Everyday Tidbits...

Be Kind. Do Good. Love is a Verb.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Cup of Tea: A Novel of 1917...Review

About the book:
Rosemary Fell was born into privilege. She has wealth, well–connected friends, and a handsome fiance, Philip Alsop. Finally she has everything she wants.


It is then, in a moment of beneficence, that Rosemary invites Eleanor Smith, a penniless young woman she sees under a streetlamp in the rain, into her home for a cup of tea. While there, Rosemary sees Eleanor exchange an unmistakable look with Philip, and she sends Eleanor on her way. But she cannot undo this chance encounter, and it leads to a tempestuous and all–consuming love triangle –– until the tides of war throw all their lives off balance.

Inspired by a classic Katherine Mansfield short story, A Cup of Tea engages with its vivid –– and often amusing –– cast of characters, wonderful period detail, brilliant evocation of the uncertain days of World War I, and delightfully spare and picturesque sense of story
.

While this is a well-written short novel, I was disappointed. Based on a short story of the same title, the setting is New York City in 1917 during World War 1. Rosemary, a young wealthy socialite, invites Eleanor, a penniless young woman home for tea. What should be an act of charity starts a series of chain events affecting the lives of several people, and ends tragically.

The writing is beautiful. The author conveys depth and feeling with a modicum of words, yet I found myself wishing for more information about each character. Truly, it reads like one of those difficult short stories we all read in high school or college. You remember them, I'm sure. Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily" or Updike's "A&P" where the reason for reading it is completely lost on you. The ones where no matter how hard you tried to interpret them, according to your teacher, your interpretation was wrong!

I think this would have been better as a longer, more developed novel.

Thanks to my local library for having a copy I could borrow.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 6/08

* *
2/5 Stars

No comments:

Post a Comment