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Little Tea

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A brilliantly-written book about family, friendships, and relationships colored by lingering racism in the 1980s southern United States.

What a brilliant book! Little Tea has so many layers that I don't know where to begin. In essence, it tells the story of Celia Wakefield, who had a liberal upbringing on a plantation in Mississipi in the 1980s, despite the lingering racism against African Americans. She has a happy life with her best friend, Little Tea until a terrible tragedy occurs which causes her to flee her home state and never look back.


The book begins with Celia and her close friends Renny and Ava, now nearly 50 years old, meeting for a weekend at Mississippi after a long time. Returning to the seat of her tragedy causes many memories to unfurl, which are described in flashback chapters. The reason for the meeting is to help Ava figure out how to fix her failing marriage. Although the three women are completely different in terms of personality, they have managed to remain friends for over 30 years.


The undisputed heroine of the book is Little Tea, who stole my heart with her confidence in the face of discrimination. But what happens at the very end was a shocker for me. Can people get over their prejudices and change that much?


It was interesting to read about the culture of Southerners and how they consider everything outside their state as foreign. Celia's mother made a special impression on me. Her dignity and grace in the face of everything is inspiring. She belongs to a time when brushing things under the carpet was preferable to speaking about it, even in front of family.


The author's language and writing style is so accomplished that I don't know how to do her justice. She describes feelings, perspectives, and relationships with a skill that makes you want to pause and think instead of rushing through the book. This isn't a quick and light read. It is a book to be savored, little by little. The author describes all the characters and their side stories one by one without losing the main plot or the attention of the reader.


In the end, you're not sure if you feel sorry for Celia's naivete or admire her fortitude. I'm still trying to decide if she was right to escape it all to a far-off place or she should have come back at some point to resolve the pain and betrayal.


There's much to chew over in this sensitive portrayal of friendships and family. Highly recommended if you want an elevating but non-preachy book!

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My reviews are for readers. I attempt to write balanced reviews to help people decide if they'd like to pick up the book. I also post reviews to Amazon India, Goodreads, and my blog: www.satabdimukherjee.wordpress.com.

About the author

I grew up in Memphis and now live in Malibu, California. I am the author of 4 traditionally published books represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Literary Agency. I am a dog lover, a ballet/pilates teacher, a nature lover, and voracious reader. view profile

Published on May 15, 2020

Published by Firefly Southern Fiction

80000 words

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Reviewed by