The Tea Ladies of St Jude’s Hospital – Joanna Nell

Standard

Hachette

September 2021

ISBN: 9780733642906

RRP: $32.99

When it’s the spring school holidays nothing quite beats sitting on the verandah with just enough sunshine and warmth to be pleasantly comfy, with a large cuppa, and a fabulous, fun book to read. Needless to say, Joanna Nell has cracked that again with this new one, again exploring the, sometimes surprising, bonds between women.

Hilary, Joy and Chloe could not, on first impressions, be any more different to each other and yet, as their friendship develops, they discover that each is trying desperately to hide a secret from the wider world.

Hilary has been the manager of St Jude’s cafeteria for years. What started as her token nod to philanthropy has gradually become her passion, and now, as she faces a future bereft of husband, assets and friends, it is the constancy of the café and her role within it that sustains her.

Joy is the recent newcomer volunteer. She is determined to get back into living a full life as well as giving back to the hospital, following her husband Len’s cancer journey. She may be habitually late but with her colorful clothes, hair and eyelashes, she certainly adds a much-needed pop of pizzazz to the Marjorie Marshall Memorial cafeteria. After all, after five decades, the establishment is looking a little frayed around the edges.

Chloe is the 18 year old Duke of Edinburgh student, daughter of two high-flyer surgeons, sister of two doctor brothers and on her way, supposedly, to her own medical career. Her inability to deal with the sight of blood, and needles, would appear to be a handicap to this, and with all her heart, she wishes she could pursue the career in creative arts she yearns for, and excels in.

When traditional St Jude’s undergoes a huge refurbishment, the much-loved café faces complete extinction in the wake of a health-food hipster super chain called ‘Platter’. How can these three set aside their initial differences and work together to create not only a solution but provide the emotional sustenance they each need?

This is another of Joanna’s delightful ‘feel good’ reads that is both a pleasant departure from our own reality but also a reminder of the healing qualities of friendships, the importance of solid values and the persuasive nature of people power. There is a lot of depth to this despite it’s surface appearance of humorous ‘chick lit’ novel and there will be many who can relate to at least one of the main characters, all of whom are extremely likeable – even when they are being a bit odd!

Recommended highly for your leisure reading – put the kettle on, sit back and enjoy!

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