When I started reading this, I was expecting a cosy read as suggested by that cheerful, Christmassy cover. So I was rather surprised to meet two of the characters in rather dramatic circumstances! Rose and her mum Flora have been abducted and are tied up in a drifting boat on Christmas Eve, the day before Rose’s wedding to Ben. We then scroll back a few months to find Rose and Ben happily planning to get married
Elaine Everest has created a great cast of characters you really warm to in this book. Through them we see that good, caring side of human nature. As well as Rose and Flora, there are all the girls who work as Nippies at the Lyons Teashop in Margate. Ben’s rather well to do family also feature – his mother Lady Diana, sister Ruth and two young daughters. I particularly liked how Lady Diana had no airs and graces and just accepted Rose into their family.
Themes of friendship, community and supporting people through difficult times run throughout the book. There’s a strong sense of making the most of every day and making the best of things. There’s the constant threat of air-raids and the worry for their men away fighting. I had an uneasy feeling about the sudden appearance of Rose’s half sister and her husband, who didn’t really seem to want to build up family ties but rather had a secret agenda. They proved to be a very different kind of threat to Rose’s happiness.
Books in the saga genre aren’t something I read very often but I very much enjoyed spending Christmas with the Teashop Girls. It’s a warm, nostalgic read, the kind of comforting book to enjoy on the short, chilly winter days. It’s sure to be enjoyed by fans of historical sagas or of books featuring strong women and friendship.
Thanks to Megan at ED Public relations for my review copy of the book. Christmas with the Teashop Girls by Elaine Everest is out now, published by Pan Macmillan, priced £7.99 as paperback original. You can order a copy from the Pan Macmillan website here: Christmas with the Teashop Girls
From the back of the book
It is late 1940 and the war feels closer to home than ever for Rose Neville and her staff at the Lyon’s Teashop in Margate. The worry of rationing hangs overhead as the Nippies do their best to provide a happy smile and a hot cup of tea for their customers. When a heavy bombing raid targets the Kent coastline, Lyon’s is badly hit, throwing the future of the cafe into jeopardy.
The light in Rose’s life is her dashing fiancé Capt. Ben Hargreaves and planning their Christmas Eve wedding. But she must also plan to take two new step-daughters into her life and get on the right side of her wealthy mother-in-law, Lady Diana. Is Rose ready to become a mother so soon?
When Rose’s half-sister Eileen makes contact, it seems that Rose’s dreams of having a sibling are coming true at long last. But her friends begin to suspect that something is not right between Eileen and her husband: just what are they hiding?
As the Christmas Eve wedding draws near, the bombings intensify in Kent and London, putting everything and everyone Rose loves in danger. Only one thing is for sure: it will be a Christmas she never forgets . . .
About the author
Elaine Everest, author of Bestselling novel The Woolworths Girls and The Butlins Girls was born and brought up in North West Kent, where many of her books are set. She has been a freelance writer for twenty years and has written widely for women’s magazines and national newspapers, with both short stories and features. Her non-fiction books for dog owners have been very popular and led to broadcasting on radio about our four legged friends. Elaine has been heard discussing many topics on radio from canine subjects to living with a husband under her feet when redundancy loomed.
When she isn’t writing, Elaine runs The Write Place creative writing school at The Howard Venue in Hextable, Kent and has a long list of published students.
Elaine lives with her husband, Michael, and their Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Henry, in Swanley, Kent and is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Crime Writers Association, The Society of Women Writers & Journalists and The Society of Authors as well as Slimming World where she can be seen sitting in the naughty corner.