Mark didn’t necessarily return to his home town to simply give up on life, but it seems that somehow that’s exactly what’s happened. After discovering the older man he loved and who he’d thought loved him in return had gone after a younger model, Mark returned to the small seaside town he grew up in, took a boring day job, and watched his life and the home he once lived in as a child crumble around him. When he stops in at his favorite tea shop to bemoan his fate at the cost of a new roof he can’t afford, there is a new server in town, the very handsome and very young Bradley Summers. Bradley has come to fill in while owner Macy is away. When Bradley meets Mark, all the things his Grandmother told him begin to make sense—Mark is his destiny. Now if only he can convince Mark of the same.
With incredibly fun humor and some of the worst luck imaginable, C.F. White offers us a bird’s eye view into the life of Mark Johnson in Love & Teabags. Mark takes his incredibly poor track record at most things in stride until he meets Bradley and feelings he has buried quite deeply come racing to the surface. But the past is a haunting reminder for Mark of just how terribly a May-December romance can go and he has no intention of being that older man who holds onto a younger guy while their relationship falls apart—not after he lived through something similar himself and has the emotional scars to prove it. Bradley is undeterred with every roadblock Mark sees to throw in the way because he is certain that Mark is meant to be his.
This novel was a whimsical walk through a romantic age gap relationship that was both humorous and tenderly written. Mark’s sarcasm and curmudgeonly ways were so appealing and Bradley’s absolute conviction that tea leaves could be a harbinger of the future made these two polar opposites absolute perfection together. If anything could go wrong for poor Mark it did, and yet he never sat around and bemoaned his lot in life. Instead, he simply continued on, trying to find ways to make things work. However, as we get to know Mark we begin to realize that his can do attitude actually hides some deep pain and fatalistic thoughts about love and how it would never be his again. When Bradley enters the scene, I had every finger crossed that these two would work out and Mark would finally get back some much needed confidence and the bravery needed to take control of his life and do what makes him happy.
There was really not much to find fault with in this story. While it was decidedly rather conveniently settled at the end when it seemed impossible for Mark to really take the plunge needed, the novel still rang with emotional sincerity and heaps of fun along the way. If you like your characters both vulnerable and a bit snarky, then Mark will melt your heart as he did mine. Bradley was the perfect foil to Mark’s settled ways—wild and free and refusing to see any roadblocks in his way. Bradley was adamant that life could be lived on his terms if he chose to make it so.
Love & Teabags is also the beginning of a new series for this author and I look forward to reading more about this quirky little seaside town and this magical tea shop.