Friday, January 2, 2015

The Tea House by Paul Elwork Book Review

Title: The Tea House
Author: Paul Elwork
Pages: 172
Publisher: Casperian Books LLC (October 1, 2007)
Received From: My Library

About the Book:

The innocence of childhood, the unknown of adulthood, and the search for forgiveness . . .

Emily Stewart is the girl who claims to stand between the living and the dead. During the quiet summer of 1925, she and her brother, Michael, are thirteen-year-old twins-privileged, precocious, wandering aimlessly around their family's estate. One day, Emily discovers that she can secretly crack her ankle in such a way that a sound appears to burst through the stillness of midair. Emily and Michael gather the neighborhood children to fool them with these "spirit knockings."

 Soon, however, this game of contacting the dead creeps into a world of adults still reeling from World War I. When the twins find themselves dabbling in the uncertain territory of human grief and family secrets- knock, knock-everything spins wildly out of control.

My Review:

My husband read this book years ago and it has been sitting on my bookshelf since then. I know that he enjoyed it so when I was making my list of books to read this year I figured I would add it this time around.

At 172 pages, it will be one of the shorter books I will read, but I thought that might be the perfect length to begin the new year. I am sorry to say that even at 172 pages I struggled to make it through.

I was very intrigued by the premise of the story. Twins Michael and Emily (age 13) are growing up in 1925. Michael became fairly withdrawn when he was 10 so when Emily discovers she can make a 'knocking' sound through a tendon snap in her ankle, she keeps it from her brother for a short time. When he finds out he comes up with an idea, and idea that will fool people into thinking Emily is able to connect with the dead. He calls it 'spirit knocking'. What starts as something they do with their friends and other children escalates into a group of women and the father of Michael's best friend Albert, who lost his son Patrick to the war.

There is also a backstory between the twins mother Naomi, housekeeper Mary, and friend of their deceased father, Stan. But, even though this story had a lot of potential, I found myself struggling to finish it, and just hoping it would be over soon. The writing seemed tedious and slow, and while at times the plot seemed like it was about to pick up, it just wasn't enough for me.

I would not recommend this book to most people as I just didn't feel any connection to the story or characters. Here's hoping my next book of the year will be better.

 2 stars

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