This lovely novel had me happily smiling - it just oozed with the power that friendship brings: its caring support, its unconditional love and its comfort in times of healing. It had real feel-good factor and despite its five hundred-odd pages I felt undaunted and delighted to be engrossed with the story.
The characters in this story included a grumpy but kind-hearted property developer called Shaun; a roofer called Will whose haughty, graspingly cold wife Nicole left him when their business failed; a bereaved `wife' called Carla who discovered her `husband' Martin was a bigamist when, at his funeral his first wife appeared; a talented and hard-working teenager called Ryan, who lived in a chaotic and dysfunctional family but who was determined to make good; a mother called Molly whose bullying son Gram and wife Sherry were trying to move her from her lovely home and into care; a terminally ill man looking to rectify his past mistakes and find forgiveness, even though his mistakes broke the heart of a loved one; and finally a lonely retired doctor seeking company and friendship in a newly opened corner teashop. This teashop will become their lifeline.
When Leni opens her dream teashop these lonely and unhappy individuals all gravitate to her specially created cakes, enjoying convivial chatter, speciality teas and beautifully created menus. Friendships are seeded, they grow and flourish, friendships that will strengthen and last a lifetime. Gradually all of these lonely and wronged characters find the strength to rebuild their lives and with a little sprinkling of magic move on to a new fuller, happier life.
Milly Johnson has a real gift for story telling and has once again written an absorbing and charming novel about love, loss, recovery and finally redemption. I really enjoyed reading it.
This book was an absolute joy to read, I totally and utterly loved it right from page one. Leni’s teashop “The Teashop on the Corner” is the sort of tea shop anyone would love to have on their doorstep. Scrumptious cakes and coffee, surrounded by gorgeous items of literary based stationery to buy with a clientele who like nothing better than to have a good literary debate.
Leni’s customers all have something in common. They are all at crossroads in their lives and need someone for advice, support and comfort. As they all get to know each other and forge real friendships, they all seem to find that certain something that was missing from their lives. They quickly form a really close knit little group of friends, friends who will look out for each other in hard times as well as good.
There are a number of characters and the story is told from several alternating viewpoints, but I never seemed to get confused by the changes in perspective. I really enjoyed every separate strand to the story and would be hard pushed to claim any favourite, although if I had to, I would say that Molly’s story did really capture my heart a little.
It is a book that will make you smile, stuffed with (mostly) lovely characters, full of charm and lovely cakes. It is definitely a feel good story for most of it, but I have to warn you, a few pages before the end, I had tears absolutely pouring down my face. This is an absolutely fantastic book to read. Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher for the ARC in return for an honest review.
on 21 June 2014
This is my new favourite Milly Johnson book. I could not put it down! It made me laugh, it made me cry. A great story with believable characters. Recommend for anyone wanting to spend a few relaxing hours but be warned: it is definitely a book that will make you forget to switch the TV on and you may end up with burnt dinner!!
on 23 June 2014
A beautifully written book with some wonderful characters which had me blubbing like a baby at the end. For a lovely uplifting read with a great story that isn't too sentimental you can't go far wrong with this book. Just make sure you have waterproof mascara on for the final couple of chapters.
Wow. That's the only word I can think to use to start this review. I started this book a bit apprehensively, would I enjoy it? It seemed like it might contain too many characters and I wondered if I would struggle with it. However fellow bloggers love Milly's books so I started it. Later that same night I had read 200 pages. A few hours ago I picked up my Kindle and have just finished the book at 1am. At the time of writing I've read 70 books this year and this is one of the best I've read. I am speechless and hoping I can put my thoughts into words that show how fantastic this book is. The story has left such an impression and affected me so much. I experienced so many emotions reading it, happiness, sadness, anger and I laughed. It's just the perfect book for escaping into this Summer!
The cast of characters here are just brilliant. Carla is at her husband's funeral when she finds out he isn't her husband at all as he never divorced his previous wife (that Carla had no knowledge of). Will Linton is on the verge of bankruptcy and his spoilt cow of a wife leaves him. Molly is under pressure from her vile daughter-in-law to move into a nursing home. These three characters each visit a small teashop run by Leni who has secrets of her own. Over time they start to become friends and we follow them as they attempt to move on with their lives.
