themselves, through circumstance, meeting in the tea shop and finding support and friendship. We are introduced to a wonderful cast of characters including businessman Will Linton who through extraordinary bad luck has lost everything; Molly Jones with her own unhappy past and who is now fighting her son and daughter-in-law’s attempts to put her in a care home and retired surgeon and widower Mr Singh, who is so lonely with his daughter living abroad. In addition, Leni has her own story to tell and as the story progresses, we discover her back story and what led to her opening the teashop.
The story has Milly’s trademark humour throughout however it is not just a light fluffy read. More serious issues are dealt with sympathetically and you find yourself rooting for so many characters, both main and supporting, and hoping that all will work out well for them. Of course life isn’t like that and along with the humour there is sadness too.
I loved the description of the teashop – it sounded so delightful and I actually felt quite jealous of the characters being able to enjoy their time there and browse the items for sale. Along with the coffee and cakes, Leni sold gorgeous book related gifts and stationery – for a book and stationery addict like me this was heaven and I coveted the book handbags! Another nice touch were the references to the classics by way of light-hearted teashop discussion – Pride and Prejudice and Wuthering Heights being just a couple of examples. Each week featured a different classic author, for example, Bronte Tuesday – with the cake selection matching the theme.
This was a perfect read for me and the author’s words made me both laugh and cry. What is clear throughout the story is the importance of love and friendship and this book had these in abundance. I still have some of Milly’s back catalogue to enjoy but this is a fabulous read and possibly one of her best to date.
My thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the digital copy for review.
About the author:
Milly Johnson is a Sunday Times top ten bestseller, poet, columnist, joke-writer, radio presenter-in-training and winner of Come Dine With Me. She likes cruising on big ships, owls, Pellers Ice Wine, shopping for handbags in Venice, Ikea meatballs, the sea and having her hair done. She hates marzipan, doing accounts and sandpaper. Her novels are about the universal issues of friendship, family, betrayal, babies, rather nice food and a little bit of that magic in life that sometimes visits the unsuspecting.