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The Tea House on Mulberry Street
by Sharon Owens

Category: Fiction / General
323 pages; ISBN: 0399152652

Rating: 8/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner

Review

The Tea House on Mulberry Street
Sharon Owens
Putnam, Feb 2005, $25.00, 323 pp.
ISBN: 0399152652

Daniel and Penny Stanley run Muldoon's, a popular place where people escape from their troubles to enjoy delicious pastries. However, in these modern times, the quaint tea rooms seem antiquated even if the cherry cheesecake is the best in town. The Stanleys also feel their relationship has become stale after seventeen years together. Ironically the tea house comes from her family yet Penny wants more out of life than the shop to include children but Muldoon’s has always been Daniel’s significant other; that’s why he married Penny in the first place.

Patrons come here as much to escape as for the desserts. Wannabe artist Brenda Brown comes here to drown her sorrows that her art has never sold. Henry Blackstock enjoys breakfast here before opening his bookstore, but recently comes here to mourn in private the death of his beloved gardens killed by his wife to “house” her book club. Overweight and filled with self pity Sadie Smith cheats on her diet here while she believes her husband cheats on her. After two decades overseas, Clare Fitzgerald hopes to find her lost love that she met at Muldoon’s twenty years ago. Soon a fire will cause these lost souls connected through Muldoon’s to complete their introspective reassessment of life.

Well written in a soap opera way, the various subplots run throughout the novel linked by Muldoon’s; enabling each of the prime players to seem real and unique. Surprisingly with all this bemoaning, the tale has a sugary (not just because of the desserts) aftertaste; still fans of contemporary character study starring an ensemble cast will want to read Sharon Owens’ fine story (on a full stomach).

Harriet Klausner

 

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