Sue Cross

Sue Cross

Tea at Sam's

This is a morally complex and absorbing story about the fragility of relationships.  A moving and compassionate book, you will be drawn into the close circle of friends that form Tea at Sam’s. Below is a brief synopsis.

All that Celine, a girl without guile, wants is a happy family life but she soon awakens from her dream of marital bliss when she discovers that James, her selfish, egotistical husband, has a dark secret. 

 Her life takes a new turn when she returns to England from Hong Kong, broken hearted and joins an art class.  This leads her on a fresh discovery, not only of her true self, but also of friendships that can never be broken.

 When Nick, an old flame, returns to her life she is compelled to make some life changing decisions.




The author's writing style is crystal clear, with clever use of illustrative vocabulary, with an underlying hint of humour in places. The depiction of the era; late sixties, is very true to the time and the reader couldn't help but find himself/herself reliving this period. The fashions and type-cast female and male roles, again typical of the time. In particular, the male personalities and expectations. Completely contrasting to how things are now.

The linking of the three female characters is artistically constructed and makes it easy for the reader to move back and forth. Not always the case with novels of varying stories. I particularly liked the foreign assignment aspects and could effortlessly relate to similar experiences.

I could continue with many more positives, but suffice to say, I strongly recommend as a light-hearted, feel-good novel, which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. Too many novels today are dour and depressing and I personally, prefer to be entertained.

Now for Sue's next novel - looking forward to reading it.


Good read

The book follows the lives of three young women before they meet and the growing relationship between them after they become friends. I particularly liked the conversation between the three friends and the way the characters were brought together. And what a fabulous ending - just loved the description of Spain which captured something magical.

The value of friendship

"A friend is a present you give yourself." Robert Louis Stevenson. Tea at Sam's explores the ever growing relationship between three women. The women come together to share their interests, likes, relationships, love and pain. As the trust grows the women find their female equivalent soul mates. The book is full of little nuggets of humour and in this ever changing world thank God for a happy ending.

An enjoyable, easy read

I enjoyed being drawn into each of the three women's lives, how they became connected and how their friendship grew. 

If you don't buy it for yourself put it on your Christmas list and sit back and enjoy....

Excellent reading 

This is impressive. I enjoyed reading it, couldn't put it aside. I am looking forward to the next book by Sue Cross. Well done!

Very readable

I found this book very readable. The ex-pat community is a fascinating place to be. Sue has given us an insight into this way of life, although it does not always turn out like people want it to. I loved the relationships between the 3 women. I am glad it had a happy ending. I hope that we will get more of Sue's books to read.

An engrossing read 

Well written in an easy relaxed style. The developing friendships of the women were very cleverly constructed. Looking forward to Sue Cross' next book.

Good Holiday Read

I really enjoyed Tea at Sam's. Having visited most of the locations, I was very impressed by Sue's descriptive powers which brought the book to life for me. Looking forward to her next book.


The Typhoon - An Extract from Tea at Sam's

The first storm warning had been issued on the radio and she felt a mixture of frightened anticipation and dread. When the third warning was announced she phoned So Kee store to stock up on provisions, not forgetting candles, matches and thick sticky tape. After each item was ordered the same question was asked by the shopkeeper, “And then….?”

 The only time an order had been incorrect was when she ordered Brasso to polish the metal legs on a campaign table. A brush used for cleaning a baby’s feeding bottle arrived in its place. Celine supposed “Brasso” sounded the same as “Brusho” to Chinese ears. The item was changed within an hour; such is the efficiency of the Oriental entrepreneur. As usual, the delivery was brought to the door in lightening time by a Chinese youth wearing the customary shorts, vest and flip-flops. He never wore a smile and was always expressionless. After a while she gave up trying to get any response. Smiling was not part of the service. Celine checked the order carefully to see that the all-important sticky tape had been delivered. It had.

 When the fifth warning came it was clear that Ah Foo was not coming to work and James thought it wise to stay at home. Celine had a feeling that the enforced time that they would have alone together would be a good opportunity to break the news to him.

 But first she had to carefully apply the sticky tape to the windows.

 “Stick each piece diagonally to prevent the windows blowing in,” Octavia had instructed her.

 The heat and humidity had become even more oppressive than usual as the pressure built up. Gentle zephyrs had changed to obstreperous winds within a matter of hours.

 Then the rain started.

 It descended from furious clouds in great sheets causing flooding and havoc. A mauve mist hung over the harbour as boats made their way to the refuge of the typhoon shelters.

 ‘Hong Kong. Fragrant Harbour in Chinese. Where commerce rules; where work is god.‘ Celine mused as she finished applying the last piece of tape. She had learned a lot about this new, alien culture and was beginning to admire the industrious nature of the local people who only stopped work at Chinese New Year and during typhoons - playing mahjong and eating, both favourite pastimes. By the time the seventh storm warning was issued, anyone foolhardy enough to be outside would be risking their life. All boats would be safely moored in the specially constructed typhoon shelters but anyone unlucky enough to live in a shanty on a rooftop could say goodbye to their flimsy home. Refugees from China would swim in shark infested waters with nothing except the shorts and tee shirts that they escaped in and would sometimes live in cardboard shelters until they had earned enough to rent a bed space. Such was the cost of freedom. Many lost their lives in those dark waters. The ex pats were the lucky ones, safe in their tower blocks. Celine was still shocked by the contrasts of wealth and poverty. But, she had heard stories of refugees becoming wealthy, influential business people and admired their courage.

 Celine and James stood mesmerised looking out of their sitting room window and down into the large communal car park as small, uprooted trees and wayward garbage blew about in the screaming gale. It was good to be in a building that was substantial even though it was thirty storeys high.