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    Tea and Trinkets

    2.5 Stars The biggest disappointment for me was that from the first chapter you know exactly what is going to happen. There are no twists and turns, no surprises, it all happens exactly as you would predict after reading 10 or so pages. Not necessarily a bad thing, indeed as a holiday read there is something almost comforting in it's predictability. There are a couple of highlights but these are actually flashbacks to Ben and Poppy's past as next door neighbours rather than contemporaneous action. Unfortunately, even those are a little on the predictable side and firmly stereotype the two along, dare I say it, class lines. This may have been unintentional by the author or I may be reading far more in to it than is meant but I could not help but make the ever so British leap of the class divide between Ben and Poppy in their childhoods. Ben has been a "good boy" and towed the family line. University followed by a high powered legal job, following daddy's footsteps. His secret though was that he wanted to open a little tea shop; serving his home baked goodies and a selection of fine teas. Poppy is more of a free spirit. Leaving home as soon as she possibly could she set off travelling the world. Finding work here and there and living out of a rucksack she has spent ten years wandering. Her secret is that she finds it hard to trust and believes that love does not exist. To be honest, I really enjoyed the characterisations on the page. The author treats us to narration from both Ben and Poppy, although mainly Poppy, and I did feel that you get a good insight in to what makes these two tick. They are also quite deep characters with flaws and foibles and both make fairly normal mistakes. My problem really lies with The Little Unicorn Gift Shop of the title. Yes, I do know it is a work of fiction but Ben seems able to set up a tea shop and bake on the premises with no Health Department inspections at all. Poppy seems able to source stock with no problem (okay, in the days of the internet marginally believable) and from the get go she sells steadily and consistently turns a profit. Also, they employ the shop owner's twin grandchildren who then disappear for 90% of the book. So much so, I did wonder why they even got mentioned in the first place, they do get the odd cameo appearence but it just left me feeling like there was a whole strand to this story that got editorially binned. I bought this as a holiday read and despite the relatively low scoring I did enjoy it; I just didn't fall in love with it. It is light and frothy and I found it easy to read in short bursts throughout the day.
3

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