Late night, a good book, warm tea and then some nice dreams..Ahh life is so good!! :)
I experienced all the above yesterday when I took up Tea With Emma when I couldn't sleep. Amidst the silence of the night broken only by the very faint night sounds, I had only my tea and this splendid book for company.
Tea With Emma is the first novella in the Teacup Novella series consisting of four books. I loved the way Diane has structured her story. She tells the story through Lucy who is an author having affections towards the UPS guy Mark, who by the way is just too handsome (sigh), and lives alone with her dog, Gertie. Lucy receives a parcel from her father which contains her late aunt Lucille's teacups, who had been a collector and collected vintage teacups from all over the world!
The teacups transport Lucy to the past when she had spent one summer with her aunt and had loved all her tea parties and the stories she told about each teacup she had collected. This gives her inspiration to write four stories based on each teacup and so starts our first story which follows two friends, Maddie and Lanie who have just returned from a Jane Austen tour from England and aim to bring the Austen culture to Austin by opening a tea shop. The story introduces us to Maddie's Nana Rachel, Jonathan who adores Rachel, Dr. Ian Grant who has formed a bad impression of Maddie and Lanie based on his experiences during the flight from England where he constantly listened to their incessant chatter and despite his repeated rebukes could not get a single moment of quiet. As if this torture was not enough, a lone wheel from their bag leaves him on crutches with a bad sprain in his leg!! :)
I also loved the character of the mysterious cyber friend of Lanie's, Jeff. A terrific character treat, this book hooked me from the start and I was bemused by Maddie's often disastrous attempts at being matchmaker!!
The whole grouchy Dr. Grant part and the sweet Maddie's attempts at forging a friendship with him and also aiming for his forgiveness was interesting. The quaint and cozy tea sampling and cake tasting sessions were just yum and I loved every second of it. What with all the quiet and the coziness of my couch I could feel myself sitting with Maddie and Nana in their kitchen while they discussed their recipes for the upcoming tea shop, "The Chawton Tea Room" which they named after Austen's cottage, "Chawton Cottage"!
I was warmed by Lanie and Maddie's deep friendship and the selfless love between Nana and Maddie. The unrequited care shown by Jonathan for Nana is endearing and I sincerely wished they would have a happily- ever- after.
I had read the third installment in the series, Home to Walnut Ridgefirst and though all books are different but still after reading this first book I am able to understand the history of all characters and the story of Lucy and Mark better. Needless to say the covers of both the books from this series are catchy and attract the reader with their warmth inspiring settings.. :)
Lucy aptly describes her idea of Maddie and of Tea With Emma as
"A hopeless romantic in a modern -day twist to Jane Austen's Emma... in Austin?"
A 4.5 out of 5 to Tea With Emmaand a strong recommendation to enjoy reading this book along with your warm cup of tea for a perfect refreshment and an inviting journey to Jane Austen's time of the perfect English tea parties "with cinnamon scones or wedges of mouth watering Scottish shortbread". A few recipes provided at the back of the book, courtesy of "The Chawton Tea Room", are simply wow and I am definitely going to try them out for my own tea party!! :)