Review: Teashop on the Corner- By Milly Johnson

So, I'm going to be honest here.  I don't know if I will ever have the ability to read a book by Milly Johnson without a bit of bias.  It was only a little over a year ago that I first read one of her books.  She had long before been recommended to me by a fellow Jill Mansell fan on twitter.  It took me over a year to finally grab up one of her books, but once I did, I was hooked.

Milly Johnson has that rare gift of being able to truly bring her characters and the places alive.  She is so wonderful at connecting her reader to her books.  You can visualize running around in the little towns, or villages in her books.  She also knows how to balance drama with a light hand and leave her world a light, and peppy world in which you would love to be in.

The thing that has always drawn me to the world of chick lit is that while there are problems, things always turn out ok in the end. Milly Johnson's books are all like that. She has a unique ability to create a world in which you would love to live, with characters you would either love to be, or be friends with. I find myself wishing that I could form strong bonds as most of the characters in her books tend to do. There is always a huge element of friendship to all of her works. I always wish that I could climb inside the book and live the lives of the women within the books. This book was much the same, but a bit of a departure in that it had a bit of a darker overtone lurking. There were definitely some darker situations than what you may find in your everyday chick-lit. But she handled them with the utmost respect and while she definitely talked about a few of the darker truths of the world she didn't make it too central to the story, but just a small aspect. She balanced it perfectly.

As with all of Milly Johnson's works, her book is filled with memorable and likable (and unlikable) characters. Her characters are probably one of the things that draws me to her work in the first place. She truly is able to connect the reader to her characters and makes you empathize with their plights. You feel like you personally know them all. This book was no different and offered us a great cast of characters in which to fall in love with, get pissed at, and cry with.

I guess I'll start out with Leni. She is afterall, the owner of the teashop and as the title centers on the teashop, it seems a good place to start. We don't meet Leni straight off, but it isn't long until we are introduced to this central character. We don't really know much about Leni. She owns the teashop, which has just opened up and she has a daughter Anne whom sends postcards from her travels. The teashop and Leni is what brings all the cast of characters together. It's the conduit for all of these strangers' lives to intermingle. Shaun, is Leni's landlord, and a bit of a grump. He seems a man who doesn't trust very easily and hasn't had the happily ever after. He is emotionally distant to anyone and everyone he comes into contact with. Although he's a grump, he isn't an unlikable guy by far.

I am the type of reader who must be intrigued within the first few pages to keep my attention. If you can't keep my attention and grab me within the first couple of chapters (1 if your chapters are long) then I will most likely put your book down, never to return again. This book DEFINITELY grabs you in the very beginning.

The book starts off at the funeral of the husband of Carla Pride. There we of course, meet Carla. We automatically sympathize with her in her grief. However, that grief is soon overshadowed and her grief is combined with anger and hurt. Before the dirt is even thrown on her husband's grave, Carla learns that everything she thought she knew about her life for the past ten years is not what it seems. Immediately our empathy for her grief turns into getting mad on her behalf.

We then meet Molly and her twin Margaret. Molly is the more laid back and subdued twin, while Margaret is the confident and speak your mind twin. I loved Molly and Margaret's storyline immediately. It doesn't take much to see that Margaret while not overbearing, definitely is her sister's keeper as well as her champion. She would fight to the death to protect her twin. Molly is a single lady with only one child who is now grown and with a family of his own. Immediately I didn't like the sound of her son as he sounded like a complete ahem.... Margaret and her husband are about to head off on a cruise, this will be the first time in their lives that they have been apart for any length of time. And while she doesn't voice it, Molly seems a bit unsure of how to cope without her sister near by. Margaret's husband built Molly a house next to their mammoth of a home years ago, so they have always been quite close in distance.

Then there's Will a self-employed Roofer who owns his own company. However, as we meet Will, his business is crumbling and he's about to lose it all. His trophy wife, Nicole decides that being poor isn't what she signed up for so she jets off shortly after learning of Will's newfound status. Will is a man who is definitely down on his luck. He has a great spirit about him though and you can tell that although his life might be falling apart, he's going to make his own way. There is one huge kink in rebuilding his life, brought on by the stress of losing everything, he finds that he's had an onset of fear of heights. He is mortified by the thought that he's a roofer who is afraid of heights, the irony isn't lost on him.

Each of these people's lives will intersect thanks to the Teashop on the Corner. They are all somehow drawn to the little shop and the lovely owner. It's kinda like a respite they each find there and they all form a strong friendship with one another. The characters I mentioned above, are just a few of the characters that we meet. I love a book that has different characters and plots within the main storyline. It takes a pro storyteller to be able to expertly weave the tale of multiple people so seamlessly.

You will fall in love with each of these characters. Even Molly, who is older, and I'm always hesitant when I read that a story has an older central character because I always am afraid that I won't be able to relate or that the story will be boring. But, when you have a writer as wonderful at her craft as Ms. Johnson is, then you are always in capable hands and she will never steer you wrong.

If you have never read one of Milly Johnson's books, I urge you to do so. If you love chick-lit, but without all of the x-rated bits then this is right up your alley. If I were to compare her to an American author, it would have to be Mary Kay Andrews. Not that they are exactly the same, but Mary Kay Andrews is so able to capture the south and it's charm and the same is true for Milly Johnson. Both ladies know how to entertain and how to draw their readers in, so it's you who is living within the pages.

You will get mad, you will laugh and you will also cry. There is a bit more sadness than I am used to, but sometimes, it's good to have that element too.

If you have read Jill Mansell or Katie Fforde, Sophie Kinsella or Marian Keyes, than you would truly enjoy this book. If you do buy it and read it, please tell me how you liked it !

Use the link below to grab your copy.  It's definitely an excellent purchase!

Thanks For Reading!  I'll TRY not to leave it so long before my next post.  Next time: "The One and Only" by Emily Giffin!


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