A Storm In A Teacup by Lucy Cavendish

Tea CupI did not realise this was the third book of a trilogy when I picked it up at my local library. It is about Samantha Smythe,  mother of four children, happily in a second marriage to John, but she resents the amount of time he spends at work. She stays at home looking after the children and living off the proceeds of a series of books about fridges.

This is not really my kind of book, but I do feel I should read out of my comfort zone from time to time. So, I chose  A Storm in a Teacup by Lucy Cavendish to fit that gap. The writer lives in Oxfordshire, England with her four children and a variety of animals. Like the protagonist in A Storm in a Teacup,  she is married to her second husband. She is an author and journalist who works across many mediums including television, radio, the press as well as writing novels. She also is a public speaker and after-dinner speaker. The author writes for several British newspapers including The Times, The Telegraph, The Guardian, and many women’s magazines. She specializes in interviewing ‘celebrities’ such as Hillary Clinton, Sir Paul McCartney, Dame Helen Mirren and Michael Douglas to name but a few. She has lived all over the world from Kenya to Argentina, New York, USA  to Zimbabwe and likes to travel as much as she can. However, it is being a mother that changed her life. So now she writes a column for Stella magazine for the Sunday Telegraph about her life as a Country Mother of Four.

A Storm in a Teacup starts as Samantha Smythe is worried that her four year old is turning into a cross-dressing psychopath since the arrival of his little sister, Baby Sparkle.The baby is referred to as such throughout which is a bit nauseating to me. Samantha takes the family on holiday to Devon and meets a variety of characters. She also decides to get involved Lucywith village life and in saving an old lady’s stately home. This is all a bit far-fetched! Then her eldest son meets a Scottish goth, a girl who is clearly a bad influence, but Samantha does nothing about this. She ignores the fact he gets drunk on alcopops and stays out late at 12. I found this very hard to believe. The next child has a binge eating disorder but, again, Samantha avoids dealing with this.  She just seems to leave his new friend’s mother to deal with the problem. My disbelief was further tested when Samantha let an elderly man look after her difficult four year old child although she knew he drank too much at this point the child is wearing shorts again. I really did not care!

Samantha looks down on the yummy mummies she meets without realising that is exactly what she is. She blames her husband for how her children are turning out when she is the parent who has chosen their lifestyle, and she is at home to look after them. There is the requisite happy ending where everything works out for everybody except the alcoholics. I really should learn to avoid this kind of book. A Storm in a Teacup just made me cross.

Valerie Penny


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