Jo Janoski\’s Blog

Writings, Observations, Poetry, Stories

The Tea House On Mulberry Street-Book Review April 14, 2007

Filed under: JO's Reading List — jojanoski @ 9:18 pm


Sharon Owens


A friend (Thank you, Shelli!) lent me this book, a novel by a fresh, new, Irish
writer, Sharon Owens. I’ve never read a book with a more lively, diverse cast of
characters. Penny and Daniel Stanley are the proprietors of the Tea House, with
regular patrons stopping in each day of every color and stripe. There is Brenda,
the eccentric artist who writes a letter to Nicholas Cage every day; the Creepy
Crawley twin sisters; Henry, whose wife pushes him out of the house and her life
in efforts to build an artsy conservatory where her cultured friends can meet;
Sadie, wife  of the aforementioned conservatory contractor, her 
husband  who is too busy building conservatories to notice her anymore; and
Clare, who yearns for the love she lost decades before.

The center of this story’s universe is the Tea House. It is the spoke of the
wheel, the constant, the one place where all these lives intersect. The
characters sit across from one another at its tables, each person in his own
world, while still taking part in this one over a congenial cup of tea and one
of Daniel’s luscious cheesecakes. (By the way, the cheesecake recipe is at the
end of the book.) But besides all the delicious food you read about, the more
delectable tales of marital strife, loneliness, and expanding awarenesses will
keep you hungry for more. Their lives are all separate, and yet become one
within the Tea House.

The characters are open and lively, pulling you in and making you a part of
their worlds, their hearts. You feel their thoughts; you feel their pain. You
care about what happens to them … like family. And difficult problems, like
marital infidelity, move along with clarity of the mind and heart to sound
conclusions. The ending chapters came as a surprise to me when the Tea House
comes to be no more under dramatic circumstances. I feared there was no coming
back to the good times in the wake of utter disaster, but a happy solution does
come about. You’ll be happy, too, if you read this interesting story, full of
wisdom, wit, and fun.

Copyright 2007 JO Janoski


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