When the latest Bahlsen Book club book, by Milly Johnson, arrived I saw the cover, and the title, and assumed it was going to be your standard woman's literature and, actually, I was quite pleased. I've been reading a lot of fantasy with epic heroes and big battles so I absolutely loved the idea of something a bit more normal, a bit more calming and easy to drift in to. In the past a standard, easy reading book, typically aimed at women is something I might pick up from time to time but wouldn't be something I'd have relished - Thank goodness for being sent books for review! It's helped broaden my horizons massively.
As it happens 'The Teashop On the Corner' wasn't standard in any way. I was right, to an extent, in that it is literature written for women and I was right that it was easy to read, but in assuming that it was going to be like other women's literature I was very wrong. To be honest it's, actually, quite difficult to pinpoint what it was about this book but I fell in love with it so so quickly - I normally enjoy this type of literature because of the simplicity but there was nothing simple about this book. The characters have rich, deep histories which are drip fed to you in little bits, here and there, which means that you got to know them slowly, throughout the book. The story lines themselves were so so separate to begin with but throughout the narrative they became so deeply, and beautifully entwined.
The story begins with a lady who's mourning at her husband's funeral, she gets up to put a rose on her husband's coffin but is interrupted... by his wife. You know a book's going to be interesting when it starts with something quite that crazy - Some writer's would've turned that in to daytime television style trash but Milly Johnson did nothing of the sort. This cliffhanger works, perfectly, to captivate you and draw you in to the story whilst, gently introducing the other streams of the plot.
The individual plot-lines are very different, the types of people aren't the sorts of people you'd expect to be together and that's where the magic comes in - The magic that is 'The Teashop On the Corner'. All of these people meet by discovering a sweet little teashop and getting to know each other, they come in to each others lives and their individual stories start to become linked. The way in which the complementing characters alter the individual stories is just wonderful, the way the friendships form are absolutely beautiful and it comes together in to something that just works on so many levels.
I started reading this book on an afternoon but didn't have much time to read. It was enough, though, to make me want to read more so once Ethan was in bed I began reading again and I didn't stop... until 6am. I kid you not, I read solidly for 11 hours (it was the night the clocks changed), that's how much I loved this book. I expected to like it, in fact I expected to really like it (The people over at the Bahlsen Book Club have a good taste in books) but I didn't expect to feel totally and utterly entranced by this book. I didn't expect to laugh out loud and to sob my eyes out whilst the rest of the house slept. There really is something magical about this story and I, simply, have to discover more by this author.
I've liked some women's literature before but Milly Johnson takes the genre and has such fantastic writing skills, character building, plot forming, emotion building skills that it becomes something entirely transcendent to the genre - I still can't tell you why, or what, or how. I can't tell you what one thing about this book did it - There were points when I had a 'hrm', there were stereotypes that I wouldn't normally forgive and, as always, I knew the twists and turns before they happened but none of that mattered because this book became one of those books that has stayed a part of me. It became one of those books that I will read again and again, without a doubt. I know very little about Milly Johnson other than the fact that she's going to end up costing me lots of money as she has a lot of novels and if the others are as good as this one then... oh dear!
You can pick the book up from Amazon for only £3.32 on Kindle or £3.50 (surprisingly cheap!) in paper back: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Teashop-Corner-Milly-Johnson-ebook/dp/B00DX7IRW0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1414877880&sr=8-1&keywords=milly+johnson+tea+shop+on+the+corner
*I was sent this book for the purpose of review but all opinions are honest and are mine (I wouldn't have read for 11 hours straight if I didn't love it, really!)*