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A Cup of Tea: A Novel of 1917

3.30  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,751 Ratings  ·  289 Reviews
A seductive romance, set in New York Citys high society during the period of World War IA Cup of Tea is about two very different women and their pursuit of one man. Inspired by the classic Katherine Mansfield short story, Amy Ephrons novel begins when a privileged socialite, Rosemary Fell, invites Eleanor Smith, a penniless young woman, to her home to warm herself by the f ...more
Hardcover, 200 pages
Published July 23rd 1997 by William Morrow (first published 1997)
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Amy Ephron That's such an interesting question. When do you think it would start?
i.e. Chapter One Fade in: date, time, year, location....
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,763)
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Leah
Feb 07, 2010 Leah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
SPOILER ALERT!!! I picked this book up this morning while drinking my own cup of tea and didn't put it down until it was finished. Obviously a quick read, this book is a beautifully written love tragedy that takes place during WWI. A homeless woman named Eleanor is taken home for a cup of tea by a flighty woman named Rosemary. Rose is engaged to a dashing man names Phillip who falls instantly in love with Eleanor as soon as he lays eyes on her. Rose kindly sends El on her way, but Phillip manage ...more
Jen
Dec 01, 2008 Jen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From my wonderful friends getting ready to travel the world through campsite and bicycle..see you in Laos!

WHAT?!! I finished it last night and just about threw the damn thing across the room and into the wall to hit and fall with a satisfactorily thud. my god...Ok, so, the ending was a bit ridiculous. so sudden and...what?!!! But, I guess it is up to the writer's art..I guess the story needed to end? ...but the characters were so beautifully established and described.

True, the drama was somewha
...more
Jennefer
Jan 29, 2011 Jennefer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The ending of this book was so unecessary and so upsetting I wanted to throw it across the room - I will never read another book by this author. I would have given it only 1 star but I did enjoy the atmosphere and it had an interesting short story feel to it that I did like. I just don't understand why the author thought it neccesary to end the book in the way she did ruining the atmosphere and leaving me with a horrible taste in my mouth - totally trashed its potential. I am not familiar with t ...more
Roslyn
May 29, 2011 Roslyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
LuAnn
Oct 13, 2012 LuAnn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can’t believe how much I loved this book. Amy Ephron penned this story in the style of some of the classic writers, almost reminding me of the Bronte sisters. It’s so enthralling, I finished it in one day … I absolutely could not put it down!

The story concerns only a handful of characters living in New York City in 1917. The U.S. has entered the war and there is a different sort of atmosphere – people are trying desperately to add some excitement to their lives and pretend the war doesn’t exis
...more
Andrea Jacobs
This is a short novella that I practically devoured in the course of two hours or so. At the halfway point, I started to dwell a bit on how similar the atmosphere of this story is to The Great Gatsby, but by the end of it, less so. I really enjoyed Amy Ephron's writing style - she has a gift for writing descriptively and painting a picture so well that it feels as if you've just watched a movie, which is why this has been put on my list of favorites. This novel had the potential to earn a five s ...more
Sara
Jan 16, 2013 Sara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well, here is a book that would deter anyone from doing a good deed. Rose is about to get married when she comes across a woman in the street. When the woman asks for some money for a cup of tea, she decides to take her home and feed her. She gives her some dry clothes, when her fiancé walks in. Philip is instantly smitten and it basically deteriorated from this point. The entire book is filled with shit-bags. Rose was ok, up until the last few pages and then she also gets thrown on the shit-bag ...more
Sarah Beth
This fast paced novella (I read it in one afternoon) tells the tragic story of a love triangle set in 1917. Based on a short story by Katherine Mansfield, which I have regrettably not read, the title refers to the simple act that sets the course of events in motion. Wealthy Rosemary Fell, seemingly on a whim, asks a poor woman down on her luck home with her to have a cup of tea. That woman, the beautiful and mysterious Eleanor Smith, is able to find a job and lodging as a result of her encounter ...more
Lormac
Mar 30, 2014 Lormac rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
MELODRAMA!!!!!! If that's your cup of tea, then "A Cup of Tea" is for you, Otherwise save the two hours it will take to read this slip of a book.
Julie Grabowski
Jan 27, 2014 Julie Grabowski rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
This book fell extremely short of its potential. It was quick and surfacey, giving no time and depth to the world or its characters. In the Reader's Guide Ephron says, "For me, the best books are the ones in which you can lose yourself" and "The thing you hope for the most is that the characters come to life and exist in some way for readers." She didn't achieve either of these crucial things. I was very much on the outside of the story looking in, like a passive parade watcher, clearly set apar ...more
Soledad
Apr 08, 2016 Soledad rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The characters were so boring. There was no connection emotionally for me with any of these characters. I would not have read the rest of this book if not for reading the last few pages and finding out what happens. So, most people find it shocking to read the end, but for me it was the only interesting thing that happened. It is difficult for me to find historical fiction stories I don't like but this one makes that list. Only good thing is that the book is so short I didn't waste a lot of time ...more
Caitlin
Feb 11, 2016 Caitlin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I actually really enjoyed this book even though it was a little predictable and I had a sense of deja vu at the end (I really felt that either I had read it before or had seen it played out in a movie, I'm not sure which). I didn't feel those aspects took away from the story. It's a very short novel that's based on a short story and circles around a love triangle. It explores societal values in the early 1900s and discusses, to a point, the effect WWI has on New York City society. The prose is s ...more
Tina Cunningham
Apr 09, 2015 Tina Cunningham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a lovely little book, more of a lengthy short story than a novel. However, the characters were well-drawn and interesting, and the plot is full of surprises. It's set in 1917 with an atmosphere of urgency, when young men and women rushed into relationships and marriages before the men deployed. The overall theme of small actions having large results is brought home naturally and inevitably.
Annie Sem
Oct 31, 2015 Annie Sem rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good reminder that life, frequently, is not what you make it, but the things you do impact the lives of others as much as your own...
Lisa Urso
Jan 05, 2015 Lisa Urso rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-reads
Absolutely shocked by the ending. Quick read, short chapters, but did not see the end coming.
A. R.
Jun 30, 2015 A. R. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If you're looking for a quick read, this is it. Only 148 pages with clean, concise writing.

