Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Review: Dear Carolina by Kristy Woodson Harvey

Title: Dear Carolina   
Author: Kristy Woodson Harvey        
Published: May 2015, Berkley  
Format: ARC E-copy, 320 pages   
Source: Author via Netgalley  

A moving debut novel about two mothers—one biological and one adoptive—from a compelling new voice in Southern women’s fiction.

One baby girl.
Two strong Southern women.
And the most difficult decision they’ll ever make.

Frances “Khaki” Mason has it all: a thriving interior design career, a loving husband and son, homes in North Carolina and Manhattan—everything except the second child she has always wanted. Jodi, her husband’s nineteen-year-old cousin, is fresh out of rehab, pregnant, and alone. Although the two women couldn’t seem more different, they forge a lifelong connection as Khaki reaches out to Jodi, encouraging her to have her baby. But as Jodi struggles to be the mother she knows her daughter deserves, she will ask Khaki the ultimate favor…

Written to baby Carolina, by both her birth mother and her adoptive one, this is a story that proves that life circumstances shape us but don’t define us—and that families aren’t born, they’re made…

My thoughts: This is Kristy Woodson Harvey's debut novel and it is simply amazing. I was captivated from the first page and despite not being a mother myself, I still found the story to tug at my heart. It's a beautiful love story about how a child can never have too much love.

I loved how this story is basically a love letter to Carolina from her two mothers - her adopted mother Khaki and her biological mother Jodi. The chapters alternate between the two women and because each woman comes from such different backgrounds, they speak very differently. The writing was so vivid that I was able to get a clear picture of each woman in my head as I read each part. 

I loved the contrast between these two women. Khaki has always known what a family is all about and has always had whatever she wanted, except for now. She desperately wants to have a second child, but seems to be unable to get pregnant. Jodi came from the total opposite - her mother is an alcoholic, the one guy who she thought loved her turned out to be nothing but trouble, and she became an alcoholic - you turn to what you know. She has potential, but just needs the right circumstances to succeed.

The relationship between Khaki and Jodi is tenuous yet beautiful. It goes through some bumps along the way, especially right after the adoption, but it's this bond that forms between the women that really stands out to me. It was raw and honest and I felt that both characters were completely believable and easy to relate to. 

I loved this book and even though the book had to end at some point, I found myself wishing it wouldn't - I wanted the letters to keep going. It's a beautifully written love letter to a child and I think whether you are a parent or not, you will find yourself immersed within the story. Kristy Woodson Harvey knocked it out of the park with this debut novel and I cannot wait to see what comes next from her!



  1. This sounds really beautifully and like such an emotional read. I'll definitely have to look for this one though it doesn't sound like a book to read in public as I have a feeling I'll need tissues!

    1. It really is a beautiful book! It is a tear-jerker at times, but in a good way :)

  2. This is always a difficult subject for me as I wasn't able to have children but it sounds fantastic. I love emotional books that really make you feel everything. Lovely review :)

    1. I'm in the same boat as you, Trish. These kinds of books are sometimes a bit hard to read, but I still find myself gravitating towards them. This one is a beautiful read.

  3. Kristin! I have commented on this post a couple of times, and it keeps disappearing! I am so sorry! This review is so gorgeous. I'm reblogging it tomorrow as one of my favorites of the week. Your support has been completely invaluable. Thank you ever so much everything!! xo Kristy

    1. Sorry you were having trouble commenting, Kristy, but I'm so honored you took the time to come back and try again (and again)! I'm happy to help support your book - I really enjoyed it so much!


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