Friday, July 27, 2018

Tea Lovers' Book Club: "The Canterbury Sisters" by Kim Wright

Summary: Wine critic Che de Milan has recently lost her mother and been dumped by her boyfriend, so she decides to join a group of women travelers ("Broads Abroad") for a pilgrimage to Canterbury, where she plans to scatter her mother's ashes.

My thoughts: Boy, was this cover misleading. It's soft, feminine, and light-hearted, and that doesn't describe this book at all. Now the book wasn't totally awful, and parts of it were even good, but Wright's liberal use of profanity was a huge turnoff. I definitely should have looked online and read the plot and some reviews first so that I wouldn't have assumed that the story was actually about three sisters. It's been so long since I've read The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer that I simply didn't realize this was going to be a modern-day, all-woman twist on that story.

The judgment: It was a great idea to have what is basically a group of misfits get to know each other on a journey to Canterbury. But some of their stories strummed my nerves. Like the hard-to-like main character, Che, who at one point proudly confesses how promiscuous she's been. Lovely. Another of the women on the trip is supposedly a reality TV star, but apparently we are to believe that she is the first one in the history of reality TV to make a journey without a camera and videographer in tow. On the other hand, another woman shares a wonderfully moving story of finding an unlikely ally as she attempts to care for a husband with Alzheimer's. I would love to have seen more emphasis on that part of the story. In fact, that woman's story could have (and perhaps should have) been its own book.

For discussion:

• This has absolutely nothing to do with the book, alas, but which teacup on the cover is your favorite? Mine is the top one with the pink roses.

• The women on this journey initially seemed very judgmental of each other, which I thought was very true to life (and at times funny; we're all judging each other all the time, if we're honest). But when they learned each other's flaws, they were much more accepting of each other. Why is that?

• Do you think any of the characters found redemption through their pilgrimage? 

Next Month's Book: A Literary Tea Party: Blends and Treats for Alice, Bilbo, Dorothy, Jo, and Book Lovers Everywhere by Alison Walsh.


  1. Well, I'm glad I didn't have time for this one this month! I appreciate your review, though. And I do like the cover!

  2. I like the bottom cup best! I was so excited when I saw the book, since I just took the Orient Express to Canterbury. Thanks for the review, I will definitely read next months choice!

  3. Thanks for reviewing that book--now I know I do NOT want to read it! I like the bottom teacup on the cover--I would like to pick it up, turn it over, and see who made it.
    The book for next month really looks like fun--I hope my library gets it. Or if I see it in a bookstore, I may be tempted to buy it.--from Vernona in DC

  4. I like the top cup best. I hate when a book is ruined by bad language. There are so many better word choices.

  5. This sounds like a book that I'm glad read and wrote a review so that I don't have to read it! My pick for pretty teacup is the bottom one - although they are all so pretty!


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