I have read quite a few Jane Lovering books now and was really looking forward to this latest. I’m very pleased to say I wasn’t disappointed! As I’m getting older (just a little older!) I’m finding that I enjoy reading about characters closer to my own age and often get irritated with younger characters. Not so with this book. Even though the characters were probably only in their late twenties, I felt I could really identify with them.
ChocLit books always say they have an irresistible hero and Josh was certainly that. He’s not your typical hero, mind you. He is certainly good looking, although tries his best to hide it with unkempt hair and grubby clothes. He lives in a very, very basic caravan and seems to prefer spending time with his birds of prey rather than with the rest of the staff at Monkpark Hall. Throughout the book we discover he has had a difficult childhood which explains the way he is. Amy can see beneath the surface to “that beautiful, scared man with whom I shared a friendship that felt as though it teetered on the edge of being something else.”
Amy is the other main character and she runs the teashop at Monkpark Hall. She really doesn’t have much self-confidence, thinking of herself as plain and overweight. It was really quite sad to read about how her childhood had led to this lack of self-belief. The story is told through the alternating voices of Amy and Josh and we learn that they are both very attracted to each other but both afraid, for different reasons, to acknowledge this attraction. Can they learn to trust each other and find happiness?
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I felt I really got to know Amy and Josh so well and understand their insecurities and doubts and well as their dreams and hopes. I loved how they very gradually came to believe in themselves and each other as they worked together to try find out what new Property Manager Edmund Evershot was up to. I had to smile at Josh’s many nicknames for Edmund. In fact, in common with all Jane Lovering’s books, this book was full of humour and had me laughing out loud many times.
Josh’s birds of prey played an important role too. Through them he was able to show love and be loved (if birds can love) in return. He had a special fondness for Skrillex, an owl who had been injured and couldn’t fly. I had a bit of a soft spot for Skrillex myself. I was really willing at least one of the birds to take a chunk out of Edmund, he certainly deserved it. I don’t think there can be many women who would think that being compared with an owl would be a compliment, but when you read how much Josh thinks of his birds you know he means well when he tells Amy, “You’ve not got a face like a goblin. You look like Skrillex, all eyes and your face is kind. Dunno why women want to look all think and sharp, makes them look like they don’t want a bloke to love, they want one to disembowel.”
The Little Teashop of Horrors is another winner from Jane Lovering. It’s quirky and funny, explores some dark issues and has a proper romantic story at its heart. Jane Lovering really knows how to write a story that will have you wrapped up in the lives of her characters, following them through their problems and cheering on their triumphs. A perfect read to leave you smiling.
Thanks to Liz at publishers ChocLit for sending me a copy of this book. Little Teashop of Horrors is published today (28th March 2017) as an e-book and you can order a copy online by clicking here. On publication day, though I’m not sure how long for, it is only 99p!
From the back of the book
Secrets, lies, carrot cake – and an owl called Skrillex!
Amy Knowles has always been the plain sidekick to her pretty best friend Jules. And whilst the tearoom they both work in on the Monkpark Hall estate in Yorkshire is not exactly awash with eligible bachelors, it’s obvious where the male attention is concentrated – and it’s not just on the cakes!
There is one man who notices Amy. Joshua Wilson also works at Monkpark, where he flies his birds of prey for visitor entertainment. He lives a lonely existence but he has reasons for choosing isolation – and, in Amy, he may have found somebody who understands.
Then a management change brings slick and well-spoken Edmund Evershott to Monkpark. He’s interested in Amy too, but for what reason? Josh suspects the new manager is up to no good – but will Amy? Because Edmund could leave her with much worse than a broken heart …