Review: The Secret to Southern Charm by Kristy Woodson Harvey @kristywharvey


Release date: April 3, 2018

Publisher: Gallery

Genre: Women’s Fiction


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).


Last year I read Slightly South of Simple and fell head over heels in love with not only Peachtree Bluff, but also the characters and Harvey’s smooth, fluid writing. I couldn’t wait to revisit Ansley, Caroline, Sloane and Emerson and now I want to pack my stuff move to Peachtree Bluff! Ok, at least take a vacation there?!

If the cover of STSC doesn’t make you long for warm weather then I don’t know what will, it’s gorgeous and the inside is just as pretty. This time around the story centers more on Sloane and her despair and hopelessness as her husband Adam, is missing in action. It flips between her point of view and Ansley’s and the entire family is in crisis mode for various reasons. This was much more emotional for me than the first book, it played off of some of my own worst fears and Harvey writes with a passion that tugs on the heart, it’s beautiful and insightful.

The characterization in this series is fantastic, this family of women are all relatable on some level and are the kind of people I would want as friends. I loved finding out more about Sloane, many of her chapters began with an old letter from Adam and they simultaneously broke my heart and made me swoon. You do still uncover some more details about the rest of the family, but Sloane is definitely front and center and her thoughts and feelings about motherhood, being a sister, wife and daughter were SO relatable that Harvey could be plucked them right out of my own head.

Once again this had it all, family drama, secrets, romance, humor and charm, I literally cannot wait for the next book. This is one to pick up when you want to be lost in the pages of a book, pack it for your next vacation, I don’t think you’ll regret it.

The Secret to Southern Charm in three words: Endearing, Warm and Wise.

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the author for my review copy.

Head over to Instagram for a chance to win a copy of STSC!

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

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.

6 thoughts on “Review: The Secret to Southern Charm by Kristy Woodson Harvey @kristywharvey

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