Little Tea

Fiction - Southern
254 Pages
Reviewed on 12/25/2019
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Author Biography

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 ten-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 It is the story of the bonds of female friendship, healing the past, and outdated racial relations.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

    Book Review

Reviewed by Ankita Shukla for Readers' Favorite

Little Tea by Claire Fullerton takes readers on a journey of betrayal, young romance, friendship, and racism in the '80s. Ava, Celia, and Renny had been friends since they were thirteen years old. Years after, when Ava struggled with her decision to leave her twenty-three-year marriage, they plan on getting together in Memphis (their hometown). Ava had been with Stan since she was twenty-two, but now she feels that they are in a rut. On reaching Memphis, Ava got back in touch with her ex-boyfriend, Mark. What nobody could have seen was that Celia's ex-boyfriend, Tate, was also in Memphis and was eager to talk to Celia. His presence brought up many memories of the past, sweet and bitter, that Celia had worked hard in keeping buried. Betrayal of Tate, good times with her brother, Hayward, and the heartfelt discussions with her charismatic friend, Little Tea, were the most significant of all those recollections.

Little Tea by Claire Fullerton is an experience and not just a book. Most of the time, Celia narrates the story, but that does not decrease the importance of other characters. Ava is a capricious woman that brings the fun factor into the plot. Renny is a straightforward woman whose personality oozes control. Celia is a thinker who does not speak without analyzing all the facts. Little Tea, whom Celia considered her best friend, only wishes to get far away from the racism of Memphis. Hayward, Celia's brother, brings calm and joy into the plot. He takes a firm stand against the racist comments of his family without showing any sign of anger or annoyance.

Claire Fullerton has done a commendable job of discussing the prejudiced opinion of a few privileged sets of people against the black community in the '80s. Although Celia and Hayward can find no flaw in Little Tea, not all members of their family tolerate this friendship. Claire Fullerton moves both the present and the flashback parts of the story almost in parallel. Drama, the innocence of youth, the banter of friends, and suspense are my most cherished elements of this book.

Southern Fiction at its Finest

Barbara Stark-Nemon - author Even in Darkness- a novel
5.0 out of 5 stars Southern Fiction at its Best
Reviewed in the United States on July 24, 2020
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Southern fiction has always fascinated me for its evocation of that culture and language, the iconic characters and descriptions of environments. Claire Fullerton’s Little Tea more than satisfies a reader’s fascination with world she creates in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi. In the way we all try to look back to make sense of how we’ve gotten to where we are approaching middle age, three childhood BFF gather and move forward the narrative of their connections. Race, family ties, mental illness and ambition are the themes that bind and inform this story with conflict, history and ultimately love. A wonderful story beautifully told.
One person found this helpful

Five Stars for Little Tea

Alison Henderson
5.0 out of 5 stars Complex and insightful
Reviewed in the United States on June 12, 2020
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The story of LITTLE TEA, like the history of race relations in the South, is deeply emotional, steeped in history, and unfailingly complex. And make no mistake, this is a "Southern" book. You can feel the humidity on your skin and smell the redolent summer vegetation in Como, Mississippi, as childhood innocence gets turned on its head.

The issue of race hangs over the characters and weaves them together, as it must in the South of the 1980s and today, but LITTLE TEA is also a story of complicated familial relationships and decades-long friendships that form the foundation and strength that allow the characters to withstand life's inevitable blows.

Southern Saga

Alice Bingham Gorman
5.0 out of 5 stars A Southern Saga
Reviewed in the United States on June 24, 2020
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Barbara Kingsolver says. "Good fiction creates empathy. A novel takes you somewhere and asks you to look through the eyes of another person, to live another life." That is exactly what Claire Fullerton has done with LITTLE TEA. As a reader, you will live as a southerner in Como, Mississippi, Memphis, Tennessee, and Heber Springs, Arkansas. You will experience the physical surroundings, understand the needs and wants and prejudices of the multigenerational population, and most of all you will go to the heart of a privileged southern woman, her deep abiding friendships and her special awareness of the embedded issues of race. LITTLE TEA is a story for our time.

Highly Reccomend

Women's Fiction Momma
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended
Reviewed in the United States on June 17, 2020
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Claire Fullerton has stolen my heart with lyrical prose and a deep understanding of family, friendship, and how history shapes us in Little Tea. Through the story of Celia and Little Tea, two incredible young women who dare to defy convention, readers are quickly swept up in a story of a 1980's South that is hanging on to its roots by a thread. At times, the story made me feel the deep friendships similar to those in The Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood, but at others the tension resting just below the surface of this original story kept me turning the pages to learn what would happen. Fullerton's depth of understanding when it comes to the relationships between Celia's and Little Tea's family ties will break your heart, and then all at once make it sing. Highly recommended.

