Tea and Chocolates
Review is by Molly
The year was 1914. Two houses stood near one another on a Pittsburgh street. In one was a girl living in luxury. In the other was a girl living in poverty. The lives of Emily McNamara and Gracie Rooney were to be intertwined despite Gracie’s dogged attempts to see that they were not. The girls met first as children entering school for the first time. Emily’s wealthy mother did not appear to see her child’s loneliness. Mrs Rooney only looked in envy at the big house where Emily lived as she imagined what Mrs Mc Namara might think and do.
Each child was shaped in part by her mother’s words and feelings for the life of the other. Gracie’s near overwhelming jealously for the life she believed Emily to live grew until she was nearly overcome with it. As the years passed and the girls became women Emily quietly went about doing what she thought was good for those around her while Gracie allowed herself to be used by a man bent upon artifice. Gracie was unaware that Emily was the one who provided the refuge Gracie needed when she was the most desperate. Gracie’s marriage to a kindly doctor provided some of the style and money Gracie had long sought. However, her resentfulness toward Emily continued unabated. The Great Depression, widowhood and loss of much of what life has to offer are all part of this tale of two women who live lives close in proximity, distant in substance.
Jo Janoski has woven a puissant tale around the lives of two very different women. Writer Janoski is a poet, photographer and now a writer of compelling novels. Tea and Chocolates is an absorbing tale featuring a well written and interesting premise. Reader attention is caught from the opening lines as we meet Emily preparing for school. Energy moves the narrative along. Dialogue is used to introduce the reader to the character of each of the major players. Backgrounds are filled with enough detail to draw the reader into the setting. The characters of Emily and Gracie are well fleshed, plausible and forceful. Janoski has deftly snared the basic nature of variance inherent to us all and presents a full picture of human nature with wit and style in this easily read fast paced work.
Gracie, who is depicted in the full ignominy of a woman consumed with wanting what she believes someone else has, is a calamitous figure. Gracie sets out to better herself only to find that she has worsened her state even more. Emily too knows suffering before the tale runs its course.
Dialogue is masterfully directed as the various players interact with one another. Writer Janoski presents a excellent and highly entertaining work in Tea and Chocolates.
These reviews are personal opinions only and in no way reflect other readers' opinions of the books discussed.
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