I wish I could remember who originally recommended this series of books to me. I’m seem to think that it was someone I randomly bumped into in a store and started chatting with…
I should have loved this book.
The main character in the book owns a tea shop and much of the book takes place in it. I’m an absolute tea junkie. I love tea and harbor not-so-secret hopes of one day owning and operating a used book store/tea lounge.
The story is set in Charleston, SC, one of the most historic and colorful cities in the US. I love historical places.
The story is a “cozy” – a murder mystery in which the violence is downplayed. I usually like those.
Well, what should have been the perfect novel storm just plain fizzled for me.
Somehow, Childs made the historic district of Charleston seem bland and dull – a non-entity. The characters were incredibly flat and uninteresting. The scenes in the tea shop didn’t give me the peak into the world of tea that I had hoped for. The mystery itself was OK – I didn’t figure it out before the end. The problem was that I really didn’t particularly care who did it. If I wasn’t something of an obsessive completionist, I don’t think I would have finished the book.
I really hate giving a book a bad review. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to write a novel, to get all the elements just right. The amount of creativity and persistence required to get a book finished and published is really something remarkable. If it were my book and some schlub on the internet was dumping on MY work, I’d probably be upset. Still, my book reviews come down to one question – “Would I recommend this book to a friend?” The answer in this case is “No, not really.”
The up-side for Childs is that her books ARE popular. Tea really is a booming business and tea shops like to sell her books. Her books have been mentioned to me several times when people find out that I’m a big fan of tea and that I like to read. I’ve checked out her website and it seems that she has two other series based on two other booming businesses – quilting and scrapbooking. I’d bet that people into those hobbies are also familiar with Childs’ work. Say what you will about her writing, but Childs has hit upon an interesting niche – hobby-oriented mystery series.