Vanessa Greene’s debut novel, The Vintage Teacup Club, follows Jenny, Maggie and Alison, three ladies who love vintage teacups and scour charity shops, auction sites and car boot sales in the search for a perfect tea set. Jenny is soon to be married to Dan. She can’t wait for her wedding day but an old face from the past might derail her happiness. Maggie is a florist, trying to appease bridezilla, boost her business Bluebelle du Jour and deal with an old face returning. Alison is happily married to her childhood sweetheart with two kids, but is being pushed to her limits by family and financial pressures.
The three women meet at a car boot sale in Charlesworth, Sussex, each looking for that perfect tea set. Jenny is hoping to find the right one for her wedding, Maggie is hoping to please her most important client with the tea cups, and Alison needs the set to boost her own crafts business. With a hand each, and a more personal investment on the tea set, the women decide to share it. From thereon in in the novel, a relationship between the three is created, founded on vintage tea cups but sustained by real friendship and support when it is most needed.
Jenny, Maggie and Alison were all fantastic characters, each the kind of person you would love to have as a friend. Jenny is bubbly, Maggie hardworking and Alison caring, each with a real kindness at their core. They are smart, intelligent women, who carry the novel best when they are together, although the separate lives of each character are no less interesting. There is no doubt that when the tea set has provided its uses for Jenny, Maggie and Alison, the friendship will still be there.
There are many novels which feature a ‘club’ angle, but I found the vintage teacup approach to be an original one. There was a sense that this shared interest served as escapism from the worries that each of the women faced. I found myself desperately wanting to visit a car boot sale in the hope of finding something similarly special.
The Vintage Teacup Club is a completely charming novel. From the love of vintage tea cups, to crafts and flowers, car boot sales and the old market town of Charlesworth, there was an old fashioned allure to the book that you rarely read now. There is a risk, especially with the vintage tea cup angle, that the novel might venture into overly twee territory, but the real life problems that the women face ensure that it doesn’t.
The Vintage Teacup Club was a great read from Vanessa Greene. It is sincere, warm storytelling about friendship and family, and finding the perfect vintage tea set.