A few weeks ago, I ventured to my local library to peruse the shelves for favourite authors, interesting book jackets and something new that would tickle my fancy. Well it wasn’t hard to find!
On that day, I came across an author I had never heard of, let alone read, before – Amy Ephron. The three books of hers that were sitting on the shelves were small, dainty, and wonderfully inviting.
So much so, that only two came home with me that day – the third, I’d read before even leaving the library. Just 200 pages in length, A Cup of Tea, is set in New York (1917). The story of well-to-do socialite, Rosemary Fell, who not lacking in social privileges, money, a handsome fiancé or status in the Big Apple, takes a lone woman on the street home for a cup of tea one wet afternoon.
The story then becomes one of the street woman, Eleanor Smith, who after meeting Rosemary - and Rosemary’s fiancé (yes, such eye contact does indeed spell trouble!) – she begins working in a hat shop, the very same hat shop that is making Rosemary’s wedding attire. As war impacts on the people of New York, so too does this impromptu act of daring kindness impact on Rosemary, who finds herself caught in a love triangle that doesn’t promise a happy ending.
I was absolutely captivated by this book – hence finishing it before even getting my library card out! It was a simple, but incredibly clever story, written succinctly but without ever losing pace or plot. There was enough description of characters, feelings, environments and tension without endless details, and before I knew it I was swept up in both Rosemary and Eleanor’s lives.
I’ve since learnt that A Cup of Tea was Ephron’s national bestseller, which spent 37 weeks on the LA Times bestsellers list and has since been bought by film producer Jerry Bruckheimer. It also won the 2005 Southern California Booksellers Association award for fiction, received the Booklist Best Fiction of the Year 2005 award and was a Barnes and Noble Book Club selection – thanks Wikipedia!
I haven’t tended to rate books since blogging, but this one definitely gets 5 stars!