I just loved this little Teashop. It just sounded perfect, but not too perfect that you couldn't imagine it existing. The one thing I'd say about this book is that the characters and the story lines all feel very, very real. In fact some of the stories felt so real that they just broke my heart. Molly's story in particular. I was seething at how she was being treated by her son and daughter-in-law who were both scum of the Earth characters. As the book progresses and we learn more about Molly I was rendered speechless. Molly is just a wonderful character. The joy she found at the Teashop and the friends she made left me feeling really happy for her, it was almost as if I knew her. The thought of any of my family treating my Nan how Molly was treated makes me feel sick.
One thing I would say is that certain parts of the book didn't surprise me as it felt to me fairly obvious where the story was going. That said though it was very enjoyable reading the book and waiting for the characters to get to that point. The story with Leni in particular I worked out but it still left me shocked. Carla was a favourite character of mine, I was really rooting for her to move on with her life. I also liked Will (with the Danny Dyer accent..). One thing I would've liked is more scenes with his bitch of a wife getting her comeuppance. I usually like the bitchy characters but Nicole was just vile.
For me though one of my favourite characters was Ryan who is from a broken home and is basically living in poverty. He seems like the last person you'd expect to see working in the Teashop. But work there he does and he forms a close bond with Leni which was really heartwarming. I just loved their story and the journey they both went on over the course of the book alongside Shaun who plays a huge role in their part of the book's story. The reason why he got the job in the first place was also really touching, it's for something most of us take for granted and don't consider the value of.
The book is around 500 pages long and usually it might feel like a chore to read a book that long. Well for me it wasn't long enough. The book ended and I was left wanting more. I wasn't ready to leave these characters behind and I imagine they will remain in my mind for a long time. Milly hasn't just written a book, she has written a truly remarkable, heartwarming (and heartbreaking!) and life affirming story which has left me reevaluating my own life. Some of these characters don't get the chance to change their lives, and it's left me realising that it's about time I stopped wallowing and did something about changing mine. Alongside the sad parts there are some really touching and wonderful parts in this book. It's a book you can't really talk about without giving away the plot but if you only take one thing from this jumble of words make it this: read this book and love this book. It is one of those special books that only come along a few times a year, and when they do they deserve to be read, loved and talked about. I only wish mine was a beautiful paperback not an ebook! Definitely going to be getting some of Milly's previous books as soon as funds allow!
on 20 June 2014
Ok, first off, I have a confession to make... This is my first ever Milly Johnson book...
Where to start? I didn't expect to feel the range and depth of emotions that I felt while reading this book. The cover leads you to think of a fluffy, sweet chick lit novel. It is still that, but so much more too. It took me a little while to uncover the magic hidden within the pages, but as I read on, it all became clear. The universe conspires to bring people together for reasons that, at first, may be unknown to those being drawn together. I fully believe in that theory too, it's happened to me a lot.
The characters are complex and genuine. I formed opinions as soon as I met them and in most cases, they remained the same throughout. But my opinions were shattered (I was pleasantly surprised) in some cases. I really cared for these people. I wished them well, I actually cried for them and I was sad to leave them behind when the book ended.
The Teashop sounds divine! I really wish there was somewhere like that near me! The cakes, the gifts, the customers. All of it was just perfect and so inviting! I loved Pavitar and Harvey's "discussions", they always made me giggle. I found comfort in Margaret's gift. I have experienced similar situations and I understand how difficult it can be. Molly, Carla, Will, Shaun, Ryan - they were all wonderful. They became real as I read on. They climbed out of the pages and had tea in my front room... Milly has such a gift for character development. I wish I had half that talent!
A wonderfully warm hearted, special book about love, friendship and forgiveness. 5/5
I am now a solid Milly Johnson fan (not that I had any doubt!) and can't wait to devour all of her other books.
on 19 June 2014
A teashop that also sells all things book related, bags made specifically like a classic, cuff links with a cover on, there is nothing this tea shop does not sell. But it also has the ability to calm its customers. A perfect place for a book to start and characters to enter.
