I love reading women’s fiction, particularly those set in the Southern portion of the United States. So when I see a book that is both women’s fiction and Southern fiction, I’m immediately drawn to it in hopes of a good read… and that’s what I got with Slightly South of Simple: a very good read.
Harvey’s story of three sisters who—for various reasons—move back into their mother’s home in Peachtree Bluff, Georgia, is simply fantastic. The sisters have vastly different lifestyles and reasons for coming home. Caroline is a pregnant Manhattan socialite whose perfect life has been destroyed by her husband’s (excruciatingly public) affair and, with her daughter in tow, returns to the quaint seaside town seeking solace and distance from the vicious gossip about her marriage. Sloane is an military wife whose husband has been deployed again; she returns home along with her two sons in order to spend time with her mother and sisters. Emerson, the youngest, is an actress who comes home to work on the movie she’s starring in that could be her big break. Their mother, Ansley, is delighted to have them home, but feels overwhelmed when an old love comes back into her life; even more so when her mother moves in, needing Ansley to care for her as she recovers from an injury.
The story is told through Caroline and Ansley’s perspectives, with a fair portion of Ansley’s story being told in her memories of the past that slowly reveal secrets she’s kept from her daughters, and her fears that those secrets will come out. Ansley’s secrets were of particular interest to me, and the more I learned, the more I wanted to know. Honestly, Ansley’s memories could have been an entire novel in itself, in my opinion—I wanted to know every detail of her fascinating past! Caroline’s story—and her memories—were equally fascinating to me, and despite her having some less-than-desirable personality traits, I felt especially moved by the uncertainties she faced in her life. The characters of Sloane and Emerson weren’t quite as fleshed out as I would have liked, but I’m sure that will change as the series progresses and is told (I suspect) through each of their perspectives. This is the beginning of a series, after all… so while I noted that, it’s not something that can be held out as a point of criticism.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and was sad to reach the end. I’m highly anticipating the release of book two, and I am eager to spend more time reading about these fascinating women!
Author: Kristy Woodson Harvey
Title: Slightly South of Simple
Series: Peachtree Bluff #1
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Southern Fiction
Published April 25th, 2017 by Gallery Books
About the Book
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.
About the Author
Author photo and bio via Goodreads.