With a bundle of roses in one hand and a walking cane in the other, an elderly gentleman, Lawrence Gray braves the Northeastern winter as he makes his way to Saint James Cemetery. There, he offers the flowers to his fallen wife, who passed away forty years ago. Lawrence’s devotion to his long-dead wife elicits curiosity from Meg Bailey, an intrigued neighbor who spies on him from her kitchen window every morning. Meg’s curiosity hits a peak when town historian, Fanny Brund, invites her for afternoon tea, and tells her about the mystery surrounding the Grays. Looking for more answers, Fanny warps back to the year 1895 in a bid to uncover the truth behind Lawrence Gray’s guilt over his wife’s untimely death — only to unravel a secret that will change Meg’s life forever. . .
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Jody Riva La Greca´s inspiration for writing Afternoon Tea is her passion for the Victorian Age. She says, "human nature is timeless, and reveals the same dimension of emotion and intrigue in any era".
Her novel is about love, struggle, and differences of the haves and have-nots in society taking place in the year 1895. The setting is beautifully detailed in and around New England´s picturesque towns. The plights of the characters were difficult at the turn of the century and you are enthralled by the descriptive prose laying them bare.
Lawrence Gray, 83, visits the grave of his beloved wife Emily, where he places red roses every Sunday even though she had died 40 years before. A neighbor, Meg Bailey, continuously watches him from her kitchen window and is intrigued by his devotion. Fanny Brund, the town historian, invites Meg to her home for tea and goes back to 1895 where she seeks the truth about Emily Gray´s untimely death. She looks to uncover a secret that may change Meg´s life.
Descriptions of a debutante ball, a devious ´red lady´, and an old-fashioned wedding are all beautifully depicted. This was an interesting historical time when medicine was quite primitive and "tinctures" were mysterious potions which magically healed.
La Greca brilliantly develops her characters to be graceful and elegant when manners were boundless, dress was significantly important, and the adventures of all classes were intriguing. The struggles of the poor are tremendous and the lives of the rich are full of imagery.
This could be a modern day portrayal relating to challenges of success and the rewards of unwavering devotional love. Even though this is a by-gone era, the book enchants you from beginning to end. The author laces a romantic triangle that will tug at your heart with a surprise ending. J. R. LaGreca has captured the Victorian Era exquisitely, like a fine painting or a glass of aged wine.
J. R. La Greca also is an award-winning poet and ends her book with A Grain of Sand, a poem dedicated to her sister.
A must read for the amorous romantic. ---Clark´s Eye on Books, by Clark Isaacs. News Blaze, Kingman Daily Miner, Affaire De Coeur Magazine, Desert Independent, and Midwest Book Review in its April edition
AFTERNOON TEA by J. R. LaGreca is set in New England in the late 1800s. The details for the setting add much to the flavor of the story as it winds around the quaint villages of that area, many of which can still be visited today. AFTERNOON TEA is a romantic tale of class struggle in that era between the upper and lower class citizens.
As the story opens, 83-year-old Lawrence Gray is spied on by Meg Bailey from her kitchen window as he visits his wife’s grave every day. His wife who had died about 40 years earlier is buried within Meg’s view and she becomes quite fascinated by the