Love isn’t always a piece of cake…
Laurie Davis has always followed her passion. After escaping family drama to start a new life in New York City, she’s up for whatever challenges life brings. So when an opportunity arises for her to use her travel industry expertise and serve as an assistant and tour guide for her idol, Pamela Lambert-Leigh, star of television’s Tea-Time with Pamela, she jumps at the chance.
But Laurie’s exciting adventure ends up entailing a lot more than scouting locations for the cake queen’s new cookbook when Pamela’s sassy mother and sulky, rebellious daughter tag along for the trip. As they cruise around bakeries in New England trading local delights like Red Velvet Cake and Whoopie Pies for British specialties such as Victoria Sponge and Bakewell Tarts, more secrets than recipes are revealed.
Now, in between rediscovering romance, learning to forgive family, and finding the best dessert on the East Coast, Laurie, Pamela, and the gang might find there’s nothing a nice cup of tea, a sweet treat, and a little bit of friendship can’t heal…
Bubby: Ahhh. British people. Check! Romance. Check! Plot twists galore. Check! Fabulous fattening food. Check! Check! All wrapped up in a big red double-decker English bus. The Traveling Tea Shop made me ever so happy! I love the descriptions that Belinda Jones comes up with – for example, there’s a man who is described as “all vegan-tofu-yoga-crystals”. Paints quite the picture, doesn’t it? (I’m afraid my man would be more of “all red meat-peanut butter cookie-mountain biking-remote control”…)
Sissy: And I’ve got a “red meat-carrot cake-hiking-power tools” kind of guy. The Traveling Tea Shop by Belinda Jones was almost sheer torture for me. I’m currently on a very strict eating plan and all the descriptions of cake and various confections literally brought me to my knees with grief and weeping! However, since I am a complete professional when it comes to reining in my emotions and having self control, I got past the food despair and was able to get lost in this very witty and entertaining tale.
Bubby: Sorry, I got stuck at “complete professional” and “self control”. Excuse me whilst I laugh hysterically and roll about the floor…O.K. I’m done now. Where were we? Oh yes. Traveling through New England on a bakery tour. Seriously, Sissy, if we made sure to go on a long power walk after each bakery, could we do this for our next girls’ trip? Please? We can skip the drama and romance though – that’s for when we’re at home!
Sissy: I truly want to go to New England after reading this book. And wouldn’t it be fun to go in a double-decker bus with crazy grandma Gracie as our driver? The character of Ravenna was an interesting one, too. How many of you know a spoiled and pouty teenager with an inappropriate boyfriend and a mother who is afraid to discipline her? I know a few of those. The way Laurie deals with Ravenna is perfect. And the way things turn out in the end will make you glad you went on the journey with them.
Bubby: Poor Laurie! She signs on to be a personal assistant to a famous British chef and travel around to fabulous bakeries and ends up with all sorts of angst and travail! Messy relationships, deep dark family secrets, accidents, mayhem – she has to deal with it all! At least she gets to eat cream buns and fruity scones with double-devon cream and doughnuts and boston cream pie and…sorry. I got lost in the baked goods for a moment there. Take over, Sissy. I need a moment.
Sissy: While Bubby’s off in the corner fanning herself, I’ll tell you that exciting things start to happen when the ladies meet two gentlemen named Harvey and Charles in the midst of their journey. Shall I say that pudding and sparks fly? And who do you think says “This man is yummier than any cake I ever tasted?” I’m not telling!
Bubby: Whew! I’m back. Man, I need some chocolate! The Traveling Tea Shop by Belinda Jones is like a deep, rich, cream-cheese filled Red Velvet Cake in a world of stale Twinkies. Eminently satisfying and delicious! The observations on American culture by a bunch of Brits were hilarious as well. And of course, it has the happiest of happy endings.
Sissy: With clever dialogue and fabulous characters, The Traveling Tea Shop is a decadent confection of a book. Now pardon me while I book my cake tour of New England, starting in New York at Veniero’s Pasticceria with it’s “never-ending parade of cannolis” or maybe at Lady M, the upmarket zen cake boutique where “five minutes in there and I swear your hair starts to de-frizz”. Bye!
Click HERE to buy The Traveling Tea Shop by Belinda Jones