The Silver Tea Service

The Silver Tea Service : A memoir

4 (3 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 3 business days
When will my order arrive?


A rich memoir about exploring a family mystery, and how a search for truth can yield unexpected outcomes.

Eight years after the death of her mother, Judy reviews her family relics, including the antique tea service that belonged to her mother's grandfather. Should she just sell the damn thing and buy new lounge furniture? It's tempting.

But she stops to read the inscription etched into the solid silver tray. It honours this man around whom hangs a century-old mystery. Prickling with a strange resentment towards her widely loved mother, she embarks on a journey to uncover the truth behind the story of grandeur and ruin her mother had promised, but never wrote.

The author's relentless research in dusty archives and neglected cemeteries across South Africa unravels an unexpected family history. The process draws her to revisit the darker corridors of her youth, and her sense of identity. She confronts the losses and complexities of her own life.

The Silver Tea Service is a thought-provoking memoir of loss, redemption and belonging, of political injustices and the inescapable nuances of history in South Africa.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 308 pages
  • 152.4 x 228.6 x 21.34mm | 557.92g
  • Australia
  • English
  • 0648591700
  • 9780648591702
  • 1,613,099

Review quote

The Silver Tea Service is a beautifully evocative and richly conceived homage to the stories and silences of history as Judy Campbell searches for the elusive truths of her past. A profound restoration of one family's lost narrative, this book will make you want to know more about the lives and personalities of your own ancestors. -- Joanne Fedler, Internationally bestselling author

The Silver Tea Service is a fascinating historical memoir, stunningly written with grace and honesty. An extraordinary account of a family's history unfolds with intriguing insights and brave storytelling. I was captured from page one and couldn't put this book down! -- Marcia Abboud, Author, Every Shitty Thing

A touching story of innocents and ancestry that is simply a must-read if you are interested in human nature. Judy Campbell's search begins with a silver tea service and ends with a more complete understanding of South Africa's history and her own family's story of wealth, loss, ruin. -- Xanti Bootcov, Author, But They Look So Happy
show more

About Judy Campbell

Judy Campbell is an author, composer and lyricist. Her work has featured on recordings, in a new musical, and she has written many music related articles.

Judy was born in Cape Town, South Africa, to a family of musicians. Despite early musical promise - and contrary to family tradition - she began working as a computer programmer by the age of 17. She spent the next 25 years working in Information Technology, all whilst writing lyrics and singing in bands. Judy and her husband migrated to Australia in 1982.

In 1999, she left IT and turned her full attention to music, taking up the job of Choir Director at North Shore Temple Emanuel in Sydney.

In 2003, she founded the world jazz group MOSAIC, with whom she went on to compose three albums of original music and perform on six national and international tours spanning seven years. She is the founding director of the Australian Jewish Choral Festival, inaugurated in 2012.

In what began as a record of the rise and mysterious ruin of her great grandfather, The Silver Tea Service grew into a personal memoir about the ironies of history, the unexpected personal outcomes of her quest and the stories it uncovered.

Judy is currently working on her next book based on the story of a Bengali slave in the early days of the Cape Colony and how it unexpectedly found expression in the politics of the 20th century in South Africa.
show more

Rating details

3 ratings
4 out of 5 stars
5 33% (1)
4 33% (1)
3 33% (1)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X