I was delighted to be asked to read and review an advance copy of the new novel, Little Tea by Claire Fullerton which is now on Pre-Order on Amazon for May 1st.
About the book.
Southern Culture … Old Friendships … Family Tragedy
One phone call from Renny to come home and “see about” the capricious Ava and Celia Wakefield decides to overlook her distressful past in the name of friendship.
For three reflective days at Renny’s lake house in Heber Springs, Arkansas, the three childhood friends reunite and examine life, love, marriage, and the ties that bind, even though Celia’s personal story has yet to be healed. When the past arrives at the lake house door in the form of her old boyfriend, Celia must revisit the life she’d tried to outrun.
As her idyllic coming of age alongside her best friend, Little Tea, on her family’s ancestral grounds in bucolic Como, Mississippi unfolds, Celia realizes there is no better place to accept her own story than in this circle of friends who have remained beside her throughout the years. Theirs is a friendship that can talk any life sorrow into a comic tragedy, and now that the racial divide in the Deep South has evolved, Celia wonders if friendship can triumph over history.
My review for Little Tea January 26th 2020
Little Tea is a simple title that belies a story that is both complex and compelling. Beautifully written, the novel moves seamlessly between the 1980s Memphis and the present, as we become fascinated by the family dynamics, and events that would change the lives of those touched by them. It is a book you will be reluctant to put down, and with some unexpected twists to the story it will keep you captivated to the end.
The story begins with three friends who arrange to meet in a lake house at Heber Springs Arkansas, a few hours outside Memphis. They are coming together in support of Ava, who is experiencing a crisis in her marriage and nomadic lifestyle. The other two women are very different, with Renny the self-sufficient and straight talking veterinarian and Celia, who the author describes as the ‘the friend in the middle, neutral ground, the interpreter’. She is also the narrator of the story as it unfolds.
Others from the past arrive at the lake house, stirring up long forgotten emotions, resulting in Celia in particular, to revisit her childhood and teenage years, despite it raising painful memories she has chosen to bury for over twenty years.
We return at pivotal moments in her story to the 1980s, and begin to see faint cracks appearing in both family relationships and key friendships, as long accepted social mores continue to fade into the past. Just because a law changes, adherence does not happen overnight, particularly when a family is multi-generational, and the young are quicker to adopt the new and more inclusive approach to the way they interact socially.
This is where we meet Little T or Thelonia, daughter of the foreman of the Wakefield cotton fields and plantation, whose family has been in service to the Wakefields for generations. Little T and Celia at age ten are best friends, and with Celia’s brother Hayward two years older often in attendance, they have the freedom to roam the plantation and surrounding countryside together.
All the strands of this compelling story come back to Little T at the centre. She is the catalyst of the events that unfold and will change the lives of the Wakefield family forever. What is acceptable at ten years old is frowned upon in adulthood, and even those who appear to have embraced the new future, hide deeply ingrained prejudices.
The book is beautifully written with a flow that is not disrupted by the time shifts within the story. The characters are wonderfully crafted and even those with more than their share of human flaws, are easy to visualise and connect to. It is a book you will be reluctant to put down, and with some unexpected twists to the story it will keep you captivated to the end.
Pre-Order the Ebook and Print edition at a special price: Amazon US
And : Amazon UK
Also by Claire Fullerton
Read the reviews and buy the books : Amazon US
and: Amazon UK
Read other reviews and follow Claire on : Goodreads
About Claire Fullerton
Claire Fullerton hails from Memphis, TN. and now lives in Malibu, CA. with her husband and 3 German shepherds. She is the author of Mourning Dove, a coming of age, Southern family saga set in 1970’s Memphis. Mourning Dove is a five-time award winner, including the Literary Classics Words on Wings for Book of the Year, and the Ippy Award silver medal in regional fiction ( Southeast.) Claire is also the author of Dancing to an Irish Reel, a Kindle Book Review and Readers’ Favorite award winner that is set on the west coast of Ireland, where she once lived. Claire’s first novel is a paranormal mystery set in two time periods titled, A Portal in Time, set in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.
She is a contributor to the book, A Southern Season with her novella, Through an Autumn Window, set at a Memphis funeral ( because something always goes wrong at a Southern funeral.) Little Tea is Claire’s 4th novel and is set in the Deep South. It is the story of the bonds of female friendship, healing the past, and outdated racial relations. Little Tea is the August selection of the Pulpwood Queens, a Faulkner Society finalist in the William Wisdom international competition, and on the long list of the Chanticleer Review’s Somerset award. She is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Literary.
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Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will head over and enjoy the pre-order price for this wonderful novel. thanks Sally.