Tea With Mr. Rochester by Frances Towers: The Little Willow

Tea with Mr. Rochester

It has been some time since I last posted here. We came to Sri Lanka for a short break and then hopped on a plane again to visit Singapore. 😀 So I haven’t spent much time reading. But now I plan on getting back to my regular rhythm, and hopefully read few books from the Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlist before the winner is announced on 6th June. However, keeping up with my sequence I think it’s time for a short story review today.

The Little Willow by Frances Towers is so far my favorite in the collection Tea With Mr. Rochester. Set during WWII, it is a story filled with melancholy. Lisby; the youngest of the three Avery sisters is unremarkable in comparison to her two charming sisters; Charlotte and Brenda. When army officers visit their well-maintained home, they always fall in love with Charlotte or Brenda – the two striking beauties – failing to see the inner beauty and sincerity of Lisby. But when Simon Byrne visits them he sees Lisby for who she is and fells in love with her and Lisby with him, even though unfortunately, neither declare their love for each other. So when Simon goes off to war and dies in an enemy prison, it is left to Captain Oliver who was with Simon in his last moments to find the girl Simon dearly loved and tell her so.

It was impossible for me to read The Little Willow without tearing up. It would have been one thing if this was a case of unrequited love, but knowing the love between Simon and Lisby was mutual made The Little Willow a tremendously sad tale. Nevertheless, compared to previous stories in the collection which had supernatural elements this was more aligned with my taste, so I can’t wait to see what more Towers has to offer. 🙂


  1. I hope you enjoyed your trip, Nirmala! Welcome back. You have made me curious about Frances Towers and I will try to find one of her books at our library.
    Best wishes,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Tanja, I had a lovely time in both countries. 🙂 And yes, unfortunately, Tea with Mr Rochester is the only book we have by Towers…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. …I should have said book, as this collection seems to be her only publication-and that posthumously! Kind of sad.

    Liked by 1 person

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