Six Girls and the Tea RoomMarch 20, 2015
Six Girls and the Tea Room is, if anything, more satisfactory than Six Girls and Bob, and gives me a lot of hope for the rest of the series. It covers the Scollards’ (and Gretta’s) winter in the city, and mostly revolves around the tea room and circulating library that the older girls set up — but with plenty of room for subplots. There are a lot of subplots.
Actually, it’s a lot like what happened with the farm in the first book. You know me: I would be super happy with a book that focused entirely on the girls establishing and running their business. And this isn’t that, and I surprised myself by not caring. What was there was nice, but is was just a background to all sorts of other things: Margery’s romance, a disaster befalling Miss Keren, a mysterious, be-cloaked musician, some long-lost relative stuff, the Continuing Problem of Laura (she’s the lazy, conceited Scollard), etc.
I mean, really, there are a lot of subplots, and some of them are vastly unlikely, but none of them are intrusive. Perhaps it’s because Marion Ames Taggart backs everything up with solid characterization and believable relationships.
Happie is really the protagonist of these books, and she’s the typical best sibling — bright and cheerful and competent and everyone’s favorite — but she’s also fourteen and full of kid feelings. She resents her older sister’s suitor, refuses to recognize Ralph Gordon’s crush on her, and is casually mean to Laura in a very realistically sibling-like way.
There are about three happy endings and a couple of sad ones, and Taggart still finds space for an excellent snowball fight scene. I continue to be reminded of Laura E. Richards, and something about the tea room made me think of the Polly and Eleanor books, which I don’t think I’ve ever written about. Honestly, I can’t find fault with this book. Nothing about it is superlatively wonderful, but everything is just about right. Looking forward to the next one.