Afternoon Tea at the Sunflower Café

by Milly Johnson

‘That is amazing,’ laughed Connie. ‘You didn’t really ring up and make a false appointment though, did you?’ ‘Oh you have no idea how many hand grenades I’ve pulled the pins out of which are set to go off this week, Connie,’ said Della, noticing Connie’s sunflower picture on the wall out of the corner of her eye. Be like the Sunflower . . . She could give those giant plants lessons in bravery and boldness with what she’d implemented since Friday.

Another delicious dramedy from Milly Johnson. This one has her standard 3 women getting revenge against bad men formula, but it does deviate somewhat. There are cases of dumbdoormatitis, as is usual in a Milly Johnson, but none of the protagonists actually succumb to the disease in this story. One of the women’s triumph is on a separate track than the other two but is no less cheer-worthy. Her fortunes meet with the others at the end (literally). Also, the romance is definitely on the light side. One of the women has a fairly significant one, but the other, as sweet as it was, is just tacked on, and the 3rd woman does not have one at all. The main bad guy’s impending doom is so relentless that I almost felt myself starting to pity him a bit. However, in a massive takedown, our heroine ticks off all of his bad acts and selfish decisions over the years and I was back on board. That said, I do like that in this book, she does give him some redeemability at the end.

One of the aspects I loved, and I have seen this in several of her books, is a hint of the supernatural: A house that is a great judge of character (and acts accordingly) and a couple of ghosts that come to rescue their loved one. Sunflowers are a symbol and theme throughout the book but the Tea at the Cafe part really has nothing to do with much at all which makes it a strange title.

When you pick up a Milly Johnson book, you pretty much know what you are going to get if you’ve read even one of her books. This does show a willingness to deviate from and toy with her usual tropes just a bit, and I loved it. I hope I see more of this growth in future books. But I won’t complain if her heroines remain kind, gentle, and good women who find their inner Boedicas by the end. **5 out 5 stars**

April 19, 2020

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