on 1st April 2014
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Kate Fullerton, talented tea designer and now co-owner of The Tea Chest, could never have imagined that she'd be flying from Brisbane to London, risking her young family's future, to save the business she loves from the woman who wants to shut it down. Meanwhile, Leila Morton has just lost her job; and if Elizabeth Clancy had known today was the day she would appear on the nightly news, she might at least have put on some clothes. Both need to start again...When Kate's, Leila's and Elizabeth's paths unexpectedly cross, they throw themselves into realising Kate's magical vision of London's branch of the newest and most delectable tea shop, The Tea Chest. But every time success is within their grasp, increasing tensions damage their trust in each other. With the very real possibility that The Tea Chest will fail, Kate, Leila and Elizabeth must decide what's important to each of them. Are they willing to walk away or can they learn to believe in themselves?..An enchanting, witty novel about the unexpected situations life throws at us, and how love and friendship help us through. Written with heart and infused with the seductive scents of bergamot, Indian spices, lemon, rose and caramel, it's a world you won't want to leave.
It is almost like a dream come true when Kate Fullerton becomes a part-owner of The Tea Chest, a boutique tea shop. Free to let her creativity run wild, The Tea Chest gives Kate the opportunity to create, blend and share her love of tea with the public. But dreams can go awry. When Kate has to fly to London to start up the newest branch of the store she loves, she has to face financial difficulties, being so far away from her husband and two young children, and the trouble of finding labourers in a foreign country.
With the assistance of Leila, a woman who lost her job in a moment of insanity, Elizabeth, an Englishwoman who just fled from Brisbane following a startling revelation from her husband, and Victoria, Elizabeth’s carefree younger sister, Kate creates a beautiful store and achieves the near impossible – selling tea to the English! Things finally seem to be working out for the women but there may be others who are just waiting for things to fall apart.
If I could go to a fictional store, The Tea Chest is one I’d want to visit. The way Josephine Moon writes about it, made me feel the cosy atmosphere, the aroma of brewing tea and the camaraderie of the four very different women who run it. Kate, Elizabeth, Leila and Victoria are all strong woman but each in their own way. Kate is caring and creative. Her relationship with her husband was lovely to read. The way Leila lived waiting on the sidelines and Elizabeth’s marriage break down contrasted nicely with Kate’s marriage.
This is a book about relationships. Those between husbands and wives. sisters. parents and friends. The story navigates between each of the women as well as flashbacks to the two original owners of The Tea Chest, Simone and Judy. Often with stories like this it is hard to get the right balance between all the different stories but I thought Ms. Moon handled it perfectly. Each of the woman is searching for something. Self belief, proof they have what it takes in business, love – or maybe something completely different. The friendships they form whilst working at The Tea Chest gives them faith in life, love and most important – their own selves.
I am a tea drinker and enjoyed the different parts of tea which were mentioned in the novel. From the grower to the brewed pot – all aspects are explored at some stage throughout the book. I didn’t feel the tea aspect was over used but rather I liked that it was important to the story that the store sold tea.
This is a beautifully written debut novel dealing with relationships, life, love and tea. Filled with realistic and relate able characters, The Tea Chest is a fun and enjoyable read spanning continents and multiple pots of tea.
Many thanks to Allen & Unwin and The Reading Room for the review copy.