Monday, 8 April 2013

Book Review: The Vintage Teacup Club

This is the first book I read as part of the Vintage Book Group on Goodreads.  All of the books have either a vintage theme (teacups, vintage fashion etc) or are indeed books from vintage times, such as Breakfast at Tiffany's, or The Great Gatsby.

the vintage teacup club book review

The Vintage Teacup Club is a modern tale by Vanessa Greene, and is described as follows:

"At a car boot sale in Sussex, three very different women meet and fall for the same vintage teaset. They decide to share it - and form a friendship that changes their lives.

Jenny can't wait to marry Dan. Then, after years of silence, she hears from the woman who could shatter her dreams.

Maggie has put her broken heart behind her and is gearing up for the biggest event of her career - until she's forced to confront the past once more.

Alison seems to have it all: married to her childhood sweetheart, with two gorgeous daughters. But as tensions mount, she is pushed to breaking point.

Dealing with friendship and families, relationships and careers, highs and lows, The Vintage Teacup Club is heart-warming storytelling at its very best."

I'm afraid that the storytelling didn't live up to the expectations from the synopsis!  Here's what I though of it:

Believability/research of subject matter - 2/5
The author apparently loves vintage and collects vintage china, but none of this passion shone through for me, it felt like yet another book jumping-on-the-vintage-bandwagon-because-it's-in. Descriptions were terse after the appearance of the initial teaset - "ten blue teacups" was all we got in the next teacup scene. Some of the vintage descriptions were inaccurate, adding to my impression that not much research had been done, or that if it had been done it was a bit of an inaccurate Wikipedia or Ehow job.

Quality of writing - 2/5
I thought the quality of writing was generally average and dipped into poor in places e.g. "mascared eyes" - surely eyelashes? And it's beyond me why the entrance of each character in the story was always accompanied by an in depth description of their hair.  The descriptions did improve slightly as you got further in, for example "little china lemmings" was the best description in the whole book and is a phrase that has stayed with me.  

Plot - 2/5
The middle-class bubble this was set in with all its cliches also irritated me immensely (all living in Sussex thatched cottages, making notes in linen-bound sketch books and using leather satchels whilst admiring their Farrow & Ball wall paints). The bit where one of the characters pays £7 for a brooch in the car boot sale confirmed to me that these characters live in a completely different world to me (my local car boot sale charges about 50p for vintage brooches!).  The main issue for me, accepting that the story is set in a bubble, was the way the characters seemed happy with traditional female roles, particularly where finance is concerned.  When in financial trouble, one of the characters sits back and expects her other half to get a job while she continues to faff around crafting. Where's her own sense of financial responsibility? Another character is the businesswoman, pursuing her dream, yet she suddenly starts making decisions that put the business, and everything she's worked for, second.  Finally, the third character is expecting her fiancee to work extra hours to pay for the big day she has in her head.  I couldn't identify with these strange women, and for me it meant that I didn't really care about what happened to them.

Satisfaction - 2/5
Right at the very end I did feel glad for one of the characters in particular that things turned out alright for her in the end, but I had to read the entire book to be rewarded with a smidgen of an emotional connection.  I wouldn't read it again, and I can't say that the satisfaction in anyway outweighed the annoyances and contrivances of plot, characters, and some pretty unimaginative writing.


1 comment:

  1. Oh dear, I'm sorry that this book wasn't more enjoyable for you. I haven't read it myself (though I definitely would have been drawn in by the title and cover alone, had I not now read your review) and doubt I will be now. Fingers crossed that the next title you turn will be considerably better!

    ♥ Jessica


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