Reviews

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““For All the Tea in China” is a delightful read — intrigue, suspense, eccentric characters, dastardly deeds, treachery, exotic locales.”  – Los Angeles Times

This is a dream come true – the paperback of FOR ALL THE TEA IN CHINA is now available in your local Costco.

In fact, it’s a featured non-fiction title in March’s Costco Connection Magazine:

This well written history is fun to read, and I’m sure you, like me, will never look at a cup of tea the same way.

— Joshua Lilly, Inventory Control Specialist, books

I am happy to speak to schools or book clubs, by phone, skype or in person. Just ask!


The Best of 2010 lists are starting to arrive and  For All the Tea in China: How England Stole the World’s Favorite Drink and Changed History is on them:

Editor’s Choice Pick for 2010 – Booklist

Best Business Book 2010, History and Biography – Strategy+Business Magazine

Top 5 Gift Books for Moms, 2o1o – Travel Savvy Mom

A new book about how tea forged historical relations between China, India and the West, says that industrial espionage in the 1800s shaped the world much the way it does today. – Fast Company

With her probing inquiry and engaging prose, Sarah Rose paints a fresh and vivid account of life in rural 19th-century China and Fortune’s fateful journey into it…if ever there was a book to read in the company of a nice cuppa, this is it.

Washington Post Book Review

In “For All the Tea in China,” the most eventful era of the tea plant gets the inspired treatment it deserves. – Minneapolis Star Tribune

Pause to reflect that the tea you are enjoying is totally hot — as in, stolen! Nabbed! Ripped off! Nothing more than the subject of international corporate espionage! – Chicago Sun Times

The spy who loved tea. The Express  (p1, p2)

The most fun and exciting new book I have read this year. Beijing Today

Rose has done well. – South China Morning Post, Hong Kong

This story is nothing less than remarkable. San Francisco Book Review

Sarah Rose’s history of how tea came to be cultivated outside China reads like an adventure yarn.That he succeeded, lived to tell tale is nothing short of amazing, Rose does full justice in her appealing book. – Charlotte Post and Courier

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The plot for Sarah Rose’s “For All the Tea in China” seems tailor-made for a Hollywood thriller…a story that should appeal to readers who want to be transported on a historic journey laced with suspense, science and adventure.

19th-century industrial spy stole no.1 drink – Associated Press

For All the Tea in China releases in North America on March 18, and the reviews are starting to arrive:

A delicious brew of information on the history of tea cultivation and consumption in the Western world…a remarkably riveting tale. Booklist, (starred review)

Journalist Rose  is a rarity, an author who skillfully narrates her own lush work, capturing every nuance perfectly. Library Journal, (starred review)

Sarah Rose steeps us in the story of Robert Fortune. National Geographic Traveler

“Written in an engaging and lively tone, Sarah Rose’s book is as much an adventure story as a piece of history.” Catholic Herald

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The BBC chose FOR ALL THE TEA IN CHINA as Book of the Week.

Listen to all 5 episodes, with Maureen Beattie reading.

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For All the Tea in China is the Telegraph’s  top choice for the week.


Geographical Magazine, the Royal Geographical Society’s official mouthpiece, weighs in:

Gastronomic pleasure is all about the details: always add a tiny splash of water to whisky to release the hidden aromas; never eat cheese straight from the fridge. There is a trick to making a cup of tea, too, as Sarah Rose reveals in her entertaining new book.


Country Life is a very English magazine, and they seem to approve.

What a hero he is, disguising himself as Chinese with a long black pigtail to venture into China’s alarming hinterland to smuggle out tea plants….He had to face all 19th Century China’s perils — bandits, cannibalism, fevers and pirates. This, and the detailed description of how tea is made from raw camellia leaves will ensure you value your cuppa as never before.


I just read my Amazon page.

Review
Rose’s account is full of colour
–The Times

Review
Reshapes into gripping prose Fortune’s own memoirs and letters … An enthusiastic tale of how the humble leaf became a global addiction

Review
The best parts of the book are not the dangers that Fortune encountered, but Rose’s assured, confident descriptions of the manufacture of tea. Like Fortune, the reader goes on a journey of discovery

Review
[Fortune’s] story is well worth the telling, and despite the dearth of private papers, Rose does so with skill and restraint

Review
Reveals our cuppa wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for an amazing Victorian, armed only with a rusty pistol and a pigtail, who stole the secret of tea from under the nose of China’s ruthless warlords

Scotland on Sunday
A compelling sketch of the world of globalisation before instant information, and transforms a modest Scottish botanist into a swashbuckling pirate capitalist … A genuinely curious and evocative yarn

The Tattler and the Resident are on Robert Fortune’s side.

Travel?  You dare not read the amazing For All the Tea in China by Sarah Rose.  It’ll get you going in disguise, yet.


Bloggers read

He is not my mother, I’ve never even met him, but he lives in China and said “I couldn’t put the book down.” – This Is China Blog

Seems like the T-Ching likes Robert Fortune too T Ching

“If you like tea (and presumably you do, or why would you be reading this blog?) go get it from your local library or bookshop or friend and read it.” – Tea For You and Me

Someone in Maine is pre-ordering her copy (ok, ok, so she’s a friend, but still…) – Travels With Hillary

Another one to please my mother.

This brisk little study gives a compelling sketch of the world of globalisation before the age of instant information, and transforms a modest Scottish botanist into a swashbuckling pirate capitalist, who incidentally changed the way we all have breakfast.

A girl could get used to this.

Surely those old tea parlours should have displayed a picture of The Saviour of The Cuppa next to portraits of Churchill and the Queen

Good news

I’m starting to enjoy this.

Concealed in the murky depths of your cuppa is nothing less than a crucial phase in the rise of the British Empire. If the secret of producing tea could be wrested from the grip of the Chinese Emperor, and the plant itself transplanted to the foothills of the Himalayas in the British Raj, vast revenues would follow and British imperial dominance in the Far East would be incontestable. Enter Robert Fortune, botanist and plant-hunter extraordinaire – as diligent, daring and enterprising a Victorian hero as one could wish for.

Sarah Rose tells a stirring tale of individual derring-do and the fate of nations.


They love me. They love me slightly less. The FT so totally loves me.

Tea is ingrained in the British psyche but the story benefits from an American author for whom the subject is almost exotic. An enthusiastic tale of how the humble leaf became a global addiction.

This warms an author’s heart.

The great tea robbery: How our cuppa wouldn’t exist if an amazing Victorian hadn’t stolen the secret from China’s warlords.

Reviews pouring in

The Irish praise For All the Tea in China.

Rose presents tea as the focus of an exotic adventure story.

So not everyone loves me.  But some do.

The Indiana Jones of tea!

For All the Tea in China was just chosen as BBC Radio 4’s book of the week.   It will be serialized on air everyday for 5 days.  The air date will be some time in April, check here for updates.