Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Review: The Secret to Southern Charm by Kristy Woodson Harvey



Title:  The Secret to Southern Charm
Author: Kristy Woodson Harvey
Series: The Peachtree Bluff series, #2
Published: April 2018, Gallery Books
Format: ARC Paperback, 400 pages
Source: Author


Summary:
Leaving fans “practically [begging] for a sequel” (Bookpage), critically acclaimed author Kristy Woodson Harvey returns with the second novel in her beloved Peachtree Bluff series, featuring a trio of sisters and their mother who discover a truth that will change not only the way they see themselves, but also how they fit together as a family.

After finding out her military husband is missing in action, middle sister Sloane’s world crumbles as her worst nightmare comes true. She can barely climb out of bed, much less summon the strength to be the parent her children deserve.

Her mother, Ansley, provides a much-needed respite as she puts her personal life on hold to help Sloane and her grandchildren wade through their new grief-stricken lives. But between caring for her own aging mother, her daughters, and her grandchildren, Ansley’s private worry is that secrets from her past will come to light.

But when Sloane’s sisters, Caroline and Emerson, remind Sloane that no matter what, she promised her husband she would carry on for their young sons, Sloane finds the support and courage she needs to chase her biggest dreams—and face her deepest fears. Taking a cue from her middle daughter, Ansley takes her own leap of faith and realizes that, after all this time, she might finally be able to have it all.

Harvey’s signature warmth and wit make this a charming and poignant story of first loves, missed opportunities, and second chances and proves that she is "the next major voice in Southern fiction” (Elin Hilderbrand, New York Times bestselling author).



My thoughts: Have I mentioned how much I adore Kristy Woodson Harvey yet? Have you had a chance to meet her in person? She is just as cute and charming as you can imagine and if you've had a chance to read her books yet, you can definitely see her personality coming off the pages. This is why I adore her books...this is why I jump at the opportunity to read and support her - she is good people, folks and she is truly a talented author. She will make you laugh and she will make you cry and by the time you finish one of her books, you will feel hope and compassion like no one else has made you feel.

I was so excited when I heard that Kristy was writing a series...she creates such vivid characters in her books and I was always so sad to leave them when I finished each of her books. But, luckily we don't have to do that with the gals in the Peachtree Bluff series. This second book picks up shortly after the first book, Slightly South of Simple, so I HIGHLY recommend reading that one first. Plus - you really want that introduction to the characters - you won't be disappointed.

This book packs an emotional punch like no other. It will have you shedding tears within the first few pages, but not to worry because you will also be laughing out loud shortly there-after. At one point, I was actually laughing through my tears. I think that's one of the things Kristy does very well in this book...she writes with such compassion and grace, yet there's this fluidity there that she can easily go from a very heavy and sad scene to a light-hearted and humorous scene quite effortlessly and naturally. It's very seamless and flows quite naturally, but it gets you from those very lows to the nice highs ever so effectively. 

What I also love is how Kristy allows us to see the perfectly imperfect world of her characters. These characters are real women that any of us can relate to and I think that's what makes this series so compelling. I could empathize with what Sloane was going through. While not having had gone through any of this myself, my husband was in the Navy years before we got married, so I can appreciate all she is going through...I don't know what I would do if he were still active. 

The relationships between the sisters and that of the mother-daughter relationships is at the heart of this book. And having two sisters, I can so appreciate this. While I don't live with my sisters, I do feel this bond with them, knowing that I would do anything for them, and have dropped things to help when help is needed. We do rally for each other - that bond is real and I feel that Kristy has really shown the true strength in that here in this series. 

And then there are the secrets...as there are in any family. Ansley is keeping a major one from her daughters, and the girls are keeping one from their mother. Of course, secrets have a way of coming out before you are ready to share them...and that often presents more problems than it would have if you hadn't kept the secret in the first place! But where would the fun in that be?

I am so looking forward to the next book in this series...a few developments occurred that will guide that book, and of course we will finally get Emerson's story, but I love that no matter who's side we get with Ansley, all the girls factor into the overall story. And that is what I love about the way this series is written!



 Books in this series: 
  1. Slightly South of Simple
  2. The Secret to Southern Charm
  3. ???
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4 comments

  1. Thank you so, so much my friend! Your support means the world! xoKristy

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  2. Great review, Kristin. I loved this book!

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  3. Her first book sounded really good but this sounds absolutely amazing! I really need to read this one!

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  4. Terrific review Kristin! I'm glad you love this series. Thanks to Kristy and the publishers, I am offering a giveaway for this novel on PostingForNow. I like supporting Kristy too.

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