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Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Liz Flaherty - A Touch of Elegance



I don’t remember exactly how old I was or the name of the store. I don’t know what I was doing there or who I was with or what I was wearing. I have no idea what time of the year it was. How’s that for an auspicious beginning to explaining where the setting for a book came from?

          Well, better than you’d think. No, wait, I’m the author, so I’ll be a little less arrogant and say more logical than you’d think. (This is still arrogant, to tell the truth—logic and I are enemies from way back.)

          The place in general was a big department store in Indianapolis, and the place in particular was a tearoom. I had lunch there. I don’t know what I ate or drank, but I remember the clink of shiny, unspotty flatware against thin china with gold or silver around its rims. I remember that the waitress—who wore a starched and attractive uniform—held up a pie plate as a shield against splashing when she poured hot beverages into pretty cups that fit women’s hands. I remember real cream in glass pitchers and ice tinkling in sparkling glasses of water with slices of lemon in them. I remember cloth napkins and table covers, though not what color they were.

          I remember—and here’s the logical part—how I felt when I was there. I was a country kid who was happy to be one. Elegance had had no part in my life and it wasn’t anything I’d missed. But I liked that hour or so of thin china and crisp linen napkins and quiet socialness. Elegance. It created a restful place in my tempestuous adolescent soul that I went back to time after time over the years.

          Segue into…oh, a long time later.

          When Lucy Dolan’s rusty blue van broke down in front of the Victorian house belonging to the woman she’d driven to Taft, Indiana to visit, it was the last straw. If Lucy had been the pulling-her-hair-out and wailing “why me?” sort, she’d have done just that. Instead, almost before she knew it, her restaurant experience combined seamlessly with Gert Taylor’s business savvy and Tea on Twilight was born. The tearoom had cloth napkins and table covers, thin china, shiny flatware—sound familiar? It had, in the little river town, just a touch of elegance.

          But then Boone Brennan, Gert’s oh-yeah-gorgeous nephew, comes to town for the summer, and he’s not at all sure how he feels about tearooms. Or about Lucy Dolan.

          Jar of Dreams will be released by Carina Press on January 14. It’s available for pre-order at

          Come visit me at http://www.lizflaherty.com/ or http://wordwranglers.blogspot.com/

          To celebrate the release of this book I truly love and hope you do, too, I’m giving away a cup and saucer to one commenter. All you have to do—aside from leaving your email address—is answer this question. (I know, there’s always a catch, isn’t there?) What do you consider a touch of elegance?

***Liz's winner is Pat Cochran!  Please email totebag@authorsoundrelations.com with your mailing information. Thanks!***

56 comments:

Jo's Daughter said...

Sipping tea from pretty china cups is definitely elegant, I always thought that wearing a little black dress and grandma's pearl necklace while doing so was too :D

Jo's Daughter said...

Oops my email is: devapajo (at) gmail (dot) com

Debby said...

Sipping tea from china is elegant but also having linen napkins and fancy napkin rings. Serving the tea in a china tea pot.
Debby236 at gmail dot com

traveler said...

Elegance is dressing with style that is yours alone and is unique and special.No sloppy attire nor unkempt appearance. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

petite said...

A touch of elegance to me means being treated with consideration and kindness and being taken out for a lovely afternoon latte and pastry to a wonderful cafe in Europe. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

Lil said...

A touch of elegance to me was sipping single malt whiskey from cut crystal glasses that were shaped like thistles. The glasses were heavy, felt wonderful to hold in the hand, and were from Scotland. I loved the experience and purchased a set in later years.

little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

Kaelee said...

Elegance is having a wine waiter opening a bottle of bubbly and pouring it into a crystal wine glass. The table set with real chinaware, real silverware, and table linens. Not affordable on a daily basis.

When I want to treat myself on a more regular basis, I bring out my china teapot, tea leaves, tea strainer and china cups and saucers. Pure bliss. Brings back lots of memories of tea at my granny's place. She used to read tea leaves for us.

Kaelee said...

Oops ~ kaeleetwo @shaw.ca

Happy New Year!

Kristina Knight said...

linen napkins, soft music playing, china cups/saucers...

Leni said...

Having manners is at the top of the list for me. It all starts there.

lenikaye@yahoo.com

*yadkny* said...

A touch of elegance for me is a strand of pearls or diamond studs to complete my outfit.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

yadkny@hotmail.com

Carolyn McCutcheon said...

I have a similar memory but it was the tearoom at Lazarus in downtown Columbus. I went with my mother to meet my Aunt Bernadine for high tea. I remember wearing a dress, shiny black shoes and gloves. All the ladies had gloves and hats. That was elegance, at least in the eyes of the small girl I was then.

carolyncam2001@aol.com

morgan said...

Hi Liz,

We have a tearoom is town called The Ruby Pear. It is where I first saw a tea cozy in use. :) Good luck with your release. Was this the Pickle Jar one?

Elegance for me is having your car door opened by your husband, and being patient enough to wait for it. :)

Jackie said...

Wearing a dress and stockings. Heels. Setting the table with my fine china and china cups and crystal goblets. Linen table cloth and napkins. And did I mention I'd even wear a dress and stockings?

Happy New Year!

Jackie L.

joyfuljelat(((gmai)))dotcom

Renee said...

I love a placemat and napkin for a picnic. A nice hat can also add classic elegance to a shopping trip or a church dinner. I love dressing up for elegance.

rrbcpa at bellsouth dot net

Cathy Shouse said...

