If you’ve ever tried a flowering tea, you know there’s more to the experience than just the end result. A flowering tea is crafted as a beginning-to-finale art form. A tight little ball of mystery is dropped into a warm bath, and a breath of anticipation is held. Then, slowly and deliberately, petals of green tea unfurl, revealing carefully chosen blooms and herbals for more color and taste than first hinted at.
English Tea Store’s Longing Heart Flowering Tea comes from the Anhui Province of China, created by a tea master to ease his longing heart on difficult journeys to Beijing. And it is a perfect example of art-meets-flavor. Gentle green tea effortlessly mingles with jasmine and a plume of amaranth (another name for the plant called Love Lies Bleeding), producing a mild but satisfying botanical finish.
It’s the ideal sipping companion to Jess McConkey’s paranormal mystery Love Lies Bleeding. In McConkey’s novel, Samantha Moore awakens from a coma to find herself enwrapped in a life of pain and dependency. She is at the beginning of her difficult journey to recovery; not only from the injuries she sustained in a brutal attack, but from the emotional aftermath. Her father and her fiancé agree to send her to recuperate in a remote cabin in an isolated town in Minnesota. A town that is a tight little ball of mystery, much like Sam herself. She resents her loss of freedom, both because of the way her family controls her decisions, and the way her fear controls her mind.
But as the novel unfolds, Samantha grows and unfurls, slowly and deliberately, to reveal more strength than first hinted at. At Elk Horn Lake, hidden secrets effortlessly mingle with danger, haunting, and romance, and author McConkey navigates these treacherous waters to produce a mild but satisfying literary finish.
If you choose to sweeten the tea, don’t add much! This tea, and this story, are artfully understated. But one thing is strongly clear: sipping English Tea Store’s Longing Heart Flowering Tea while reading McConkey’s “Love Lies Bleeding” (with a bloom of the title-worthy plant) is a literal taste of real mystery.
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