The Seafront Tearoom
I’m a sucker for an English tea. Cream teas are my favorites served with Earl Grey, tarts, cream puffs, and delicate cucumber sandwiches – which is why I found myself drooling while reading The Seafront Tearoom. Have a scone and some strawberry jam on hand. You’re going to get hungry.
Charlie Harrison is an up and comer at Indulge, the magazine she works for. She loves being a foodie and finding fabulous restaurants to share with her readers. She doesn’t love working with her cheating ex, the man who embarrassed her just months before their wedding in front of all their co-workers. No matter. She’s up for the editor’s job if she can turn their December edition into a monumental issue. She knows she can. She has the perfect idea – highlighting traditional, independent tearooms all across England.
But before she can start she has to visit her sister and meet her new baby. Family visits always being a recipe for disaster for working women, Charlie soon finds herself stuck in the small town of Scarborough. As she helps her sister settle her nieces and nephew into a new routine, she finds a charming little seafront tearoom that would be perfect for her article. On the downside, the locals want to keep it secret. On the upside, the people who frequent the shop are fantastic.
In that way of novels, Charlie is soon making friends with many of them. There is kindly, serene Letty, the shop owner who bakes all the delicacies herself and who loves to dispense motherly advice. There is a secret in her past which is slowly ripping at the fabric of her life but her friendship with Charlie may just help her resolve it. There’s Kat, a struggling single mom who turns out to be a fabulous writing resource for Charlie. She has some problems with her ex but her practical yet loving nature has her overcoming every hurdle. And then there’s French au pair Séraphine who loves to bake. Her young charge is a nightmare but as she gets to know the story behind the girl’s behaviors she realizes that courage and kindness can fix many of the problems we face.
As the ladies bond over cups of Darjeeling and delightful bits of éclairs they discover that life has its challenges but also its rewards. For Kat the reward is renewing an old friendship with another single parent and realizing that maybe neither of them has to go it alone. For Charlie it is finding Euan and realizing that Scarborough may have some perks London just can’t compete with. And for Séraphine it is finding the courage to pursue her love affair with Carla, a relationship of which her family would not approve but that makes her very happy.
This book reminded me very much of Debbie Macomber and Jenny Colgan. The problems all have happy resolutions, the messiness of life is bandaged over with the kindness of the people in it and young women all have great girlfriends and even better boyfriends. It’s light, happy reading where everyone gets an HEA, even if that isn’t a walk down the aisle at the end of the book. Like the scones the book praises, it’s light, fluffy and thanks to the added sugar, sweet.
I was in the mood for just such a read when I picked up The Seafront Tearoom and absolutely raced through it. I think if you like the authors I mentioned or just enjoy the type of story described you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.