Today’s feature is a review book sent to me by the author, Kristy Woodson Harvey. Slightly South of Simple is filled with Southern charm, emotional drama, and plenty of heart. I took it to dinner tonight, and enjoyed reading while eating the kind of soup I imagine the characters in the book enjoy: potato cheese soup.
Intro: (Prologue – Ansley) – Seagulls
I still have dreams about that yellow-and-white striped bikini, the one I was wearing the night I met Jack, my first bona fide summer love. I was fifteen going on sixteen, the perfect age, when your hair tints that summer blond that hairstylists become superstars for emulating. You have filled out enough not to be gangly but not so much that you can imagine a one-piece being in your future.
We spent those bikini summers in Peachtree Bluff, my family and I, at my grandmother’s waterfront home, the one that I didn’t realize until years later was truly something special. It was always blissful, always enchanted, but that summer, Sandra and Emily, my two best friends, and I spent nearly every day at Starlite Island across from Grandmother’s house. It was only a few boat lengths across the sound, but you couldn’t swim there and needed at least a kayak to go. It felt like freedom.
Teaser: (Inhumane – Caroline)
The worst part about your husband leaving you when you’re pregnant is that there is no alcohol of any kind involved. I mean, how are you supposed to heal when you can’t drink your troubles away? It’s really quite inhumane, if you ask me. (p. 115).
Synopsis: From the next “major voice in Southern fiction” (New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand) comes the first in an all-new series chronicling the journeys of three sisters and their mother—and a secret from their past that has the potential to tear them apart and reshape their very definition of what it means to be a family.
Caroline Murphy swore she’d never set foot back in the small Southern town of Peachtree Bluff; she was a New York girl born and bred and the worst day of her life was when, in the wake of her father’s death, her mother selfishly forced her to move—during her senior year of high school, no less—back to that hick-infested rat trap where she’d spent her childhood summers. But now that her marriage to a New York high society heir has fallen apart in a very public, very embarrassing fashion, a pregnant Caroline decides to escape the gossipmongers with her nine-year-old daughter and head home to her mother, Ansley.
Ansley has always put her three daughters first, especially when she found out that her late husband, despite what he had always promised, left her with next to nothing. Now the proud owner of a charming waterfront design business and finally standing on her own two feet, Ansley welcomes Caroline and her brood back with open arms. But when her second daughter Sloane, whose military husband is overseas, and youngest daughter and successful actress Emerson join the fray, Ansley begins to feel like the piece of herself she had finally found might be slipping from her grasp. Even more discomfiting, when someone from her past reappears in Ansley’s life, the secret she’s harbored from her daughters their entire lives might finally be forced into the open.
I’m thoroughly enjoying this book. When I’ve had my fill of thrillers for a bit, I grab a family story like this one that reminds me of how much mother/daughter bonds (and even conflicts) are just what I need…in between the dark tales. What do you think? Would you keep reading?