Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Women’s Fiction
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.
Exploring the powerful bonds between sisters and mothers and daughters, this engaging novel is filled with Southern charm, emotional drama, and plenty of heart.
Have you ever experienced love at first sight with a book? Just one look was all it took for me to be intrigued by Slightly South of Simple, I just knew this would be a book that I would connect with and enjoy and I was so right! I follow Kristy on Instagram, (her feed is absolutely stunning and the pictures in this post are hers) she blogs with her mom at Design Chic and when she posted about SSOS I was head over heels based on the cover alone. When I read the blurb, I was even more excited especially when I saw a glowing endorsement for her work from Elin Hilderbrand, she’s one of my favorite authors. All of that to say, this was a book that spoke to me from the minute I laid eyes on it.
It’s told from the alternating perspectives of Ansley and Caroline. Ansley is a 58 year old mom to three grown daughters and she lives a simple life in Peachtree Bluff, Georgia. A peaceful existence until all three of her girls move back home at the same time with their own children in tow. Caroline has left her husband after he cheated on her in a very public way while she’s six months pregnant. Emerson is an actress and her new movie is shooting in Georgia and Sloane’s husband Adam has been deployed again leaving her and her two young sons at home. Having her entire family under one roof is a mixed blessing for Ansley, she adores them, but they are all so different and none of them are easy to live with. Ansley also has some skeletons in her closet that need to stay buried, but with everyone back in town, these secrets may come to light whether she wants them to or not.
SSOS had all the ingredients I love in a book; family drama, a sprinkling of romance, humor, and a beautiful setting. Stories about sisters always appeal to me and with the complicated relationships between Caroline, Sloane and Emerson I was so interested and invested in their lives. I could relate to all four women on some level which is so important to me in terms of my enjoyment of a book. This is character driven and I can honestly say that I really liked every single character, I even cared deeply about them all which speaks volumes about the authors outstanding character development.
Though all three sisters feature heavily in the book, this focused more on Caroline and since it’s the first in a series I’m assuming that the next books will focus on Sloane and Emerson. Woodson Harvey laid the groundwork for so many possibilities as to which direction this series will follow and I can’t wait to see what happens in Peachtree Bluff next. She’s a fresh, strong voice in Southern fiction, SSOS is witty, wise, insightful and funny. There were so many fantastic quotes from the romantic to the poignant, I’ll share a couple of my favorites at the end of this post. I’m so excited about this series and even more thrilled to be offering a copy of this gem of a book to one of my lucky readers! Look below for the Rafflecopter.
Overall rating: 5/5
Thanks to the author and publisher for my review copy.
About the Author:
Kristy Woodson Harvey is the author of Dear Carolina (Berkley/Penguin Random House, 2015), Lies and Other Acts of Love (Berkley/Penguin Random House, 2016) and the Peachtree Bluff Series, beginning with Slightly South of Simple (Gallery/Simon & Schuster, 2017). Dear Carolina was long-listed for the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize, has been optioned for film and has appeared on numerous “must-read” lists. Lies and Other Acts of Love was a Romantic Times top pick, a Southern Booksellers Okra Pick and was chosen to be a part of the 2017 Trio display, an integration of story, art and song, which will spend the year traveling the country.
She blogs with her mom daily on Design Chic, the inaugural member of Traditional Home’s design blogger hall of fame, about how creating a beautiful home can be the catalyst for creating a beautiful life and loves connecting with readers at kristywoodsonharvey.com.
Harvey is a Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s school of journalism and holds a master’s in English from East Carolina University, with a concentration in multicultural and transnational literature. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications and websites, including Southern Living, Domino, Houzz and Our State. She has been seen featured in Readers’ Digest, The Huffington Post, USA Today’s Happy Every After, North Carolina Bookwatch, PopSugar, Glitter Guide and The Sits Girls. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and five-year-old son where she is working on her next novel.