The Travelling Tea Shop - Belinda Jones
Courtesy of Hodder Books
Laurie loves a challenge. Especially if it involves tea-time and travel. So when British baking treasure Pamela Lambert-Leigh needs a guide on a research trip for her new cookbook, she jumps at the chance.
Laurie and Pamela - along with Pamela's sassy mother and stroppy daughter - will board a vintage London bus for a deliciously unusual tour of the USA's East Coast, cruising from New York to Vermont.
To trade recipes for home-grown classics like Victoria Sponge and Battenburg for American favourites like Red Velvet Cake and Whoopie Pie.
All the women have their secrets and heartaches to heal. As well cupcakes galore, there's also the chance for romance...
But will making Whoopie lead to love?
I'm ashamed to say that this is the first Belinda Jones book that I've read. I am now kicking myself with what I have been missing out on with her. I have never in all my years of reading read anything so descriptive like The Travelling Tea Shop. It was an utter delight. The travel element to the book is sublime and you honestly do just melt into the gorgeousness, and for someone who wants to travel across America this has only made that yearning for it increase. Jones has such a clever way of not only drawing you into each chapter with her fantastic plot and scenic, wonderful descriptions, but also allows you to experience that in your own way. Does that make sense? Like some people describe something and every single person sees the same thing. This way every person not only gets the same thing, but how we put ourselves in it and use the description is all different. To me that is a clever thing and to me now Belinda Jones from only one book to me will be the Queen of descriptions.
The Travelling Tea Shop follows Thirty-Eight year old Manhattan living, English born and bred Laurie Davies as she embarks on a double decker bus journey of cake and awe with Britain's best baker Pamela Lambert-Leigh.
What happens to be a deep and emotional plot has been twisted into a fun, flirty read giving it a great balance between love and heartache. Characters are kept to a minimum allowing you to get to know them fully and relate to them. You actually think you're part of them most of the time. Heroine Laurie I must admit did grate on me slightly. Her constant know it all'ness really got my eyes rolling. I understand she had to be well researched for the job on travel and cake, but she always had some kind of information to say that was somehow appropriate to the situation. It just didn't sit right with me.
I absolutely fell in love with Pamela's mother Gracie though. A cool, quirky, young at heart grandmother with a meddlesome streak and a wicked sense of humour. She totally stole the show for me.
Everything about the book fits perfectly together, and to be fair a book about cake is not going to be bad is it?
It was great reading about the different varieties of cake and where they originated from. I actually watched the programme that's mentioned in the book, United Cakes of America on the Food Network channel, so it was such a treat to get a bit more feeling and insight of everything because of that. I knew one day my obsession with the food channels would pay off.
This is a total love fest from start to finish it really, really is. It's a warm and wonderful delight that will have you wrapped around its little finger, then wanting to shout at it at the end when you realise your jeans are too tight and you've put 2lbs on with all the cake you've ate whilst reading it.
Twisted family secrets, long lost memories, disasters, romances and one very red English double decker va-va vooming in search of cake and clarity. Delightful.