High Tea
Sandra Harper
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Buy *High Tea* by Sandra Harper online

High Tea
Sandra Harper
272 pages
November 2008
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Margaret Moore is tired of her life in L.A. The tea shop she owns, Magpieís Tearoom, bustles with enthusiastic patrons, baby showers, and small parties; on the surface, it looks wonderful. But Margaret is frustrated with her staff rarely (if ever) showing up on time, tired of the squabbling between her waitresses, both aspiring actresses, over roles they are both auditioning for, and sick of her head chef constantly toying with recipes rather than sticking to the old tried-and-true English methods of baking. When Margaret receives word that a representative from Tea Talk, a publication about tea, will be visiting the shop to review it, she panics. How can she pull together her shop and staff to make a good impression and garner praise? Margaret knows this could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Though Margaret has enjoyed her life in Los Angeles, living near her gay ex-husband and their wonderful grown daughter, Kate, she canít help missing her native England. She begins to wonder whether she has made the right choice in staying away from her homeland. As Margaret begins to review her life, she realizes what is important and what she really wants out of her future.

High Tea is a funny and sweet novel about lifeís challenges and rewards. Margaret is a compelling character who has lived much of her life before the reader meets her. This book isnít about developing Margaretís character; instead, the author presents the reader with a fully realized character at the beginning of the book. The reader merely gets to know Margaret, without seeing her evolve before their eyes. Itís like getting to know a new friend; you arenít there for the entire journey. You meet them at some point in their lives and get to know them through their thoughts, words, and actions.

The secondary characters in High Tea are also enjoyable and well-drawn. The most interesting of these is Lilly, Margaretís head chef. Her relationship with Deborah, a much younger woman, is unfulfilling, and Lilly is unhappy with her life. The other characters, Clarissa and Lauren, are actresses who argue over their roles and canít seem to get along because they are in competition with one another. Ironically, Clarissa is a wonderful actress but is past the ďacting worldĒ prime, whereas Lauren canít really act but is young and jaw-droppingly beautiful. These characters are well-written and fun, though most of the exploration of them is on the surface.

Indeed, High Tea as a whole is very much on the surface, but that works to its advantage. Itís a fun read thatís easy to digest. If you are looking for a light, fluffy read, look no further Ė High Tea is a safe bet.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Swapna Krishna, 2009

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