I'm an indoor person, though I like my nice long walks. This time of year I am even more firmly ensconced, curled up on a sofa as far away from the piles of snow as I can get...whenever I can help it. Time to catch up on my reading! And what better accompaniment to a good book than a soothing cup of tea.
Though I'm not the ultimate wine or even tea pairing expert, I like to think every book has its perfect tea match. I haven't done too many book reviews here recently, so I thought I'd kick start it once again with a tea/book pairing series.
The Brontes Went to Woolworth had gone out of print for a while, but was reissued last year. I'm glad it was. Though certainly not the most realistic plot I've ever come across, it was really charming. It centers around three sisters, who develop whole stories around imaginary friends. These friends are mostly real people who they've read about in newspapers, or saw in a role of public office. They develop their own little fan fictions around these people, mostly for the benefit of the youngest daughter.
As a middle child of an imaginative family of three sisters, I felt right at home with the Carnes. I'm not sure everyone would be comfortable with the idea of how believable their made-up acquaintances were to them (though some were, in fact, living breathing people, as we get further reminding of as the story goes on.) I loved it, because in a way I can identify. As a child, I saw a photo of a bank president, gave him a whole new name and pretended he was my husband. It's a mystery to me why I chose him, but that made the Carnes so relatable to me. Those who can't relate could commiserate with the poor governess, who just doesn't understand what's going on, and why the girls indulge themselves in fantasy to that degree. For a moment, actually, the point of view threw me off, as it began with Deidre's (the middle girl) first person, then occasionally moved to third with Miss Martin and others. After a while I got into the swing of things.
The story gave an answer to a number of "what ifs" I confronted when transitioning from childhood into adulthood. Also, without giving away any spoilers, coming from a less innocent time, I almost suspected something sleazy would occur between the daughters and the object of their imaginings. I'm quite glad I was wrong.
A highly lighthearted but not entirely sugarcoated read.
As one of the sisters' real life imaginary friends was a judge they affectionately called 'Toddy', I recommend a hot tea toddy, perfect for a cold winter's day and with just enough kick of rum to add to the whimsy of it all. If you're a teetotaller, you might try a nursery tea, with lots of milk and sugar.