As I continue the trend of reading shorts, which is not generally my cup of tea, so to speak, I brought out a book I have had on my shelf for over a year. A Year of Teatime Tales by Angela Webster McRae is a series of "52 tea-themed stories to fill your cup and warm your heart." If you are a fan of all things tea, chances are you are already familiar with Angela and her blog Tea with Friends, It was recently ranked in the Top 100 Tea Blogs by Feedspot. Which I wouldn't have ever dreamed was a thing, but I found it on facebook and confirmed it with snopes, and apparently there are thousands o f tea blogs out there, and McRae's is one of the top ones. Impressive. All of that to say that Angela McRae knows tea.
Beyond that, Angela McRae knows how to write. Her stories are succinct and direct, with each and every word chosen with care and precision to maximize the effect of her writing. She could have subtitled this "There shall be no skimming." Not that you will want to skim, but if you are one of those skimming speed readers, you will miss something, it's guarenteed.
I wish I had recognized what was to be had in this book when I bought it, and I would have skipped buying my Grace for Each Moment in January and would have used this instead. Each of these stories captures something very "true" and the characters are all vivid portrayals. I would be hard pressed to choose a favorite, but Rose early on in the book said something very profound to me, and Hannah, just a girl from later on, reminded me of someone I used to know. They are absolutely stories about tea, but more than that they are stories about life, about young love, old love, forgotten love, they are stories about growing old and being young. They are stories about appreciation and value. McRae took her time with this book and it is beautifully written. It is cozy and quiet, just the way a teatime should be. She has a second book, Dainty Dining: Vintage Recipes, Memories and Memorabilia from America's Department Store Tea Rooms, which I think I may have to pick up.
I suspect that we will see more from McRae, she is a quality writer, and I anything she produces will be exacting and precise. I hope to see more from Angela Welbster McRae, but for now, I'll satisfy myself with follwing her Tea with Friends blog and letting her book sit on my desk, for whenever I need a little story about life, I mean, tea, a story about tea.