I have never written a book review before; in fact, it never crossed my mind to do such a thing. But sometimes, a change in content is good. Being quarantined makes for good reading time, so I figured now was the best time to start writing down my thoughts. Am I late to the game? Maybe, but I am going to pretend as if I am not. Before going in further though, I need to clear up something. I, for one, hate spoilers. Even with this book, I would like to talk about the fluidity of writing and her perspectives on tea, without giving away any minute details which could ruin a future experience. My tea reviews are normally structured, but this book review will be a spur of the moment thoughts, musings, and possibly some quotes that I found extremely riveting. Enjoy.
Infused: Adventures in Tea
By: Henrietta Lovell
In this book, Henrietta Lovell takes you with her on her journey across the globe and a different tea adventure that she encounters with each country. Instead of a factual tea book, she writes as if it is a memoir or love letter. She expands on individuals who directly impacted her own tea journey as well as different experiences that created distinct memories.
Infused: Adventures in Tea had made its rounds on my Instagram many times throughout last year, but I never made the move to purchase the book until I rediscovered a forgotten treasure – a gift card. Perhaps it was the frugality nature of me being a college student or something else that had previously prevented me from purchasing the book. But I finally gave in the tea crowds and decided to see for myself what chaos this book would ensue in my life. After ordering the book online, I desperately waited by my mailbox for the package to arrive with my book. Of course, it was delivered when I was in Wisconsin watching my best friend prance across the graduation stage but I soon had it in my hands and desperately tried to find time to read my new treasure.
With most books, I quickly devour the pages and all too quickly, finish the story. I am horrid at recklessly anticipating the next scene in a book and hurriedly search the pages for the next action-packed scene. This book was not like the others though. I wanted to languish in the knowledge that the Tea Lady could give me. And boy did I.
The first detail I noticed when reading the book, was the attention to phrasing and detail. There was no sentence in this book that wasn’t carefully attended to, giving meaning and new appreciation to each sentence. Each one pulled you into the story and timeline that was being portrayed. Every now and then there would be a profound line that struck a chord in me, such as “Tea has been my soundtrack and my narrative”, and I rushed to take notes or underline the words as I let them pour into me. Her way of explaining simple or complex concepts seems to be uncanny in the industry (as to what I have seen so far), but take that with a grain of salt as this is my first tea-related book.
Another detail that I adored in her writing, was the timeline and fluidity of writing. Some stories related back to each other, and others simply completed a puzzle that I did not know existed until that moment. She clearly labels the origin of her story whether in phrase or location, which helped paint a deeper picture of how well-traveled Henrietta Lovell is. In all transparency, she is a figure in the tea industry whom I knew nothing about until this book. It seems rather intimate, gaining such knowledge about her life without her knowing anything about mine.
I had to take a small break from reading, as my life ramped up with school and work again, but with being stuck in my house now for a few weeks, I found myself having a few hours here and there to read. One other quality I really admired about Henrietta Lovel’s novel was seeing her passion play out throughout the book. Of course, if one was to publish a book about tea, I would hope that they have an interest in it. But Lovel’s love and passion for tea was found in every chapter, every paragraph, every sentence, every word. I found myself getting lost in the little world that she created in her sentences and yearning to taste the very teas and visit the very places she described page after page.
If I was critical of any aspect of this book, it would be a slight lack of structure. Often I would not realize where we were in her “timeline” and just hoped that it was chronological. But, even so, it was wildly entertaining. Almost as if I was receiving letters about her adventures each day, and she was speaking to a friend. All in all, if given the opportunity, I would recommend this book to any tea lover. Or even a person who loves to travel and experience the culture. Infused: Adventures in Tea was so well written that it engages the reader in their own tea journey and allows them to reflect on their own experiences.
Have you read this book? What were your thoughts? If not this one, what other tea-related books would you suggest? Happy Brewing!