There seems to be no better pairing more suited and more wholesome than the sublime combination of a good book with a great cup of tea. Reading a well-written book while drinking a perfectly made tea gives us a chance to be still within the present moment and learn something about ourselves in a deeply intimate way. Slowly sipping away at a pot of our favourite tea and flipping through the pages of a truly great read allows us to unwind from whatever stresses or uncertainties may be chipping away at us during our day and gives us a moment to truly relax, letting us escape to a world full of mystery, romance, magic and suspense.
In Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden, the essential elements of mystery, beauty, childlike wonder and change for the better are combined seamlessly in the story of Mary Lennox and her Secret Garden. Throughout the novel, Mary transforms from a spoiled, bratty girl into a well-rounded and kind person. Through her fostering of relationships with those around her, and through her love for the outdoors and watching things grow, Mary becomes a living example of how caring for things outside of ourselves helps us to become better people. The reader is taken through this transformation with Mary and is allowed to transform alongside her.
The story opens with Mary as a young girl being raised in the British Indian Colonies in the early 1900’s. After circumstances suddenly change, Mary is made to move back to England to live with some distant relatives in a large mansion. Unhappy about the inconveniences of her new environment and annoyed by the cheerfulness of those around her, Mary makes it her mission to make the lives of the people trying to help her as unpleasant as she possibly can. As Mary begins to explore her new world, she slowly but surely begins to make friends with the individuals that she interacts with and she discovers that all within the mansion is not what it seems. She discovers a garden on the mansion grounds and with the help of friends transforms the garden from an overgrown and untamed plot of land into a beautiful oasis. As the garden is transformed, so is Mary’s personality; changing from spoiled and unpleasant to happy and kind.
The story’s central theme of the outdoors and the natural world being a source of health and peace of mind is perfectly suited to the act of drinking tea. When we sit down to a cup of tea, we bring it’s warmth and flavour into our bodies and allow it to transform us both physically and emotionally. As Mary’s acceptance of the natural world allowed her to become more humble and more loving, tea eases our souls and makes us more at ease with our environments and those around us.
Full of nostalgic imagery and eloquent descriptions of times past, The Secret Garden has healing qualities of its own. Through the portal of its pages, The Secret Garden transports the reader into a world of mystery and wonder and above all else, returns the reader to the innocence and magic of childhood.
When we sit down to make a cup of tea, we condition our skills in order to produce a better cup each and every time. By asserting our focus, energy and attention to the task at hand, we enable ourselves to brew the best possible tea and we become tea masters in our own right. In a similar fashion, when Mary gave her effort and attention to caring for those around her and looking after her garden, she became a better person capable of more love and affection than she could have imagined. Over time she transformed into someone able to foster that transformation in others and someone who was able to enjoy the small things in life wholeheartedly.
At Herbal Republic we truly do believe that when tea and literature come together, beautiful things can happen. Especially when we make an effort to pair specific teas to specific books, it is our experience that reading becomes all the more engaging. For this reason, we suggest brewing up a large pot of our Ambassador black tea blend to guide you through the pages of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden. A smooth and robust combination of meticulously produced black teas, our Ambassador blend is sure to transport you away to a time and a place of mystery, magical wonder, and secret gardens.
When we drink tea and read a great book at the same time, we grant ourselves the chance to be encapsulated by a narrative and escape the trappings of the modern world. It allows us the increasingly rare opportunity to look internally at our own wishes and desires and discover how being encased in the present moment can help us to create a better, more stress free life.
What do you think about reading and drinking tea? Let us know in the comments below