Jodi Thomas comes to the blog today with a story that reaffirms friendships and shows that home is always where your heart is, no matter how much has or hasn’t changed.
The Little Teashop on Main
Covering a span of more than two decades, we first meet the three girls at the center of our story in a ‘getting to know you’ Princess tea party just before they are to enter kindergarten. Hosted by Zoe and her mum Alex, the owner of Sweetie Pie’s Bakery on main street. Zoe is full of imagination and boundless energy, and she and her mother have made a life in Laurel Springs. The two little girls invited to the party are Emily, a shy little girl full of tears and hesitance with her mother, a rather overbearing and judgmental, controlling woman who instantly dismisses Alex’s home as ‘unfit’, although retains a veneer of polite for ‘appearances’. Lastly to arrive in a wrinkled dress with no princess crown is Shannon with her father, Mack. Having just been abandoned by her mother who left for ‘more’, the two seem slightly shell-shocked, and Mack seems to be holding onto his control with an iron grip. Zoe is the glue that brings these three together at first – wanting to make friends and have them happy – calling Mack her “knight in shining armor, making sure her new friends have fun and want to come back. Little would they expect that this first little tea party would start a series of teas for them all, Forever Teas that occurred to mark special moments in their lives as they grew up, forming a touchstone to their friendship and their little town.
Years pass and the girls find a friend in Jack, neighbor to Emily and keeper of all their secrets. He’d seen the three little girls going to that first party and desperately wanted to be friends with them all, and as the years pass, he finds both friendship and protection as his primary roles. The girls go and chase their dreams – but always a worry remains for little Emily. Directed by her mother within an inch of her life, Emily is often drifting away in her imagination, making up stories, wandering the streets at night, never quite ‘happy’, but always motoring on. When she’s hit by a car on a remote road just outside of town when she was fifteen, her mother’s controlling ways and her friends’ worries increase – and she gains a protector, unseen, unknown, but always watching in the guise of Fuller.
As the girls chase their own dreams: Zoe to New York, Shannon to the Air Force Academy and Emily, with nearly a semester away at a school up north – their lives are changing, and Alex and Mack – both determined that never again another will have the power to hurt them, they see more changes. Emily’s accidentally taking more ‘painkillers’ brings them all up short – and every one of them is wondering both how to help her and hiding their fears that she ‘meant’ to overdose. Soon her friends are all working to offer her changes – fixing up and old apartment for her to have some space from her mother, offering her work and generally watching over her. Soon she meets Fuller, the town ‘troublemaker’, and her relationships change. But it isn’t Emily who brings the bittersweet to the story. All in their early thirties, the three friends have found, finally, love and direction: Emily and Fuller are married, Shannon and Jack have finally admitted and committed, and Zoe has come home after chasing her dreams in New York for years – making plans for a tea shop to enhance her mother’s bakery. And the biggest surprise to them all – Alex and Mack are married, after he was wounded on an ‘operation’ and moving on with their lives. Thomas deftly weaves all of the connections and people together, as they all find a tradition in the “Forever Teas’ and the familiarity of the town that brings them home again. A true testament to the power of friendship and the healing that just knowing you have those connections can provide. I couldn’t put this book down -from the imagination of little girls with a promise, and a promise that lasted decades, every moment of great change, challenge and grief are all displayed on the page, easy to relate to and possibly stirring memories of your own.
Title: The Little Teashop on Main
Author: Jodi Thomas
Genre: Coming of Age, Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Friendship, Romantic Elements, Small Town
Published by: Harlequin HQN
Published on: 7 May, 2019
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
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A rainy-day ritual—a tea party between three little girls—becomes the framework of not only their friendship, but their lives.
Blonde, curly-haired Zoe is openhearted, kind and free-spirited, and dreams of becoming a famous actor in New York City. Shy Emily struggles with mental health but has the heart and soul of a writer. And Shannon—tall, athletic, strong—has a deep sense of loyalty that will serve her well when she heads off to military college.
As Zoe, Emily and Shannon grow into women—forging careers, following dreams and finding love—they’ll learn that life doesn’t always unfold the way they want it to, but through it all, the one constant is each other, and their regular tea parties. And when the unthinkable happens, the girls must come together to face the greatest test of all.
A deeply moving novel about the family that raises us, the hearts that nurture us and the great friendships that define our lives.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.