Thursday, July 17, 2014

Review: The Tea Shop on Lavender Lane by Sheila Roberts

The Tea Shop on Lavender Lane (Life in Icicle Falls #5)
by Sheila Roberts
Release Date: June 24th, 2014
2014 Harlequin Mira
Paperback Edition; 400 Pages
ISBN: 978-0778316183
Genre: Fiction / Contemporary
Source: Review copy from Pump up Your Book

3.5 / 5 Stars

When it comes to men, sisters don't share!

After a fake food poisoning incident in L.A., Bailey Sterling's dreams of becoming a caterer to the stars collapse faster than a soufflé. Now Bailey's face is in all the gossip rags and her business is in ruins. But the Sterling women close ranks and bring her back to Icicle Falls, where she'll stay with her sister Cecily.

All goes well between the sisters until Bailey comes up with a new business idea—a tea shop on a charming street called Lavender Lane. She's going into partnership with Todd Black, who—it turns out—is the man Cecily's started dating. It looks to Cecily as if there's more than tea brewing in that cute little shop. And she's not pleased.

Wait! Isn't Cecily seeing Luke Goodman? He's a widower with an adorable little girl, and yes, Cecily does care about him. But Todd's the one who sends her zing-o-meter off the charts. So now what? Should you have to choose between your sister and the man you love (or think you love)?

My Thoughts
The Tea Shop on Lavender Lane is one of those books that I enjoyed because it was fun and entertaining, but didn't really have a lot of depth to it.  The atmosphere and setting of a small town reminds me of when I lived in a small town when I was in my teens, a place where everybody knows everybody and everybody's business; they also tend to remember everything you did when you were young, including all the memorable ones that you would rather forget.  I've always thought of Sheila Roberts book in the same vein as Heather Graham, ones that I come back to time and again just for the sheer enjoyment of them, but definitely not because I am looking for anything complex or in-depth, and that's okay.  

I rather enjoyed the first half of this novel much more than the second half as I liked Cecily's dilemma and rather slow romance with Todd Black.  The chemistry was quite believable and I liked the interplay between them very much - to the point where I was quite hoping they would end up together in the end.  When Bailey comes back to Icicle Falls, under circumstances that I didn't quite buy into but decided not to question too much - isn't the United States known for their lawsuits? are you kidding me? a woman fakes a poisoning and you just sit back and take it and let it ruin your business? - and decided to enjoy the ride.  To be honest, I didn't enjoy this half of the novel quite as much.  Bailey was rather annoying as a character, a bit whiny and the klutziness kind of drove me batty as it just seemed so fabricated.  And up to this point, where I was really enjoying Cecily's character the most, she turned into this annoying person who began doing the whole-world-is-against-me thing and I found it annoying too.  Sisters argue, yes - I have two of them so I do know a bit about that - and I know that a lot of things that happened during childhood doesn't necessarily mend itself during adulthood, and I did find that part rather interesting.  Aren't throwbacks during an argument fun?  I also liked how Cecily and Bailey had different viewpoints about their life growing up; for example, Bailey loved sharing a room with Cecily and didn't see a problem with it while Cecily felt that her space was constantly being violated by her younger sister but refrained from saying anything, even as an adult.  Fun stuff!!  What I did like in this novel is the author's portrayal of family and the characters' loyalty to each other.  There was a lot of support for other family members, respect, and love, and I really loved how the girls were treated by mom - so funny to know that mom can still rule to roost even when the girls have fled.  

I did have a problem with the love stories though.  I had a difficult time making the transition from Cecily and Todd to Bailey and Todd and then trying to buy into Cecily and Luke.  It just didn't work for me, and I wasn't overly crazy about the ending.  I would have liked to see Bailey with somebody else.  I think things just happened too quickly over such a short time, especially when there was such a nice development between Todd and Cecily.  Or I could be completed biased and just didn't like where the author wanted me to go.  I understood Cecily's behaviour, even though I thought she was acting childish, and thought the other family members could have been a bit more understanding of her situation.  

The Tea Shop on Lavender Lane is one of those books that I read because I love the people in Icicle Falls and going there is like visiting old friends.  And while I didn't really like the second half of this novel very much, I did like the characters and thought they were quite developed; it's the love stories I didn't like and didn't overly much enjoy.  The tea shop is one I would visit myself and I am planning on trying the scones this weekend on my friends to see what they think (love those recipes at the back of the book).  Now with all that being said, the next book in this series, The Lodge on Holly Road, comes out in October, and I will definitely be reading that one.  Who can resist Christmas at the Lodge?

About the Author

Sheila Roberts lives in the Pacific Northwest. She's happily married and has three children.  

Writing since 1989, Sheila’s books have been printed in several different languages and have been chosen for book clubs such as Doubleday as well as for Readers Digest Condensed books. Her best-selling novel ON STRIKE FOR CHRISTMAS was made into a movie and appeared on the Lifetime Movie Network, and her novel THE NINE LIVES OF CHRISTMAS has just been optioned for film and is slated to be a Hallmark movie later this year. Her novel ANGEL LANE was named one of Amazon’s Top Ten Romances for 2009.
When she's not making public appearances or playing with her friends, she can be found writing about those things near and dear to women's hearts: family, friends, and chocolate. You can visit Sheila at her website,

Her latest book is the women’s fiction/romance, The Teashop on Lavendar Lane.

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