Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – Past Book Reviews 2020 – #SouthernFiction – Little Tea by Claire Fullerton


I have read some amazing books in the last 12 months and I would like to share them again with you, updated with the authors most recent releases and their biography.

We all tend to focus on the books we are currently marketing, but particularly in the case of series it is a good idea to promote earlier books to encourage readers to start at the beginning.

Today my January  2020 review for Little Tea by Claire Fullerton

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.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK

Also by Claire Fullerton

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – Follow Claire : Goodreads – website: Claire Fullerton – Twitter: @Cfullerton3

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.

 

Thanks for joining me today and I hope you have enjoyed my review of Claire Fullerton’s Southern Culture novel Little Tea.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Reviews – #Paranormal Roberta Eaton Cheadle, #Thriller Suzanne Burke, #Contemporary #Southern Claire Fullerton


Welcome to the first of the Cafe and Bookstore updates this week with recent reviews for authors on the shelves

The first author today with a recent review is Roberta Eaton Cheadle for Through the Nethergate.

About the book

Margaret, a girl born with second sight, has the unique ability to bring ghosts trapped between Heaven and Hell back to life. When her parents die suddenly, she goes to live with her beloved grandfather, but the cellar of her grandfather’s ancient inn is haunted by an evil spirit of its own. In the town of Bungay, a black dog wanders the streets, enslaving the ghosts of those who have died unnatural deaths. When Margaret arrives, these phantoms congregate at the inn, hoping she can free them from the clutches of Hugh Bigod, the 12th century ghost who has drawn them away from Heaven’s White Light in his canine guise. With the help of her grandfather and the spirits she has befriended, Margaret sets out to defeat Hugh Bigod, only to discover he wants to use her for his own ends – to take over Hell itself.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Reviewed in the United States on August 2, 2020

Through The Nethergate by Roberta Eaton Cheadle is a wonderful YA novel that will be appreciated by readers of all ages! Cheadle does an excellent job of weaving true historical characters into her tale that pits a teenaged girl, along with her Grandfather, and a few other helpers, against the very forces of Hell itself.

I deeply appreciated the way Cheadle was able to tell the historical tales and intertwine them into the main plot. Her development of characters is very strong, and the reader will care what happens to Margaret, the young protagonist of this novel. Margaret is a very special young lady who along, with a supernatural ability, shows empathy and courage as she faces terrible horrors. Cheadle has written a true page-turner, and I recommend this novel highly!

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

A selection of other Sir Chocolate stories co-written with Michael Cheadle and other books by Robbie Cheadle

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Roberta Eaton Cheadle, Buy :Amazon US And:Amazon UK – Robbie on : Goodreads – blog: Robbie’s Inspiration –  Twitter: @RobertaEaton17

The next author is Suzanne Burke with a review for her thriller, The Reckoning Squad.

About the book

The Reckoning Squad was the new name being whispered in the darkened corridors of the powerful in Washington. The name was whispered with awe, and the whispers grew louder.

Twenty people had been carefully vetted and recruited to undergo specialized training. Training engineered to break them utterly, intended to shatter everything they once believed themselves capable of surviving. Only the best of them made it through the twelve weeks of hell. They now formed a cohesive black-ops unit, known as The Reckoning Squad.

Their facility is breached, and the team’s numbers are decimated. The survivors know that they’re in a fight for their lives. They have been betrayed from within. Trust has now become a rare commodity. They want answers.

The betrayers don’t understand just what they’ve unleashed.

But they are about to find out. The Reckoning Squad are coming, and they have just rewritten the rules.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Jun 30, 2020 D.L. Finn rated it five stars it was amazing

The Reckoning Squad starts with a young caring girl, Chastity/Chaz, who is forced to act during a horrific event. The story follows her into adulthood as she becomes part of a Black-op group. The story’s pace is fast and exciting as Chaz is trained and then works with her group on special operations. Her dedication to duty and relationships with her fellow Black-ops are what drives her. When they are attacked, Chaz’s determination to survive and figure out what happened is not only page-turning but inspiring. Ms. Burke knows how to write a thrilling story, but also make you care about the characters, too. There were twists that I didn’t see coming and character developments that I had me invested. I highly recommend this book, especially if you love a good psychological thriller.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by Suzanne

Suzanne Burke, Buy: Amazon US – And:Amazon UK –   Follow Suzanne: Goodreads –   Website: Soooz Burke AuthorTwitter: @pursoot

The final author today is Claire Fullerton with a review for her novel Little Tea, which I can also highly recommend

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.

A recent review for the book on Goodreads

I am in awe! Claire Fullerton writes a beautiful book. She is upper eschillon, top notch! I would put her right up there with Pat Conroy. Her book Little Tea is amazing. I love southern life and was not privileged to live here during the days of plantations and mint juleps but Claire brought me into that time period and gave me a taste of it.

The book takes place in two time periods now and back somewhere in the 1980’s. Three lifelong friends get together for a long weekend to help one of them figure out her marriage and what she is going to do with the rest of her life. You know how it is when old friends get together? They talk about old times, growing up and their teen years. That is the part that takes place in the 80’s and the rest of it is in today’s time. Folks, I loved every minute of their reminiscing and how they fell right back into their old behaviors. I wanted to be their friend!

It was a fun read but this book also dealt with some pretty tough subjects. There was a gay brother, an alcoholic father, mental illness, tragedy, death, race relations and divorce. This book made you think about some hard subjects and about what is going on in our society today. Claire Fullerton lays it all out for you and allows you draw your own conclusions. Don’t waste any time getting your own copy. You’re gonna love it!

Head over to read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK

Also by Claire Fullerton

Claire Fullerton, Buy: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – Follow Claire on : Goodreads – website: Claire Fullerton – Twitter: @Cfullerton3

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you have found some books to take away with you.. thanks Sally