Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Tea And Primroses by Tess Thompson (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Tea And Primroses by Author Tess Thompson!

Author Guest Post

Choosing Now

I found them at cat shelters as surprises for my little daughters at Christmas and brought them home in cardboard traveling boxes that I tied with red bows. All the way home from the shelter, their kitten voices mewed with fright. Their little paws stuck out of the breathing holes in a vain attempt at escape. I reassured them in my best mommy voice. “You’re coming to your forever home. Two little girls are there ready to love you.”

Giddy with excitement, I brought them into my office and waited for my girls to arrive. My friend brought them in shortly thereafter and the boxes were opened to much surprise and delight. It is a moment I will never forget. They were quickly named Mittens and Midnight. It took a few days to acclimate, but soon they were snuggled on laps and sleeping at feet.

That was Christmas. Valentine’s Day has come and gone. My oldest daughter turned 11 on February 1. I turned 45 three days ago.

The kittens are pounds heavier and inches bigger than they were at Christmas. My girls are too, even though I cannot see it. Ella has bottom braces now. Emerson lost another tooth.

Children and pets mark the passage of time. They change quickly, growing in the night when they’re asleep, dreaming the dreams of the innocent. We don’t see the change in the day-to-day, but later, when we look at photos, we see the subtle markings of change are not actually so subtle and it hurts in that mother place in the middle of our chest. Because we know this - the older they get, the sooner they will leave us.

I think sometimes about the future and I’m afraid. In roughly ten years my little girls will be young women. They will have moved onto the next chapter of their lives. They will not need me like they do now. They will not be part of my daily life like they are now. They’ll be at college or starting their first jobs and maybe falling in love for the first time or discovering their life work.

And me? What will become of me? The questions of the future haunt me during the cold hour of 2 a.m. What will I be when I am no longer the mother of young children? Will I ever remarry or will I grow old alone? Will I continue to make a living as a writer?

Will I still have the cats? Will they still slumber on my desk while I write, as they are now? These are all questions that I cannot answer. And the not knowing frightens me. However, I know this - if I let regret about the past or fear about the future hover about me like the crafty poison it is, I cannot enjoy the present.

All we know in this life is change. The minutes and days and weeks and years continue moving forward. It is futile to fight against the inevitable. Our only choice is to be here now, in this very moment, and to be glad of it.

So in this moment, I choose now - enjoying the kittens on my desk, the work from my fingertips, the little girl voices of my daughters. I swim in the messiness of my present. But I might sneak in a little prayer for the future, too, and maybe one for forgiveness of the past. Then, I promise, I’ll return to the now and be glad of it.

About The Author

Tess Thompson is a novelist and playwright with a BFA in Drama from the University of Southern California. In 2011 she released her first novel, Riversong, which subsequently became a best seller.

Like her main character in the River Valley collection, Tess is from a small town in Oregon. She currently lives in a suburb of Seattle, Washington with her two young daughters, Emerson and Ella, and their puppy Patches. She is inspired daily by the view of the Cascade Mountains from her home office window.

Tess is working on her next novel and regularly blogs about her journey as a mother, author and friend at


Book Review

Tea And Primroses by Tess Thompson
Book 2: The Legley Bay Collection
Publisher: Booktrope
Publication Date: February 16, 2014
Format: Paperback - 250 pages / Kindle - 3450 KB / Nook - 4 MB
ISBN: 1620152096
Genre: Romantic Suspense

BUY THE BOOK: Tea And Primroses

BUY THE COLLECTION: The Legley Bay Collection
Book 1: Caramel And Magnolias
Book 2: Tea And Primroses

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

Book Description:

Nothing is as it seemed in calm, quaint Legley Bay.

Famous novelist Constance Mansfield lived a seemingly straightforward – if private – and somewhat predictable life. Friends, beloved daughter Sutton, a beautiful home, and all the success an author could wish for. A perfect life….but was it?

When a hit and run accident suddenly takes her mother’s life, Sutton finds hidden secrets with her heartbreak. Emotional walls she assumed Constance had built to protect her privacy may have been to protect something – or someone – else entirely. Family and friends return home for support, including her own lost-love, Declan. He’s the first thing she craves to help her cope with her loss and the questions she’s left with, but he’s also the last person she wants to see. Will he be able to put down roots at last?

Can the loss of true love be the making of a life, or is it destined to be the undoing of everything? When money, power and love combine across time, anything is possible.

Book Excerpt:


When the doorbell rang, Sutton Mansfield at first thought it was part of the music on the radio. She hummed to her favorite country station, set loud as she moved about her bungalow, sipping hot, black tea and unpacking from her overseas trip. She was looking forward to lunch with her mother, who had used her contacts in the publishing industry to arrange the dream trip for Sutton’s thirtieth birthday. Sutton had studied for two months with a master baker in Paris.

