Spring Hill Square is a pretty sanctuary away from the bustle of everyday life. And at its centre is Leni Merryman's Teashop on the Corner, specialising in cake, bookish stationery and compassion.
And for three people, all in need of a little TLC, it is somewhere to find a friend to lean on.
Carla Pride has just discovered that her late husband Martin was not who she thought he was. And now she must learn to put her marriage behind her and move forward. Molly Jones's ex-husband Harvey has reappeared in her life after many years, wanting to put right the wrongs of the past before it is too late. And Will Linton's business has gone bust and his wife has left him to pick up the pieces. Now he needs to gather the strength to start again.
Can all three find the comfort they are looking for in The Teashop on the Corner? And as their hearts are slowly mended by Leni, can they return the favour when she needs it most...?
A story of love, friendship and second chances that will warm your heart and rekindle your hope.
The Teashop on the Corner by Milly Johnson was published by Simon & Schuster on 19 June 2014, and is Milly Johnson's tenth book. I was delighted to be asked to be part of Team Milly which is being co-ordinated by Books and the City and who kindly sent my copy for review.
Imagine a warm and welcoming tea shop. A place that sells delicious home-made cakes and scones and wonderfully flavoured teas and coffee. Imagine that the tea shop is also a literary-themed gift shop - full of wonderful fripperies that you just have to buy .... a handbag created from a copy of Pride & Prejudice; a set of Bronte themed postcards; china mugs featuring Dickens characters and paperclips in the shape of Jane Austen's profile. Imagine then that the customers of this tea shop like to discuss books and that the owner of the tea shop encourages readers by offering a discount on special days. Just imagine .....
The Teashop on the Corner is such a place and I've spent the last few days right there, along with some wonderful characters. Sadly, the teashop does not really exist, but has been created by the fabulous Milly Johnson as the setting for her tenth novel .... and in my opinion, her very best story by far.
Leni has just opened her teashop in a development of new shops, she has created her shop with great care and it encompasses everything that she loves most in life; cake, books and meeting people. The story revolves around the teashop and it's customers; a bunch of people who would be unlikely to meet if it were not for this little oasis of calm that begins to be very important to them all.
Carla, newly widowed and in shock. Not because her husband died so young and so suddenly, but because she found out that he really wasn't the person that she thought he'd been. Carla feels as though the past ten years have been a lie. Molly and Harvey; an elderly couple who divorced years ago and have been reunited and are discovering so much about each other and what they have missed.
Will; bankrupt, homeless and now single after his materialistic wife has made it quite clear that she is not prepared to live without the big house, the fancy car, the hair extensions and the designer bags. Pavitar; retired surgeon, a true gentleman and so very lonely after the death of his beloved wife.
Shaun is the developer of the site. A big brash Irishman who doesn't show emotion and really doesn't do lovey-dovey and all of that mush. And Ryan; a teenager from the roughest family in Barnsley who just wants to read books and distance himself from his loutish father and convict brothers.
And finally there's Leni - owner of the teashop, baker of cakes, fixer and arranger, but who is hiding heartache and pain beneath her smiling exterior.
Each of these characters come together to form a near as damn it perfect story. A light and easy read with characters who seem so real, yet it deals with some quite serious and emotional issues at its heart.
Milly Johnson writes with warmth and with humour, she creates characters that the reader really really wants to be friends with, she has created a teashop that every book lover would dream of visiting. She understands people and how they operate, and her characters are charming and oh so realistic.
A story packed with love and relationships and the power of friendships. There are regrets and there are consequences and the reader learns how life can be altered so quickly, but how humans really can pull together to bring comfort to others.
Milly Johnson fans will be delighted by The Teashop on the Corner, and new readers of this author will wonder why they've not read her books before now.
I loved the setting, the characters, the plot and the humour. I was engrossed from page one and would heartily recommend this as the perfect feel-good read.
Five-foot-tall Milly Johnson is a half Barnsley, half Glaswegian writer of greetings cards, novels and shopping lists featuring gin and buns. When not writing she is either reading, learning Italian, mixing with the Yorkshire glitterati, getting up the council’s nose about a Dodworth Road Pedestrian Crossing or ironing school clothes. She lives with her two boys and a quartet of mad animals near her Mam and Dad in the middle of Barnsley, South Yorkshire.
Find out more about Milly Johnson at her website www.millyjohnson.co.uk
Follow her on Twitter @millyjohnson
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