The Tea House On Mulberry Street – Sharon Owens
Penny and Daniel, the owners of Muldoon’s Tea Rooms, are partners in a marriage that is slowly falling apart. Muldoon’s Tea Rooms, on Mulberry Street, though in a dilapidated condition, has a quaint feeling to it, and has a number of regular customers. David’s cakes and savouries and Penny’s warm smile make the tea house a second home for the patrons, among whom are a struggling artist called Brenda, an unhappy magazine editor called Claire, the perpetually-trying-to-lose-weight-but-addicted-to-food Sadie, and a loving husband called Henry who is puzzled about the behaviour of his wife. The Tea House On Mulberry Street is the story of each one of these patrons, as well as Penny and David’s.
Set in the small town of Belfast, Ireland, the book is typical chick-lit, with typical chick-lit-ish characters, but has a warm feeling to it. It is a mindless, light read, actually, a feel-good type.
It is not a must-read or anything, but a fun one if you are looking for something that doesn’t stress out your brain too much. I read it only because I wanted such a book to read at the moment.
The School Of Essential Ingredients – Erica Bauermeister
The School Of Essential Ingredients is about a Monday-night cooking class run by Lillian, who believes in the magic of food and its power to heal and soothe. Lillian runs an exclusive restaurant, Lillian’s, where guests always seem to find just the kind of food, just what they need, even though they themselves didn’t know of it. The restaurant is the setting for the cooking class which is, this time, being attended by special students. There’s a couple – Helen and Carl; Antonia, an Italian who is struggling to make sense of America, Chloe, a young woman who is yet to make something of herself in a harsh world; Ian, who is unable to understand his artist mother; Tom, who seems perpetually sad; and Claire, a young mother who has lost herself in the demands of her two young children.
I totally loved this book, and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I loved the way the characters of each student and that of Lillian have been sketched out. I loved how the author has described the problems each one is facing oh-so-subtly, so beautifully done that you feel for each and every character. I loved the author’s language, lyrical without being boring. I loved the descriptions of the food in the book – they are glorious! I loved the hint of magic in the story, which the author could easily have over-done, but has not. The book has been classified as chick-lit several times, but I wouldn’t say so. It is much more than brainless chick-lit.
At the end of the book, I was left with the feeling that it ended all too soon, and that I wanted more. Luckily, there is a sequel to it – The Lost Art Of Mixing. I can’t wait to get my hands on that one now!
Highly recommended. Do grab a copy soon.
Have you read any of these books or both? What are your thoughts about it/them?
What are you reading at the moment?