Tina Milano is a counselor who facilitates some group meetings at Milly’s tea shop. One rainy day she nearly runs straight into Zack Cooper as he delivers fresh produce to the shop. She thinks he’s kind of cute, and Zack says the same about Tina to Milly. Which gives Milly an idea.
Zack’s wife left about four years ago, leaving him with two kids heading into their teen years. He’s been losing his parenting grip and has no clue how to get back a relationship with his kids. Milly asks Tina if she ever takes on pro bono cases–and if she would help out this friend of hers. Tina agrees, and then finds out it’s the hunky produce guy.
His kids walk in on Tina and Zack’s very first meeting at the tea shop and immediately assume Dad has a girlfriend, and it’s about time, and when was he going to tell them? Tina and Zack stammer a bit but let it go, both assuming this will give Tina more opportunities to find out what makes Dylan and Sherry tick.
As you can guess, they fall for each other and things get complicated and then resolved. This type of romance novel isn’t in what is new, plot-wise, because we know how it will end. It’s in the characters and the setting. I got a free copy of Tea for Two through the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance. If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll be able to guess the reason this particular book caught my eye.
**Pausing while you think about it.**
Yep, you got it. Zack Cooper is a farmer who sells his fruit and vegetables locally through a farmers’ market, you-pick days, and delivering boxes to various restaurants, bed-and-breakfasts, and (of course) the tea shop. This real food bit, as you know, is my ‘thing.’ This novel isn’t about farming or local foods or healthy eating. It’s about “the delight of second chances, warm friendship, and unexpected romantic encounters.” In this case, the farm was a backdrop to the story, not an integral part of the plot.
I’m more-than-average sensitive about how farmers are portrayed, and I wasn’t smitten with Zack at the beginning. He seemed stereotypical–a bit bumbling and clumsy, dropping food on his clothes–that sort of thing. He wasn’t presented (to my eye) as somebody to fall in love with, as a HERO. And yes, as a farmer and local food advocate, I resented that a little! Of course, his kids think he’s a moron, but it would be hard to find teenagers, especially troubled ones, who didn’t think their father was out of touch. Thankfully his mannerisms seemed necessary to the plot and lessened as the story went on, and I enjoyed reading their tale.
Tea for Two is the second book in Tea with Millicent, a series of stand-alone novels by Trish Perry. About herself, Trish says: “I started writing seriously about seventeen years ago. Up until then I thought I had finally figured out what I wanted to do when I grew up: I went back to school and got a degree in Psychology. I was drawn to how our minds and emotions work. But while writing for my classes, I found myself drawn to how we relate to one another’s minds and emotions. Hey, guess what? That’s what stories and novels are all about (good ones, anyway)! Before the writing began, I worked for attorneys in Washington, D. C. I worked for the Securities and Exchange Commission. And I was a stockbroker. A horrible stockbroker. How do people do that? Take responsibility for other people’s financial futures? Yikes. I’m perfectly happy to take responsibility for the amount of time any one person wants to spend reading my books. If you enjoy the experience, then know that we both enjoyed it together. I love that about books.”