She pushed open her front window; the familiar scent of the seaside entered the room. It was an ordinary morning in Legley Bay: the sound of seagulls in the distance; the familiar view of her street, lined with modest houses built mostly in the 1940s; and, just beyond, the Pacific Ocean a paler blue than the August sky. Legley Bay was a one-stoplight kind of town, the unwanted stepchild of the northern Oregon coast. There were no tourist temptations here, no stretch of beach with famed rocks like Cannon Beach or Manzanita or Arch Cape. No one opened shops or restaurants to tempt wealthy city dwellers. It was nothing more than the ordinary here, buildings sagging and faded from damp, salty air, and small businesses struggling to survive against Wal-Mart and Costco thirty or so miles in every direction but west.

Opening the window a little farther, she took in a deep breath through her nose and felt grateful for the familiar. Home is home. It was good to return. She turned away from the view and back to her cozy bungalow, decorated with eclectic pieces she’d gathered over the years, antiques and shabby chic, all very French countryside, like the artisan and rustic baked goods she made: crusty breads, buttery pastries, soft cookies.

She’d conquered the croissant while in Paris. She smiled, thinking of it, but instantly sobered. There was nowhere to debut her new skills but her own kitchen. She had no job. Six months ago she’d left her assistant baker position at a well-known bakery in Portland, where she’d apprenticed for the better part of five years, to move home to Legley Bay. It was her dream to open her own shop, but so far the courage to do so had been as elusive as the perfect croissant.

The sound of the doorbell came again. Yes, it was the door, not a note in the music. Who could it be? No one but her mother knew she was back in town. She turned down the radio; her mobile phone was buzzing—Roger. She tossed the phone on the couch; it bounced on a cushion and fell onto the soft rug. Voicemail. Just go to voicemail, she thought. I need time to think. Not yet. She needed to speak with her mother first. Her mother would help her sort it through. Mom, I’m having doubts about the wedding. That’s all she would need to say. Then they would hash it out over a glass of wine or a walk on the beach. Is it just that I’m afraid or do I not love him enough? Her mother would know the answer.

The doorbell rang again just as she reached for the doorknob. Opening it, she saw Tim Ball, the town’s Chief of Police. He was the same age as her mother, in his mid-to-late fifties, and his lined face was still handsome, hinting at the town’s football star he once was. But today his skin was gray and his features pinched. She backed away from the door, as if he were going to hurt her. What was the matter?

“Sutton, can I come in?”

She nodded, backing into the room. Don’t say it.

He guided her toward the couch. “Please sit, sweetheart.”

She did so, clasping her hands together on her lap. “Is it my mom?”

“I’m so sorry.” He stopped; his eyes reddened. “She was killed this morning.”

My Book Review:

Oh my goodness, just when I thought Author Tess Thompson couldn't top her River Valley Collection, she gives her readers a new series of endearing stories that will pull at the heartstrings!

In Tea And Primroses, the second book in The Legley Bay Collection, the reader follows an emotional and passionate intertwining story of family, friendship, love, loss, redemption, second chances, new beginnings, and life lessons with a subtle murder mystery added into the mix.

After spending two months studying with a master baker in Paris, thirty year old Sutton Mansfield returns home to Legley Bay, Oregon, to fulfill her dream of opening her own bakery. But her dream is pushed aside when her famous reclusive novelist mother Constance Mansfield is killed in a hit-and-run accident while bicycling on her daily morning ride to town. Amidst the grief and loss is the question of whether Constance's death was a murder. Through the reading of her will, letters, and a hidden manuscript, Sutton discovers the true essence of her mother's life and the legacy that she has left behind.

This is a beautifully written story within a story that interweaves the past with the present through the similarities in Constance and Sutton's life stories. Just like Sutton, the reader can't help but become captivated as Constance's life story unfolds. Nicely dovetailed throughout the story is the alternating chapters of the present revolving around Sutton with that of Constance's past. The reader learns of the two men that make up the true loves (lost loves) in Constance and Sutton's lives, the trials and tribulations of life, and the hint of a murder mystery that is subtly interwoven within the threads of story. The author weaves a vividly descriptive and enchanting story that is both heart wrenching and inspirational, the reader can't help but get swept away by the smooth flow and captivating essence that is Sutton and Constance's story.

Tea And Primroses is an enchanting and timeless story of relationships, love, loss and redemption that is a must read!


Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

February 24 - Gin’s Book Notes – Review & Excerpt 
February 24 – Book Reviews By Molly – Excerpt
February 25 – Crooks on Books – Review
February 25 – Chick Lit Plus – Review
February 26 – Samantha March – Q&A & Excerpt
February 27 – Always With a Book – Review 
March 3 – Authors and Readers Book Corner – Review
March 3 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
March 3 – Keep Calm and Blog On – Review


  1. Love your 5 star review, thank you!

    1. Hi Samantha! Thank you for the opportunity to host the virtual book tour event. Tea and Primroses is a stunning and breathtaking story! :)

  2. I am so thrilled you enjoyed the book, Kathleen. Thank you so much! xoxoxo

    1. Hi Tess! I loved, loved, loved this story. I cried, laughed & smiled as I followed Sutton and Constance's stories. Now I have to go back and read Caramel and Magnolias, I have it downloaded on my Kindle & on my TBR list! :)

  3. I loved this book. A story I could immerse myself in and enjoy.

    1. I agree Susan, this was a wonderful book. Thank you for stopping by my blog. :)