Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Cup of Tea by Amy Ephron

A Cup of Tea by Amy Ephron (1997) is a quick read because it's a slight book. I had high hopes for this story set in New York City at the beginning of America's involvement in World War I.

Well to do Rosemary is shopping one rainy evening and sees a shivering young woman standing under a street lamp. Rosemary invites this young woman, Eleanor, home for a cup of tea. When Rosemary's fiance, Phillip, arrives and can't take his eyes off Eleanor, Rosemary sends the young woman on her way with a raincoat and some money. Rosemary thinks this will be the last she'll see of Eleanor. Unbeknownst to her, Rosemary's best friend, also taken with Eleanor, gives Eleanor a contact for a job which ensures that the mysterious Eleanor will be on the periphery of Rosemary's life and very much in Phillip's life.

What I wanted from this book was more character development. The writing is so sparse that it was hard to know the characters. I kept reading to see if more would be revealed about them. Why was Eleanor standing under the street lamp that night? Was she waiting for someone, or was she a prostitute? We don't find out much about Eleanor. It was hard to get too invested in a story where the reader is kept at arm's length.

Also, I wanted a more authentic feel to the story. The ending was quite dramatic but felt a little contrived. And I wasn't crazy about the theme that if you do something nice for someone, something terrible will happen.

As I said, I had high hopes for A Cup of Tea, but it left me a bit disappointed.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, too bad! I read this so long ago and don't remember anything about the plot. It was not a favorite, nor was it a book that I passed on to my mother or sisters... maybe a middle of the road book for me.