By Clark Isaacs, Clark’s Eye on Books
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.
Author: J. R. LaGreca
Pages: 273, $29.99, Publication Date: 2008,
Published by Xlibris Corporation