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by Amy Ephron


Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060786205
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
06/28/2005
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
345,910
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.12(h) x 0.50(d)

Overview

 

Rosemary Fell was born into privilege. She has wealth, well–connected friends, and a handsome fiance, Philip Alsop. Finally she has everything she wants.

It is then, in a moment of beneficence, that Rosemary invites Eleanor Smith, a penniless young woman she sees under a streetlamp in the rain, into her home for a cup of tea. While there, Rosemary sees Eleanor exchange an unmistakable look with Philip, and she sends Eleanor on her way. But she cannot undo this chance encounter, and it leads to a tempestuous and all–consuming love triangle –– until the tides of war throw all their lives off balance.

Inspired by a classic Katherine Mansfield short story, A Cup of Tea engages with its vivid –– and often amusing –– cast of characters, wonderful period detail, brilliant evocation of the uncertain days of World War I, and delightfully spare and picturesque sense of story.

 

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Ephron turns the notion of the good Samaritan on its head in a bauble of a tale about altruism gone horribly wrong. In New York City in 1917, well-to-do Rosemary Fell offers indigent Eleanor Smith tea, sympathy and shelter from the rain. Little does she suspect what sort of Pandora's box her somewhat patronizing generosity will open. After a friend of Rosemary's helps Eleanor find work in a millinery shop, it's Eleanor's destiny to become romantically involved with Rosemary's fianc, self-made Philip Alsop, as the U.S. prepares to go to war and duty-driven Philip prepares to do his part. Ephron (Bruised Fruit, etc.) alludes to the cataclysmic events about to occur, pitting sense against instinct as Philip leaves not one but two home fires burning brightly behind him. All of the period detail is correct right down to the last street lamp, but the book reads more like a treatment than a fully imagined novel. Ephron gives us a rich situation and a carefully drawn setting filled with recognizable types. But she gives us no character. Even for a lightly satiric period romance, this cup of tea is too thin and watery. (Aug.)

Related Subjects

  • ">Fiction - Other
  • ">Love Triangles - Fiction
  • ">World War I - Historical Fiction

    Read an Excerpt

     

    A Cup of Tea

    A Novel of 1917
    By Amy Ephron

    HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

    Copyright © 2005 Amy Ephron
    All right reserved.

    ISBN: 0060786205

    New York City
    January, 1917

    A young woman stood under a street lamp. It was difficult to make her out at first because she was standing almost in shadow and the mist from the ground, the rains and approaching night made the air and the street seem similarly gray and damp. It was dusk. A light rain was falling.

    A man walked up and solicited her. It startled her. She shook her head and turned away. Without another thought of her, he hailed a cab which stopped for him at once. She pulled the thin sweater, hardly protection from the rain, tighter around her shoulders as she stepped back from the curb to avoid the spray of dirt and water as the taxi pulled away.

    Down the streets a very different scene. In an antique store famous for accepting only quality estates and European shipments where not a speck of dust had ever been allowed to gather on the shelves, a woman, slightly older than the woman under the street lamp, stood in front of a display case. Her name was Rosemary Fell. Her clothing was exquisite. Her dark hair framed her face even though in the morning she had put it up severely but it was of such thickness that no amount of Coaxing, particularly in damp weather, could ever get it not to fall, a few moments later, softly around her face. She liked the effect and would sometimes play with one of the curls about her forehead when she wanted to appear as though she was thinking of something. Her stance was casual, almost disinterested, her gloves and coat still on as though she had not yet decided whether she had stopped in long enough to actually consider anything. Mr. Rhenquist, the owner of the antique store, was all over her.

    "You see, I love my things," he said, in low respectful tones, waiting for her reaction. "I would rather not part with them than sell them to someone who has not that"-he gestured with his hand displaying a pale green jade ring on his ring finger that Rosemary could not help but notice -- "feeling of appreciation which is so rare."

    He unrolled a tiny square of blue velvet and pressed it on the glass counter with his pale finger-tips. It was an enamel box he had been keeping for her with a glaze so fine it looked as though it had been baked in cream. "I saved this for you."

    On its lid, a minute creature stood under a flowery tree. A hat, no bigger than a geranium petal, with green ribbons, hung from a branch. And a pink cloud like a watchful cherub floated above the creature's head. Rosemary took her hands out of her long gloves to examine the box ...

    Continues...


    Excerpted from A Cup of Tea by Amy Ephron Copyright © 2005 by Amy Ephron. Excerpted by permission.
    All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
    Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

     



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