When I picked up The Tea Chest, I was expecting a typical woman-fiction, one of my favourite genres, very much like Cathy Kelly in writing. But I was surprised by how wrong I was. Though The Tea Chest is all about women and their struggles, it is not about the emotions, rather about the practicality of life – about how three women overcome problems, not only in their native country, but also in a completely foreign land.
The Tea Chest is all about what the name suggests – not only saving a long running business from an investor who wants a sell-out, but taking it to the next level, a new branch in London after two successful branches in Brisbane and Sydney.
Kate Fullerton, the new owner of The Tea Chest, is a beautiful and creative tea designer who knows nothing about running a business, which is what she is now required to do – open a new branch in London in only six weeks.
Leila is a successful editor, trying to curb her attraction towards Lucas, a work mate, because she cannot get him. All of this and more leaves Leila jobless and depressed.
Elizabeth suddenly realises that the life she has been leading with her husband is everything but reality – while she is dreaming of leading a happily-ever-after life with her husband, he has different plans that lead her to return to her parents’ in London.
The best thing about this book is how each of the characters develop. While Kate is shown as an extremely loving and caring mother of two boys, when the time comes, she does not need to sacrifice her career or her dreams, like other mothers, because she has a very understanding and loving husband, who sees the bigger picture and does not mind staying at home for the kids, while Kate embarks onto an unknown journey, with loads of risk.
Josephine Moon experiments with the structure, jumping between past and present. While this might feel a little odd to some readers, it works for me.
The Tea Chest is a must read for anyone who enjoys experimenting with new authors and a different style.
After a long time, I came across a book which was difficult to put down – a definite page turner, brilliant story that was perfectly presented.