Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Traveling Tea Shop: A Novel by Belinda Jones

The Traveling Tea Shop: A Novel.  Belinda Jones. Penguin Group (USA). March 2015. 368 pp.  ISBN#: 9780425279601.

Laurie Davis gets a phenomenal opportunity – the chance to travel up the New England coast with the famous TV cooking star, Pamela Lambert-Leigh, the star of Tea Time With Pamela.  They are both British and totally enchanted with CAKE!  No, it’s not your average, store-bought, boxed style cake but hand-crafted, beautifully decorated and scrumptious-tasting cake, doughnuts, cupcakes or muffins! Yummy!

Laurie’s job is to canvas the best of these bakeries or shops in New York, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The planned new cookbook will cover each creative space, baking process and a description of what it’s like to taste each unique specialty cake in every location. Laurie will be both assistant director arranging visits and tour guide in the surrounding area of each location they visit. Sounds like a dream vacation, doesn’t it?  Not quite!

Pamela has insisted that her feisty mother, Gracie, be their driver for the project.  Gracie is no doddering, elderly lady but a feisty mother and grandmother.  She had a graced marriage, a fact that inspires Laurie who doesn’t exactly have the greatest love history.  Gracie will be driving a double-decker British bus; only Laurie doesn’t realize that Gracie drives every automobile like she’s competing at the Indianapolis 500 final competition!

Add to the mix that Pamela’s daughter, Ravenna, will be accompanying the group.  Ravenna is a very young woman a/k/a obstinate super-brat, to summarize, so nasty that if it were not for Laurie’s wise, sassy and funny responses, this reader would have quit reading; but Laurie saves the day and engages the reader so cleverly that one wants to keep flipping the pages to see if there’s a chance at redemption for this terror of a daughter.  In many other ways, Ravenna also triggers Laurie’s thoughts about her own troubled relationship with her own sister.

So what mouth-watering, standard or exotic cake will make you determined to travel?  This novel absolutely makes one want to go to each site to see the intriguing and beautiful area and test each delightful dessert?  Although this is a novel, the places and desserts are obviously well-researched and actually exist in reality!  No, it’s not a romance but just a lovely romp in which one gets to visualize and taste the best that New England has to offer!

Highly recommended reading, traveling and tasting!

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