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May 28, 2020

Little Tea by Claire Fullerton ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"There’s a damp, verdant feel to Olive Branch, Mississippi, in the summertime. From the side of the road, everything is a chiaroscuro of overgrown, tangled green. Moss drips sultry from kudzu-covered oaks, shading twists of the road in canopies of diamond-dappled sunlight. The world there is flat, expansive, and quiet, evoking a mood both eerie and somber. One step outside Ava’s car and I knew I was out of sync with the environment. I figured I’d need to slow down, ease into the heat, try it on for a spell."  (p 16)

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

Little Tea
April 2020; Firefly Southern Fiction; 78-1645262596
ebook, print (252 pages); women's fiction
Little Tea is a beautiful novel about friendships past and present and letting go of the past so that you can be happy today and plan for tomorrow.  The novel takes place in Memphis and the descriptions are so well done that you can feel the humid summer heat.

Renny, Ava, and Celia have been friends for almost their entire lives but now it's been ten years since they've seen each other.  Celia has moved to California and the two other friends remained in Mississippi.  When Celia gets a call from Renny asking her to come to visit as soon as possible to help Ava, Celia is there the next weekend.  The three friends spend the weekend in a lake house while they re-visit many of their memories and talk about their futures.  The novel goes flawlessly back and forth between two timelines: present day and the 1980s.  As the friends visit their past, they are reminded of the south that they grew up in - prejudice between races and classes, no choices for women beyond marriage, and the accepted behavior of southern women during this time period.  Renny and Ava have accepted their memories of growing up,   but Celia is unable to let go of hers.  One of her strong memories was about her childhood friend Little Tea.  Little Tea's family had been working for her family for generations and Celia and Little Tea were best friends.  Their friendship was accepted when they were young but when they grew older friends and family were not as accepting. Despite all of the Civil Rights laws that had been passed, racial prejudice was still rampant in the South.

Little Tea is one of those few novels that you want to read fast to find out what happens but you also want to read slowly to savor the writing.  The main characters were very well written - they were all very different but together they balanced each other out.  This is a novel of friendship and love, family and forgiveness, and a look at the prejudice and social mores of the south in the 1980s.  It was also a look at female friendships and how they help form our memories and help us plan our futures. This book definitely has some humor especially in the conversations between the three friends but it also has some tears as memories are discussed.  It's a powerful look at friendship that I won't soon forget.

Buy Little Tea at Amazon

Social Media for Claire Fullerton:
Twitter: @cfullerton3

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina when she isn't traveling. She and her husband enjoy traveling, gardening and spending time with their family and friends. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and thrillers. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on FacebookGoodreads, or Twitter.

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