by Claire Fullerton
About Little Tea
Setting – Arkansas
Publisher: Firefly Southern Fiction (April 28, 2020)
Paperback: 252 pages
Digital ASIN: B0817J667Y
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.
Now with the passing of Congressman John Lewis, acclaimed civil rights leader, was the perfect time for me to read this book. Celia and Little Tea grew up as close as sisters in a time, the 1980s, when some people still believe in segregation, including some in Celia’s family. But these girls had such a strong bond that couldn’t be broken.
In present time, Celia gets together with her other childhood friends Ava and Renny at Renny’s lake house because Ava is having a personal crisis. What evolves Is 3 days discussing life, marriage, choices made, regrets, and triumphs. Celia realizes she still has many things in her life she has avoided and needs to deal with before she can move on.
Ms. Fullerton has written a beautiful, compelling Southern story that grabbed me from the start. The book moves back and forth between the ’80s and present-day with ease. The author has a wonderfully descriptive writing style that brings not only the characters to life but the setting. The characters are strong and develop more within the pages. The settings at times are haunting and other times soothing. This book tells a story rich in history and friendship. It is an emotional story filled with family drama, addiction, depression, love, hate, and more that has stuck with me since I read the final word.
The journey Celia, Ava, and Renny take over the course of the weekend goes beyond what I first imagined was going to happen. Little Tea is a treasure to be savored. This is the first Claire Fullerton novel I have read but it definitely will not be my last.
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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 short list of the Chanticleer Review’s Somerset award. She is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Literary.
Purchase Link – Amazon
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”