Publisher: Berkley Publishing
Genre: Southern Fiction, Historical, Mystery
From the New York Times bestselling author of Flight Patterns comes a stunning new novel about a young single mother who discovers that the nature of friendship is never what it seems….
Recently divorced, Merilee Talbot Dunlap moves with her two children to the Atlanta suburb of Sweet Apple, Georgia. It’s not her first time starting over, but her efforts at a new beginning aren’t helped by an anonymous local blog that dishes about the scandalous events that caused her marriage to fail.
Merilee finds some measure of peace in the cottage she is renting from town matriarch Sugar Prescott. Though stubborn and irascible, Sugar sees something of herself in Merilee—something that allows her to open up about her own colorful past.
Sugar’s stories give Merilee a different perspective on the town and its wealthy school moms in their tennis whites and shiny SUVs, and even on her new friendship with Heather Blackford. Merilee is charmed by the glamorous young mother’s seemingly perfect life and finds herself drawn into Heather’s world.
In a town like Sweet Apple, where sins and secrets are as likely to be found behind the walls of gated mansions as in the dark woods surrounding Merilee’s house, appearance is everything. But just how dangerous that deception can be will shock all three women….
Let’s start with that cover, I just LOVE it! It’s gorgeous and though the ebook version (which I read) is pretty enough, I’m ordering a physical copy too. The Night the Lights Went Out is a perfect blending of genres with a southern flair, it has drama, intrigue, betrayals, history, a small dose of romance, truly something for everyone. Plus, it’s set in Georgia which always makes a fantastic setting in my opinion.
Merilee moves into a new home following her divorce with her two young children, Lily and Colin. She rents a place from Sugar, a life long resident of Sweet Apple, Georgia. Though these two seemingly have little in common, their proximity allows them to strike up an unlikely friendship and discover they may have a whole lot more in common than meets the eye.
I felt for Merilee right from the start, we’re the same age and imagining trying to start my life over in a small, tight knit is terrifying. Especially when it’s a small town in the south, some of the grown women in this book were worse than Regina George in Mean Girls! Sugar took me a little while longer to warm up to, she’s a bit crotchety but as she slowly shares her past with Merilee, I begin to really empathize with her. Both women were so deeply developed, resulting in characters that will stay with me for a long time.
I simply loved everything about this book, it was super entertaining, magically blending past and present as Merilee and Sugar both narrated sections. There are also sections from an anonymous blogger who only will reveal they’re a neighbor, preferring to keep their identity a secret, but they dispense some great life lessons and hilarious southern sayings. I did figure out a plot twist, but I was having such a fun time reading this, I didn’t even care. It beautifully captures small town Southern life and had enough gossip and whisperings to make it even more juicy.
Overall rating: 5/5
Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.