Tea and Chocolates
Interesting read ... Recommended ... 4 stars
The year was 1914. Two houses stood near one another on a
Pittsburgh street. In one was a girl living in luxury. In the other was a girl
living in poverty. The lives of Emily McNamara and Gracie Rooney were to be
intertwined despite Gracie’s dogged attempts to see that they were not. The
girls met first as children entering school for the first time. Emily’s wealthy
mother did not appear to see her child’s loneliness. Mrs Rooney only looked in
envy at the big house where Emily lived as she imagined what Mrs Mc Namara
might think and do. Each child was shaped in part by her mother’s words and
feelings for the life of the other. Gracie’s near overwhelming jealously for
the life she believed Emily to live grew until she was nearly overcome with it.
As the years passed and the girls became women Emily quietly went about doing what
she thought was good for those around her while Gracie allowed herself to be
used by a man bent upon artifice. Gracie was unaware that Emily was the one who
provided the refuge Gracie needed when she was the most desperate. Gracie’s
marriage to a kindly doctor provided some of the style and money Gracie had
long sought. However, her resentfulness toward Emily continued unabated. The
Great Depression, widowhood and loss of much of what life has to offer are all
part of this tale of two women who live lives close in proximity, distant in
Jo Janoski has woven a puissant tale around the lives of two
very different women. Writer Janoski is a poet, photographer and now a writer
of compelling novels. “Tea and Chocolates” is an absorbing tale featuring a
well written and interesting premise. Reader attention is caught from the
opening lines as we meet Emily preparing for school. Energy moves the narrative
along. Dialogue is used to introduce the reader to the character of each of the
major players. Backgrounds are filled with enough detail to draw the reader
into the setting. The characters of Emily and Gracie are well fleshed,
plausible and forceful. Janoski has deftly snared the basic nature of variance
inherent to us all and presents a full picture of human nature with wit and
style in this easily read fast paced work.
Gracie, who is depicted in the full ignominy of a woman
consumed with wanting what she believes someone else has, is a calamitous
figure. Gracie sets out to better herself only to find that she has worsened
her state even more. Emily too knows suffering before the tale runs its course.
Dialogue is masterfully directed as the various players
interact with one another. Writer Janoski presents a excellent and highly
entertaining work in “Tea and Chocolates”.
A book to be enjoyed by high school age young women and by
adults alike. Happy to recommend..