In an unusual twist, I attended three events which had touches of elegance that surprised and delighted me. I could become very attached to exquisite, shiny ice sculptures, waitresses in black delivering appetizers from a tray, and men in tuxedoes helping me into black stretch limousines. Who knew? :)

cathy underscore shouse at yahoo dot com

Brenda Rumsey said...

A touch of elegance that means the most to me would be soft romantic music playing in the background. I love joining a friend for a good cup of tea and conversation. Followed by a little chocolate mint. Mmmmmm.... Good memories. Congrats on your book.
grandmabkr at yahoo dot com

Liz Flaherty said...

Oh, me, too. Love the little black dress. I've never had one, but have had a multitude of tailored black skirts!

Liz Flaherty said...

I love the china tea pots, too, and my mother-in-law collects them!

Liz Flaherty said...

I think special is the most important criteria in elegance.

Liz Flaherty said...

Sounds lovely.

Liz Flaherty said...

Mmmmm...

Liz Flaherty said...

Oh, that's wonderful--I'd love to see the glasses!

Liz Flaherty said...

I think treating ourselves is important.

Liz Flaherty said...

I like that.

Liz Flaherty said...

Pearls are just...nice. Happy New Year to you, too!

Liz Flaherty said...

Me, too. I went to a funeral with my sister-in-law once. She wore a hat and gloves and even though she was the only one there who did, she was also the most elegant.

Liz Flaherty said...

Hi, Morgan! Yes, it's the pickle jar one, and thank you. :-) I like it when Duane opens doors for me, too.

Liz Flaherty said...

Hi, Jackie. I so seldom wear dresses and heels anymore, and I really don't know why--other than the whole pantyhose thing. :)

D'Ann said...

elegnace? Snort. What's that? I DID used to collect cups like these, though. Does that count?

Liz Flaherty said...

I've always thought cloth napkins at a picnic were nice--kind of decadent in an elegant way. :-)

Liz Flaherty said...

Hi, Cathy. I could deal with all those things!

Liz Flaherty said...

Uhmmmm...chocolate mint. Thanks, Brenda!

Liz Flaherty said...

I think the cups are elegant. Also think a mane flying on a running horse is. Don't you, D? :-)

Linda Morris said...

No need to enter me in the contest. I just wanted to say the book sounds fantastic. I preordered!

Di said...

a lace tablecloth & linen napkins always adds a special touch.
sallans d at yahoo dot com

Liz Flaherty said...

Thank you, Linda--what a great thing to read on New Year's Day!

Liz Flaherty said...

Lace tablecloths bring back memories. My grandmother always used them, covered with protective plastic sheeting!

Margie said...

There's a teahouse that my mom, sisters, and I go for special occasions. I love the elegance and the peaceful atmosphere there. I've even got Jordan hooked and Kristen is finally coming for my birthday at the end of the month. I think every young lady should experience an English-style tea at least once in their life.

Marian Pellegrin Merritt said...

A touch of elegance for me is a spa day (massage, manicure, pedicure) followed by some time in natural hot springs topped off by White Pear tea. So rejuvenating!

Mary Preston said...

Grace and style that shine through. This is true for whatever the subject may be.

marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Liz Flaherty said...

They're kind of addictive, too!

Liz Flaherty said...

Ah, Marian. Sounds delightful!

Liz Flaherty said...

They do, don't they, Mary. Thanks for coming by!

Nan said...

I so remember going to the Ayres Tearoom with my Auntie Marge--we both wore dresses and white gloves and hats. Thanks for stirring up that memory, Liz, and for what's it worth, if you can get back to Indy--the Tearoom still exists in the Indiana State Museum. It looks just as it did when we were kids and they still serve tea in the fine china from our childhoods. I'd love to go with you!

Pat Cochran said...

One of the highlights of senior year for
all JDHS Carlton Cadettes (drum & bugle
corps) was the Spring Tea at the home of
the school's counselor, Mrs. Carlton. For
us, it was the epitome of elegance. It
was Sunday best wear, hats, white gloves,
finger foods, and fine china. It was ab-
solutely stunning!

Liz Flaherty said...

Oh, Nan, we should do that!

Liz Flaherty said...

Pat, it sounds like such a great memory!

Carol L. said...

Happy New Year. I love Tea Rooms and I collect vintage Tea Pots . There is just something so elegant about having tea and going the whole nine yards. Tea Service, lace tablecloth and antique silverware etc. My 25 year old daughter drinks her tea in a beautiful tea cup and says she loves the "fancy feeling" of it.:)
Carol L
Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

Liz Flaherty said...

I agree with your daughter, Carol. Even though I more often use a mug, I love the fancy feel! Thanks for stopping by!

Karla Akins said...

A touch of elegance is candles and crystal. I love this conversation and the books looks awesome. Can't wait to read it. kkakins at gmail dot com.

Liz Flaherty said...

Thanks, Karla. I love candles!

pepperphillips.com said...

Wearing a beautiful hat to a function does it for me. You just feel 'different'...and it makes people wonder why you are wearing one.

pepper.phillips@yahoo.com

Liz Flaherty said...

Oh, yes, it does, but they're very respectful of it, too!

Eli Yanti said...

A touch of elegance is wearing gown and high heel :)

Liz Flaherty said...

Oh, yes, very!