Review by Ann McDonald
Laurie Davis has always followed her passion. After escaping family drama to start a new life in New York City, she’s up for whatever challenges life brings. So when an opportunity arises for her to use her travel industry expertise and serve as an assistant and tour guide for her idol, Pamela Lambert-Leigh, star of television’s Tea-Time with Pamela, she jumps at the chance.
Pamela Lambert Leigh is a household name in her native England. She has a reputation as a great cake baker and her TV show is very highly rated. But she decides that she needs to expand her horizons with the idea to hail and conquer the U.S. A tour of New England in a lovely big tour bus, a sight very familiar to visitors and Londoners alike. Enter Laurie Davis, a new resident of New York, well known for arranging themed tours for people who travel alone and she is also a big fan of Pamela’s as she is a baker herself. This job would be a dream come true for her but she has to compete for the gig and of course, she gets it.
The idea of the tour is to exchange American recipes for English recipes. Every state that has something unique to them will be used and a cookbook will hopefully be the outcome. The story begins at JFK Airport where Laurie is waiting for Pamela to arrive and arrive she does. She is wheeling her mother Gracie, who is comatose, and it turns out is the bus driver. Also in tow, is Ravenna, Pamela’s daughter, a raggedy, beautiful rebellious teenager who does not wish to go on this tour and has declared war on all adults, you know, the usual teenage angst. You probably have one or two of them yourself and no, I do not wish to adopt them.
Belinda Jones’ description of Gracie is the funniest I have read in some time and it is a portent of things to come. Krista is Laurie’s best friend and is a pillar of common sense and she pops in and out of the story at random intervals. The entire book is about the tour and I have to confess, I loved the landscape Jones paints. Each state has something unique to offer and it will please you to no end, along with the food, it is a lovely blend of humor, mysterious goings on and a chapter that had me laughing out so loud, my daughter grounded me for a week for waking up the entire household. So gigglers beware.
The tour is great, of course, the bus breaks down, errant teenager runs amok, Gracie is up to all kinds of shenanigans, handsome men appear and disappear at regular intervals and it is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. And fifty pounds on your hips if you indulge in any of the wonderful recipes. Krista hands out lots of advice and the whole thing ends up happily ever after. If you don’t mind making a spectacle of yourself, read this book in public, you’re going to smile and laugh the whole way through. Buy some copies for any errant teenage daughters that might be around. Enjoy, you’ll have a blast.
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