By Anita Higman
Abingdon Press, 2013
There's just something special about a cozy tea shop in a small, quaint town . . .
A Marriage in Middlebury by Anita Higman is a standalone novel set in a small town in Texas, and it’s about the complex, quirky, and sometimes prickly interworkings of the folks who frequent the local tearoom in Middlebury. I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent with the delightful characters who populate this novel and recommend it to those who enjoy reading about life and relationships in a small-town setting.
Charlotte Rose Hill has been serving up country delicacies, uniquely blended teas, and matchmaking advice for her quirky but beloved customers for more than 10 years. But for her, marriage seems like an elusive butterfly, always out of reach. At 18, Charlotte fell in love with a young man, Sam Wilder, but his family convinced her to walk away from their relationship. She did, and then became engaged to another man, who later died before they were married.
Now, more than a decade later, Charlotte finds that she still has feelings for her first love. Initially thrilled to learn that Sam has come home to Middlebury, Texas, Charlotte is devastated to learn that he's brought someone with him: his fiancée. But all is not lost when the townsfolk decide to get involved.
A Marriage in Middlebury introduces us to the fictional Gulf Coast town of Middlebury, Texas and draws us into the lives of Charlotte and several inhabitants who frequent the Rose Hill Cottage Tearoom. Anita is a talented writer with a gift for making her characters feel real, like people you would meet in your normal daily routine, and this story brings us small-town life at its best.
Charlotte, owner of the tearoom, loved playing tea party as a child, but saw it as something that could become an enjoyable profession more than just playtime. The camaraderie that exists between Charlotte and her friends is one of this novel's strengths. For example, Charlotte would often analyze a person and then pick a tea that best suited their character.
At times, Charlotte "felt as though God had erased her from his memory" - yet her faith was real and she lived it out daily. One of my favorite characters was a supposed atheist named Mr. LaGrange, who always left a few flower petals in his saucer, and was surprised by Charlotte's kindness when she presented him with a bag of potpourri made from those petals. His words to her speak volumes: "My dear, if there is a God . . . I see him in your face."
The rekindled romance between Sam and Charlotte is fun to behold. And the delightfully quirky supporting characters are fleshed out and memorable in their own right - antique store owner Meredith who loves the Pastor Wally; Nelly, a cook who is privy to family secrets; Audrey, Sam's fiancé who uses her unhappy childhood to advantage; Justin, gardening expert extraordinaire who hides his past; Obie, adorable but outspoken child who needs a family's love.
A Marriage in Middlebury is a charming and entertaining story, with characters I would enjoy seeing again. Recommended to those who enjoy inspirational romance with a small-town setting.
"The idea for A Marriage in Middlebury came from my absolute love of tearooms in Texas. More than a decade ago I met a woman named Linda Becker who opened a tearoom in the Houston burbs called Tea for Two. Her eatery and gift shop did so well she opened a second shop. Throughout the years I’ve enjoyed her wonderful tearoom fare as well as the quaint ambiance. Linda’s tearoom isn’t just a café—it’s a gathering place for friends, a place to eat home-cooked food and a place so cozy you don’t want to leave.
"As a writer I thought it might be fun to create a heroine who owns a tearoom similar to Linda’s and set her shop in a small town on the Gulf coast of Texas. Even though my story, the characters, and the town are fictional, Linda's tearooms are real places you can visit and enjoy."
Best-selling and award-winning author, Anita Higman, has over thirty books published (several coauthored) for adults and children. She's been a Barnes & Noble "Author of the Month" for Houston and has a BA degree, combining speech communication, psychology, and art. Anita loves good movies, exotic teas, and brunch with her friends.
Visit Anita's website at anitahigman.com to learn more.
This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity (Anita Higman, Author) and Anita Higman in exchange for my honest review.