This is the first book in the Madeline's Teahouse Mystery series by Leslie Matthews Stanfield. The story opens on Terry Sutter waking from sleep to the sound of glass breaking downstairs. Specifically, a tea cup on the middle shelf falling to the floor. Just as it has over and over again, every night for weeks.
With the death of their mother just seven months prior, Terry and Karen Sutter have turned their mother's house into a Teahouse. This was their life long dream and the first step towards their ultimate goal of a Bed & Breakfast. Terry gave up her job as an art teacher and moved back to Connecticut to supervisor the renovations and get everything set up while Karen worked out notice at her job as an accountant in California. Karen is finally coming in that evening and will be seeing all of Terry's work for the first time. Terry is nervous and worried about Karen's reactions.
When Karen arrives, she is impressed at what her little sister has accomplished and feeling a little guilty about leaving all the work for her. Terry assures her that her job was much easier to leave and that Karen's contribution of money was very much needed. As Terry shows off all the changes, she lets Karen know about the issue of the teacup and lets Karen place one on the shelf. The next morning, Terry procrastinates getting up, waiting for Karen to discover the broken cup herself.
Later that day, Aunt Rose shows them a cup that she bought at the Goodwill that looks exactly like the one Terry and Karen's mother used since she was 10 years old and that went missing up on her death, one that has the same crack in the handle and same smudged ink in the flower design. Uncle Henry jokes about yet another mystery surrounding the house. When Karen asks about it being haunted, Henry tells them the stories surrounding the house and it's previous owners. Tales of bank robbery, treasure, 2 missing women and a mysterious death surround the house and it's former owners. Once they start looking into these tales and trying to solve the mysteries surrounding the house's former owners, secrets are revealed.
I must admit, I wasn't really expecting much with this book. It doesn't have a fancy smancy cover, or a compelling blurb full of escapades and excitement. It is about 2 sisters in their early 40's turning their childhood home into a Teahouse in Connecticut. Connecticut for heaven's sake. Not exactly a hot spot for criminal activity. Boy, wasn't I surprised at how much I enjoyed it!
This book is about connections and family and faith. Normally I like action packed stories, chock full of fast moving adventures and mystery. Not that there isn't adventure and mystery, but its done more at the level of a sedate walk then a flat out run. And when you are taking that sedate walk, you get to really enjoy the scenery around you and really enjoy the nuances. The dialogue was fantastic and the characters where wonderful and so very true to life. Personally if you don't have an Uncle Henry in your life, you need to go get one! I really liked this book and can't wait for book 2, Mr. Tea and the Bobbin' Body.
I am giving this book 4 stars on Goodreads. It was such a pleasant contradiction, my contrary soul fell in love. This book has faith mixed with the paranormal, southern-style grace and charm set in a New England backdrop, and sweet innocent romance 20 years in the making. What's not to love?