Great Southern Read

Karen L. Reed
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Southern read
Reviewed in the United States on July 11, 2020
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book of friends family and love. Claire Fullerton has a way of writing that really draws you into her characters and their lives. You feel like you know each character personally as she navigates you thru their lives and experiences. But I must admit I never saw the ending coming.
This is a wonderful book to read in this day and age with everything going on


5.0 out of 5 stars Delighful!
Reviewed in the United States on May 23, 2020
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Fullerton uses adjectives with the skill of those Southern Agrarian writers from the past. Her descriptions catch your breath like the first sip of an chilled mint julep, served in a silver julep cup of course!
This book has everything long time friendships, lost loves and a delicious surprise ending! A must read.


Henry Loeb
5.0 out of 5 stars Claire Fullerton & Little Tea definitive addition for any vacancy on your book shelf.
Reviewed in the United States on August 7, 2020
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Claire Fullerton scores another grand slam hit of character development in Little Tea. Chapters progress in alternate early/late sequence so as to focus on personality amplification and as the story develops, it appears this will be a sad tale, but the conclusion is no different than a dark theatrical, or dour ballet, or seriously foreboding musical performance and they turn on all the overhead lamps at the end. Fullerton’s conclusion to what you think will be a very blue narrative has an almost overwhelming bright ‘turn on the lights’ conclusion.

5 Stars!

Judy Harrison
5.0 out of 5 stars Claire is able to articulate feelings unlike any author I’ve read before.
Reviewed in the United States on May 16, 2020
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Loved this book! Being from Memphis, I can relate to her characters particularly the enduring lifelong friendships. Claire has been able to articulate feelings and emotions I’ve never been able to express. She is a remarkably talented and gifted author. I’m hoping for a sequel as I already miss Celia, Little Tea, Ava and Renny. Nightly recommend.

Takes you to the Deep South

Annie McCormick
5.0 out of 5 stars Takes you to the deep south from the first page.
Reviewed in the United States on May 18, 2020
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I love books about women who have known each other for decades. Laughter, wisdom, tears.... Claire brings it all in Little Tea. And a solid high five for using all the ACT vocab words throughout! Beautifully written, smart humor, profound emotions. An awesome read.
2 people found this helpful

Great Southern Read

susan crane
5.0 out of 5 stars Great southern read!!!
Reviewed in the United States on May 21, 2020
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Oh my goodness! This book is the bomb! I have lived in the south my whole life and this book reminded me so much of things that happened in my childhood in the 50s and 60’s...some good and some not so good but oh so nostalgic! Can’t wait for the sequel!!!
One person found this helpful

Another Wonderful Page Turner

5.0 out of 5 stars Another wonderful page turner
Reviewed in the United States on May 23, 2020
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Claire Fullerton is one of the best story tellers ever! Once again, I didn’t want the story to end! I loved the characters and felt as if they were friends. I highly recommend this fabulous book! Thank you Claire Fullerton

Full Circle

M. Leigh Keegan
5.0 out of 5 stars Full Circle
Reviewed in the United States on May 2, 2020
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Little Tea, by Claire Fullerton, progressed in intensity as the pages flew by. The dramatic setting was beautifully written and the characters evolved beyond expectations. The ending was intense and gratifying. You must read this book.
2 people found this helpful

Southern Steeped Then and Now

Claire Fullerton’s solid yet mellifluous writing is unique today. LITTLE TEA is as haunting as her last Southern-set novel, MOURNING DOVE, with mysteries and questions that address the forever problem of racial injustice in this country. Without divulging plot points, it is a work of painful memory, perhaps the most profound source of literary inspiration.

Little Tea, the narrator’s childhood friend, is a portrait of African-American dynamism in the face of rot-gut racism. Liaisons with her young white "brethren," who live in the big plantation house in Como, Mississippi, are tight but life gets in the way; meanwhile, the narrator’s present-day story involves a Memphis school friends get together in Heber Springs, Arkansas, boating and smoking and drinking while working with one gal on her precarious marital status. The stories of past and present intercut between their settings in Como, Mississippi, Memphis, Tennessee, and the Arkansas lake house, and you will have to read the book to decide what you think. The atmospheric description of place is strong, and the habits and behavior of the girlfriends can be hilarious: the narrator and one friend bedevil the third when they try to out-do each other in "redneck speak," spitting the grit like rappers throw rhymes.

It’s good to see the South interpreted by someone who knows it, the good and the terrible alike.