The Tea House by Paul Elwork

"Oh, what a tangled web we weave..." The first part of that quote seems quite an appropriate place to start the review of "The Tea House" by Paul Elwork.
The story concerns a set of twins, Emily and Michael Stewart. While their family is well-to-do, their home life is a bit mysterious and at times I sensed a bit of sadness. Emily discovers she has a unique "talent" one day, and initially has some fun with it. But once her twin, Michael, discovers her secret, he convinces Emily to expand their performances to include friends of theirs. Eventually, word of Emily's talent gets out, and Emily and Michael are drawn into the adult world, where their audiences are more than curious. And when adult curiosity about Emily's talent is mixed with genuine desperation/grief, the ending is unpredictable and shocking.
This book is extremely well written. Mr. Elwork does an excellent job of developing the story and bringing together characters in the story and the story itself in equal portions, so that the farther along the book goes, the more characters and circumstances fit together, giving the reader a more detailed understanding of the story.
The characters of Emily, Michael, and Mr. Dunne are extremely well developed. The detail given to these characters made it quite easy to conjure a picture in my mind as to what they might actually have looked like.
This book held my interest from beginning to end. I liked the story line and the author's writing style makes this a very easy read.
And here are answers to the author questions:
Who are you influenced by as an author?
The list is long, as I guess it is for everyone. I love the works of Kurt Vonnegut, James Salter, Alice Munro, John Irving, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Raymond Carver, Jhumpa Lahiri, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Flannery O'Connor, Charles Dickens... and on and on. And like any writer, my debt to them is immeasurable.
Do you plan on writing a sequel to this book, or do you have something else in the works?
I don't have any plans for a sequel to The Tea House, but I do have another novel in the works, this one set during the early days of the Holocaust in Germany. I'd say more, but that would be telling.

This book was published by Casperian Books, a small, independent company that publishes fiction. It is a single-member limited liability company that publishes fiction and operates out of a chaotic home office with some help from the other occupants of the house and a few hearty volunteers. To view their other books, please click on the link above.