Title: The Seafront Tearoom by Vanessa Greene
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction, Romance
Length: 354 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
From the author of The Vintage Teacup Club
The first rule of afternoon tea: never rush. Take time to savor it. Just like friendship…
The Seafront Tearoom is an insider secret in small-town Scarborough – a beach-front haven with the best tea and cakes in town – and journalist Charlie Harrison would love to put it on the map with a feature in her magazine. But single mom Kat Murray doesn’t want to see her favorite sanctuary overrun by tourists, and begs Charlie to seek out other options. She offers her help, as a “tea obsessive,” and so does French au pair Séraphine Moreau, whose upbringing makes her a connoisseur of everything sweet and indulgent.
Together the three women will scour the countryside for quaint hideaways and hidden gems, sharing along the way their secrets, disappointments, and dreams – and discovering that friendship, like tea, takes time to steep. But learning too that once you open your heart, the possibilities are endless.
The Seafront Tearoom by Vanessa Greene is a charming novel of friendship, love and new beginnings. A heartwarming story featuring a unique storyline and a delightfully appealing cast of characters that I recommend to readers of contemporary women’s fiction.
Set in the small seaside town of Scarborough, a local tearoom brings together three very different women who unexpectedly form a close friendship. Local Kat Murray is a single mom who is friends with the owner of The Seafront Tearoom, Letty Hill. A position as an au pair brings Frenchwoman Séraphine Moreau to the small town while it is her love of pastries takes her to the town’s best kept secret. Charlie Harrison’s visit the charming town coincides with her latest writing assignment featuring Britain’s best tearooms. When a family emergency leaves her short of time to visit and review a variety of tearooms in the vicinity, Charlie enlists Kat and Séraphine to help her make the deadline for the articles. As three women bond over their love of tea, they become a support system for one another as they traverse through a few difficult times in their lives.
Charlie’s visit in Scarborough to meet her new niece is fraught with tension. Her relationship with her sister Pippa has been strained for quite some time and just as she about to depart, Charlie discovers Pippa’s perfect life is falling apart. Although she is on the verge of achieving a coveted promotion at work, Charlie volunteers to stay and help Pippa through this difficult time. While trying to balance work and family, Charlie enters into a relationship with Letty’s son Euan, but can their fledling romance survive once she returns to London?
Kat is struggling to make ends meet so she eagerly accepts Charlie’s job offer. The temporary job coincides with her son’s impromptu trip to Scotland to visit his father and grandparents so she has plenty of time to devote to visiting tearooms and writing the reviews. Her relationship with her ex is tenuous and the situation between them deteriorates further after he makes a shocking announcement. A surprise romance brightens her life but a stunning revelation threatens a cherished friendship.
Séraphine eagerly accepts the au pair position in an attempt to temporarily escape from a difficult situation at home. Not wanting to upset her family, she is torn about what to do about an unexpected romance so she hoping a little distance will give her a new perspective about the relationship. Her first few weeks with her young charge Zoe are just the distraction she needs, but Séraphine is soon frustrated by her inability to connect with Zoe. Her new friendship with Kat and Charlie gives her the courage to follow her heart but Séraphine still worries about her family’s reaction to her news.
The Seafront Tearoom by Vanessa Greene is a light-hearted, entertaining novel that touches on a few serious issues without angst or drama. The storyline is true to life and the characters are beautifully developed with realistic problems to overcome. The friendship between Charlie, Kat and Séraphine is quite touching and easily withstands the difficulties they each encounter in their respective lives. A few unexpected plot twists keep the story moving at a brisk pace and the novel’s conclusion is heartfelt and satisfying. A lovely novel that I greatly enjoyed and highly recommend.