Milly does nothing wrong in her books, they are a perfect mix of laughter, joy. caring and general life; this one is no exception. Milly also tackles life problems, be it cancer, old age, family problems or anything she can tie in and it works every time.
There is only two things i Don't like when i have a Milly Johnson book
1. Life gets in the way and i have to put the book down to sleep etc.
2. The end, i hate coming to the end of one of Milly's books, but the characters go on in the readers mind and i am sure we will meet again!
on 7 October 2014
The moral of this novel is: when life gives you lemons, you should make a delicious lemon drizzle cake to cheer yourself up. As we meet the main characters, they are all at a low point in their lives and are struggling to find any joy in it. Yet as if by magic - or it may very well be the alluring smell of a freshly baked pie - over the course of several days they all wander into the new teashop in Spring Hill Square for a cake-shaped pick-me-up. They are warmly welcomed by Leni Merryman who, just like her last name, brings some much-needed merriness into these lost people's lives in the form of delectable home-baked goods, lively literary discussions and an unexpected friendship.
Will Linton has just lost his business and with it his money-obsessed wife and all his worldly possessions. With his positive attitude he doesn't find it a problem to start at the bottom of the ladder again. However if he ever wants to make it as a builder he needs to overcome his newly found fear of heights, or he will never be able to climb a ladder again - literally and figuratively. Carla Pride thought she couldn't feel worse after her husband Martin suddenly passes away, but at his funeral she discovers that he had been hiding a huge secret from her for many years and as a result she has to start all over again as well. And then there is the elderly Molly Jones, who has never been lucky in love. When her ex-husband suddenly re-appears, charming as ever and claiming he wants to make amends because he's about to die, she has to decide whether she can possibly forgive him for the terrible way he hurt her in the past.
While I own quite a few novels penned by women's fiction author Milly Johnson, as the stories sound right up my alley and the inviting covers always makes me want to stroke them in appreciation, I have not actually read any of her books yet. Until now that is. And boy did I love this one! So as soon as I can free up some time, I will grab that stack of unread novels and have a proper Milly Johnson weekend (there will, of course, be cake involved).
It did take me a few chapters to get The Teashop on the Corner and I actually started to doubt that it would live up to its inviting title and gorgeous cover illustration with dainty cupcakes, but all of a sudden I felt myself being completely drawn into it. I don't remember the exact point where this happened, but it was after the various storyline strands of the characters started coming together in that gorgeous literary cafe. They were no longer a random bunch of people, each with their own unconnected story to tell, but a close-knit group of friends sharing happiness, heartbreak and a lot of very special moments.
While I loved the characters and I felt myself getting really involved in their lives (and feeling quite emotional towards the end) the absolute best part of this novel was The Teashop on the Corner itself. The literary cafe sounded like a utopia to a book and cake lover such as myself. Filled with the alluring smell of freshly baked goods and offering a plethora of geeky bookish gifts (I need EVERYTHING Leni so carefully sources in my life), I desperately want to make a visit myself - and possibly never leave again. Why is this enchanting place fictional?! Fingers crossed someone is inspired by the wonderfully inviting descriptions of the cafe in this book and will create their own little piece of bookish heaven. I will definitely make a pilgrimage to that teashop when it opens its doors!
Filled with a wonderful mix of characters the reader will quickly fall in love with - not to mention a wealth of literary baked goods, must-have gifts and interesting debates - this is the perfect novel to enjoy on a relaxing Sunday afternoon with a freshly brewed pot of chamomile tea and a big slice of home-made cake.
on 14 September 2014
Firstly, I have to say that I completely forgot the synopsis above before reading the book, so I went in without knowing what to expect, other than people meeting in a teashop, which I really enjoyed. This book had me hooked from the end of the first chapter, from the get go this book is pulling out the big guns!
After you get over the that, you are introduced to a few more characters, all having some problems and throughout the book you really get to know the characters individually and seeing them become close friends through meeting in the ‘Teashop on the Corner’.
The teashop itself sounds wonderful, while I am not into reading classic books, I am unable to resist any bookish merchandise (especially if it’s stationary), and if ever a shop like this opens in my Somerset town, I will probably be bankrupt on opening day!
