Gossip from Thrush Green excels them all with its extended tribute to tea time on the first and last pages.
In far too many places in England today, the agreeable habit of taking afternoon tea has vanished. "Such a shocking waste of time," says one. "Much too fattening a meal with all that dreadful starch," says another. "Quite unnecessary, if one has had lunch or proposes to eat in the evening," says a third.
All very true, no doubt, but what a lot of innocent pleasure these strong-minded people are missing! The very ritual of tea-making, warming the pot, making sure that the water is just boiling, inhaling the fragrant steam, arranging the tea cosy to fit snugly around the precious container, all the preliminaries lead up to the exquisite pleasure of sipping the brew from thin porcelain, and helping oneself to hot buttered scones and strawberry jam, a slice of feather-light cake or home-made shortbread. Taking tea is a highly civilized pastime, and fortunately is still in favor at Thrush Green, where it has been brought to a fine art.
I'm working my way through the whole series and am enjoying it very much. I read Books One and Two last year and bought hard copies of the next five while in the U.S. in January. The books are about life in an English Village and don't have a lot of plot. Each one focuses on half a dozen of the many townspeople, with an occasional romance thrown in. I haven't reviewed all of them here because I haven't enjoyed all of them equally, but I highly recommend reading the series in order because each book builds on a previous one.
Now that I've read six books in the series the characters are beginning to feel like family. I was inordinately happy that Dotty got the help she needed and that the vicar found a better house in which to live. The sophisticated Harold Shoosmith, the timid, lonely school teacher, the gruff but loving Ella, and the crotchety old groundskeeper are only a few of the endearing characters you'll meet in these books.
Previous reviews can be read by clicking on each title: Thrush Green, Winter in TG, Battles at TG, Return to TG. I'm happy to see that I can get the next five books in the series as digital downloads from my Michigan library.