"A Cup of Tea" is a novel set at the beginning of WWI in New York City where social classes and stigmas are firmly in place. An innocent attempt to help someone in need leads to an affair of the heart and ultimately tragedy.

While it's an interesting story, I didn't care for the writing style. It was too concise, too impersonal. And there were point of view issues throughout the entire novella. I had a hard
...more
Lauriann
Jun 08, 2015 Lauriann rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well, hmm. THAT was an interesting ending! But no spoilers here. In that moment of panic when I am between library books sometimes I have to go to my shelf of fifty cent book sale books to tide me over. Which is exactly what this was and I would say I got my fifty cents worth. I'm a sucker for turn of the century novels. The author lived up to my expectations of portraying life in New York City as WWI approached. I read this 188 page book in an afternoon and it pleasantly wiled away a rainy day. ...more
Rosalie
Despite all the bad reviews on GR, I liked this book. Extremely unexpected ending that was so surprising, when I finished it on the train, I actually gasped aloud. I liked the story; one negative would be that I didn't think it was very well written. Ms. Ephron ended quite a few sentences with prepositions which is a huge pet peeve of mine. Overall, worth the 2 hours or less it will take you to read it!
Beth
Oct 09, 2014 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Did not see the end coming. Short and easy read. Rose just can't have anything go wrong g in her perfect life.
Karen
Jan 04, 2014 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rosemary is feeling in a generous mood as she leaves a shop with her purchases when she bumps into a young woman who asks her for money for a meal. Deciding to do a charitable act, Rosemary invites the young woman, Eleanor home for tea. This choice sets in motion a change in Rosemary's life that she is unwilling to accept and because of her shallow nature, she may lose everything.
Miz
This was my second read of Amy Ephron and it was structured very similar to White Rose: Una Rosa Blanca - short chapters, short story, with anticipation of what comes next. Only too an hour or so to read and I was surprised about the journey it took me!
Janice
Aug 04, 2014 Janice rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
I liked this book. It was inspired by the short story "A Cup of Tea" by Katherine Mansfield, which in turn inspired me to search out Katherine Mansfield's original story. I've never been a huge short story fan, but Katherine Mansfield changed all that. Now I am trying to read everything I can get my hands on by her, she was wonderful. Thank you Amy Ephron!
Susan
Oct 03, 2012 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a little edith wharton here in this little gem of a book that i read in one sitting. loved the structure employed by using short chapters of three or four pages to set the scene and tell in a few words what is going on. rich girl poor girl and dashing young man set the scene!
Eileen
Aug 02, 2014 Eileen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A very quick read, but still a waste of time. The biggest issue for me is that what was clearly supposed to be a shocking ending was really more of a WTF ending. It made no sense for the character of Rosemary to behave the was she does at the end of the novel. The author created characters with pretty clear personalities, and there was nothing to indicate that Rosemary would behave the way she did. Especially in the scene that leads to her 'shocking' action - there was no character development t ...more
Katy
Jul 22, 2014 Katy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This reminded me of The Age of Innocence, but then again maybe I just have it on the brain, having just read The Innocents. I know that part of this story's charm is that it is a sparingly short novella, but I would have loved to see the themes explored more - how exactly does Eleanor arrive at the decision to keep and raise her child? How do Philip and Rose meet and fall in love? What other ripple effects does Rose's decision to invite Eleanor in for tea have? I wished for a little more.
Annie
Nov 13, 2008 Annie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book and even read it twice. It reads fast like a short story. I really came to like all of the chracters and was surprised at the ending. Well written.
Stephanie
Dec 04, 2015 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I began reading this book along with one of two others several weeks ago. I just completely the book and offer my impressions.

I...LOVED...THIS...BOOK!!!

A Cup of Tea was annamazing read. The idea that two completely different women might meet on a rainy day, share of cup of tea and fall desparately in love with the same man is sheer genius.

I accept that the male love interest was killed by the woman he SHOULD NOT have married. But even realistically, people often do what they believe is right ins
...more
Yolie Gachelin
Jan 15, 2014 Yolie Gachelin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A 200 page book that took only a few hours to read. Was a page turner all the way to the end. And then the last page just left you breathless.
Sarah
Nov 14, 2013 Sarah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Liked the structure, a novel in short little snapshots, but this was seriously a waste of trees and boy-howdy trite. At least it went quickly.
Amy Dashwood
Jul 25, 2015 Amy Dashwood rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Seriously, do not waste your time. I made the mistake of finishing it because the premise was good and I kept thinking it was going to get better... but it got WORSE. Basically glorified how romantic it is to have an affair. Wut even. And the writing was sloppy, the characters difficult to relate to... even the dialogue was inauthentic for the time period. Had some nice descriptions of wealthy New York bedrooms and sitting rooms, and that's why I'm giving it one star instead of zero. Bleh. Oh, a ...more
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“Keep a cool surface. Calm. Detached. As inside a part of you has been shattered.” 16 likes
“Madame Olga began muttering something under her breath in gypsy to the effect of "Fucking debutantes, they do not understand the sacredness of the moment." But everyone in the room just thought this was part of her gypsy spirit chant.” 5 likes
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