Tea and Empathy

Tea and Empathy

by Shanna Swendson
Genres: Fantasy & Magic
Published on October 26, 2023
Pages: 204
Format: eBook Source: Owned

Welcome to Rydding, the hidden village you might stumble across if you need a home and a fresh start. For Elwyn Howell, the village is a lifesaver when she finds it just as she's run out of strength and hope while running for her life. The abandoned healer's cottage welcomes her, even though she's given up on that calling. She opens a tea shop instead, using her knowledge of herbs and her empathic gift that allows her to select the perfect tea for each customer. Soon, she's feeling at home in the village community. She's afraid it's too good to last, a fear that's confirmed when she finds a wounded man unconscious in her garden. Was he sent by the people who are hunting her? Not even he knows, since he has no memory of who he is or how he got there. As she nurses him back to health, they develop a close bond, but the specter of both their pasts--the one she's fleeing and the one he doesn't remember--gets in the way. He doesn't know what life he may have left behind, and she lives in constant fear that her old life will catch up with her and she'll end up convicted of a murder she's not entirely sure she didn't commit. They can't hide forever, not even in Rydding, and if they want to have a future, they'll have to confront their pasts. A new cozy cottagecore romantic fantasy from the author of Enchanted, Inc.

I loved Shanna Swendson’s two previous fantasy series. I was excited to pick this first book in her new story up.

Elwyn has been on the run for a while when she literally stumbles on a village that appears to be mostly abandoned. She enters a house that has an overgrown garden before realizing that it was the healer’s house. Healer’s cottages have helper spirits and this one has decided that she should stay.

Elwyn doesn’t trust her healer’s gift anymore after a patient died. She keeps her previous profession secret but uses the herbs to brew teas. She opens her front room as a small tea shop instead of healing. But sometimes she can’t help herself. Now she just needs to learn to trust herself again.

This village is very mysterious. Where did most of the residents go? The people who have come since all seem to be hiding from bad pasts. Is the castle on the hill abandoned? Is the village somehow bringing in the new residents with specific skills it needs?

Figuring out these questions will give enough stories for a good series.