I really thought Carla was a lot stronger than she let herself believe, I wouldn’t have coped with what was thrown at her at all, she was amazing, and her story was so heart-warming to read.
Molly was a surprise for me, I thought her story was going to be mainly based on her despicable son and daughter-in-law, Graham and Sherry but a curveball was thrown, and it led to a more complex story, where you learn about her past, which was heart breaking, but it had light-hearted moments as well, visiting the seaside and riding on donkeys for example.
Leni was a breath of fresh air, she had such a sunny disposition, and it was really nice to see someone so genuinely, naturally kind. She hires Ryan, who is also such an amazing character, especially given the circumstances he was bought up in and takes him under her wing and this was so nice of her and just wonderful to read as their bond grew. However throughout the book you get hints of things that are wrong, and when this comes out, it is just terribly sad.
I almost thought that I was wrong in my suspicions but no, right as you’re getting prepared to bask in the warmth you get when completing a book such as this, you are hit with this and you need to recover again.
This book was funny, yet so heart-warming, I definitely think this is Milly’s best yet
on 10 September 2014
When I began reading this book I was slightly overwhelmed by the thickness (a good 492 pages!) but I knew it would be worth it.
By page 3 I was laughing out loud, and page 5 had me hooked with it's likeness to an Eastender's episode with it's own 'Duff-Duff'!
The book begins with one of the main characters (although they all become stars in their own right throughout the book) Carla at the funeral of her husband which is where the Laugh out Loud begins and the drama unfurls.
I love how Milly Johnson put this scene so close to the beginning because it really gets you hooked into the book quicker that a crochet hook!
We then meet three more characters, Shaun, Leni and Mr Singh. Leni is the owner of the new shop...The Teashop on the Corner with Mr Singh first being her customer and then her friend along with Shaun first her landlord, whilst friendship slowly mends his frosty heart.
More customers are drawn to the café through the dramas going on in their lives which unites them all in companionship and a friendship that's bonded like a books pages to its cover. From Jane Austen to Thomas Hardy, Heathcliff to Catherine... there is always book chat going on here, which fastly becomes a thrill of the café keeping the customers engaged in a literary chat any English literature professor would love to witness.
Will Linton has lost his business, his wife ups and leaves him with little to own so he finds himself homeless and jobless. Molly Jones' ex husband returns with more than she bargained for and family secrets unfold in a dramatic filled way that would win any soap award without a doubt. Then there's Molly's sister Margaret and her husband Bernard, who are the sweetest couple and family members to Molly. Whilst they don't appear in the book much, when they do it's captivating and sweet, especially when Margaret's ability to see the dead adds a touching and tearful scene that brings everything together.
Whilst Leni is always bright, cheerful and there to lean on should her friends and customers need to, she is harbouring secrets and pain, yet still she takes in a charming 15 year old boy who despite societies neglect is going against the grain of his family in order to be a better person.
When love, life and death collide, it's up to the Teashop on the Corner's new customers to repay Leni with the kindness and love that she's had for each of them.
Leni's teashop has been the talk on twitter among us chick lit reviewers and readers, because we all just want to go to the teashop to meet, have tea and cake with a twist! You see, Leni's Teashop is special and any book lover - bookaholic - book nerd etc will understand why we're so excited about this book (and the teashop). The Teashop on the Corner is a café and shop where you can buy classic book cover themed handbags, postcards, gift-tags, - it's basically a stationary addicts dream. The best news is that, you can purchase these contents - just visit Milly's website (links at the top) for more details
I was completely hooked throughout this book reading 50+ pages in a single sitting at a time. All I would say is make sure you've got a cuppa the side of you when you start reading, and cake (there is always need for cake), because you will be glued to the book (and its cover!).
To say that I HIGHLY recommend this book is a sheer understatement. This has to be the best read of 2014 for me! I just want more!!! I'd love to read a follow up book with a Christmas themed book - going along the lines of A Christmas Carol perhaps... featuring the characters from this book (hint hint Milly ;) ) .
(this was posted on my blog as a review - www.apageoffictionallove.blogspot.com