Book review: 'The Vintage Teacup Club'

Vanessa Greene's debut novel shifts perspectives so rapidly it's difficult to keep up.
by Vicky Misa Published: February 9, 2014

“The Vintage Teacup Club” by Vanessa Greene (The Berkley Publishing Group, 385 pages, in stores)

Fates collide as three bargain shoppers attempt to acquire the same vintage tea set. Unwilling to be dissuaded, these strangers quickly come up with an unconventional solution: co-own their newfound treasure. They end up sharing much more than just a few delicate pieces of china. The ladies develop a bond that helps them navigate through difficult and sometimes sticky situations.

In the beginning, I was happy that author Vanessa Greene used each chapter as an opportunity to switch first-person narratives with her three main characters. It brought me back to my first, and fondest experience with multicharacter viewpoints when I read Amy Tan's “Joy Luck Club” in college. I embraced this bold move because it allowed me to become more deeply invested in all three of the characters instead of just one in particular. The appeal quickly wore off, though, because the average chapter in Greene's book is only about nine pages (some as short as three or four); putting down the book shattered any shred of retention. Each time I'd try to pick up where I left off, I had to back up and remind myself who “I” was before I could move forward. Frankly, that became more effort than I cared to invest.

However, the story itself is well-crafted and interesting. Greene is deft at creating believable characters plucked from everyday life, giving readers a sense of feeling right at home. I found it hard to believe — but was impressed — that this was her debut novel.

— Vicky O. Misa, Staff Writer