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.
From the moment they met just weeks before entering kindergarten, Zoe, Shannon, and Emily were bound together through a love of tea parties, tiaras, tutus, and a friendship that will never be broken no matter the circumstances.
Through the years, the friendship between the three girls grows stronger as they share all the ups and downs of life as teenagers and then as young women. Living in a small town has kept the girls close together until just after graduation from high school. Though the girls know they must go their separate ways, they also know the distance and life choices won’t alter their friendship. For Zoe, she is finally able to spread her wings and fly; her flight takes her straight on the New York City where she plans to become a famous actress. For Shannon, the path to the Air Force Academy has always been clear and her strength and enthusiasm are exactly what she’ll need to succeed. Though Zoe and Shannon are excited about their respective future, they are both terribly worried about the third member of their trio, Emily.
Emily has always been the quietest, shiest member of the group but in the years leading up to graduation, she has also been exhibiting troubling behaviors following an accident that nearly claimed her life. Where once Emily was simply shy and quiet, now she is withdrawn, unfocused, and seemingly depressed. To make matters far worse, Emily’s mother is wildly overprotective and when every element combines it is a recipe for disaster that will bring Zoe and Shannon running home to help their beloved friend. What Zoe and Shannon find when they return home chills them to the bone and leaves them wondering if they ever should have left Emily behind.
Though Emily is certainly in bad shape, she has no interest in losing her life nor disrupting the budding future of her friends. With assurances and a plan in place, Emily convinces her friends to return to their lives with the knowledge that she has indeed turned a corner. As the weeks, months, and even years go by all three girls continue to live their lives and pursue their dreams. Though Zoe never makes a huge breakthrough, she is successful enough in her acting pursuits to live comfortably in New York, Shannon not only graduates from the air Force Academy but does with honors and moves on to her ideal job. Back home, Emily not only turns a corner but finds love and her place in the world and that most certainly brings her friends great comfort.
The Bottom Line: I think this book had me hooked from the very beginning as its very hard to resist three little girls in tiaras having a tea party 😊 The friendship forged between Zoe, Shannon, and Emily is one that transcends time and place and that sense of connection is carried throughout the entire read. When one of the girls is hurting, troubled, or celebrating a life achievement, they turn to one another for love, comfort, support, and, of course, a tea party. One of the things I very much appreciated about this book is the emphasis on real life; that is, the situations, both good and bad, are believable and realistic and reacted to in ways I found to be so very human. An additional like includes the evolution of the characters: from start to finish one gets to watch as three young girls become fine young women and then adults, women with their own lives, loves, trials, tribulations, and triumphs. Above all else, I found this emotionally challenging read to be beautifully written and completely satisfying. It is an engrossing read I completed in a single sitting and would heartily recommend to readers of this particular genre.
P.S. If you have read Jodi Thomas’s Mornings on Main, you will be pleasantly surprised to find a few familiar names in this book 😊