Book Review: “The Travelling Tea Shop” by Belinda Jones

Cover of "The Travelling Tea Shop" by Belinda Jones.

Happy September, everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful August and that September is just as good or better than August (and that it’s filled with wonderful books to read)!

I’m back with another book review, and this time I’m reviewing “The Travelling Tea Shop” by Belinda Jones! Here’s a summary so we know what it’s about:

Laurie Davis has always followed her passion. After escaping family drama to start a new life in New York City, she’s up for whatever challenges life brings. So when an opportunity arises for her to use her travel industry expertise and serve as an assistant and tour guide for her idol, Pamela Lambert-Leigh, star of television’s Tea-Time with Pamela, she jumps at the chance.

But Laurie’s exciting adventure ends up entailing a lot more than scouting locations for the cake queen’s new cookbook when Pamela’s sassy mother and sulky, rebellious daughter tag along for the trip. As they cruise around bakeries in New England trading local delights like Red Velvet Cake and Whoopie Pies for British specialties such as Victoria Sponge and Bakewell Tarts, more secrets than recipes are revealed.

Now, in between rediscovering romance, learning to forgive family, and finding the best dessert on the East Coast, Laurie, Pamela, and the gang might find there’s nothing a nice cup of tea, a sweet treat, and a little bit of friendship can’t heal… ”

Plot development: 3 out of 5 stars

Setting/Worldbuilding development: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Overall, the main plot was slow and slightly lacking, due to it being just one giant road trip of sorts across America (or rather in one area of the United States of America) to exchange recipes so Pamela can create a new American cookbook. However, it was enriched by describing the different areas they went to to get those recipes, as well as the various relationship-developing subplots. I think the subplots are actually the overall strength of the book, as it lead to great character development and relationship development. My main critique about the setting, however, is that it did get a bit difficult to track all the places that the characters were going to, due to the fact that they were travelling to various places in America.

Character development: 4 out of 5 stars

Relationship development: 4 out of 5 stars

Individually, the characters don’t have a lot going for them in the beginning quarter of the book. However, what helps all the characters develop through the rest of the book are the developing friendships between each other. Pamela and Laurie click together fast due to their love of baked goods and other shared interests, and the two interacting are a joy to read. Gracie herself was also fun to read, as well as Kirsty,What I was surprised about was the reveal as of why Ravenna had such sour behaviour: It’s because she was currently in an abusive relationship with her boyfriend, Aeon. This turns into a sort of bonding moment between Ravenna and Laurie as Laurie draws from her past not-so-great romantic experiences to help Ravenna get out of her current relationship safely.

I think the relationships developed in this book were fine for the most part, but the friendship development was much stronger than the romances for sure. It makes sense partially because there was more plot and character focus on the friendships, especially between Ravenna and Laurie as well as Laurie and Pamela, but I just think the romance could have been stronger or better-established because they felt too love-at-first-sight-esque. I also think the shaky-turned-to-better relations between Laurie and her sister Jessica could be better-written, mainly because their subplot and conflict’s resolution gets smashed into the last chapter and it should have been better drawn out as of how they resolved things.

Overall, I’m rating this book 4 out of 5 stars! 

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