- Print Length: 352 pages
- Publisher: Berkley (April 5, 2016)
- Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Dear Carolina was praised as “Southern fiction at its best.” Now author Kristy Woodson Harvey presents a new novel about what it really means to tell the truth…
After sixty years of marriage and five daughters, Lynn “Lovey” White knows that all of us, from time to time, need to use our little white lies.
Her granddaughter, Annabelle, on the other hand, is as truthful as they come. She always does the right thing—that is, until she dumps her hedge fund manager fiancé and marries a musician she has known for three days. After all, her grandparents, who fell in love at first sight, have shared a lifetime of happiness, even through her grandfather’s declining health.
But when Annabelle’s world starts to collapse around her, she discovers that nothing about her picture-perfect family is as it seems. And Lovey has to decide whether one more lie will make or break the ones she loves….
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Kristy Woodson Harvey is the author of Dear Carolina, which was recently long-listed for the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize and Lies and Other Acts of Love, a Romantic Times top pick and Southern Booksellers Okra Pick. She blogs at Design Chic about how creating a beautiful home can be the catalyst for creating a beautiful life and loves connecting with readers at kristywoodsonharvey.com. She 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. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications and websites, including Southern Living, Domino magazine, Our State, Houzz, the Salisbury Post and the New Bern Sun Journal. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and four-year-old son where she is working on her next novel.
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I had the privilege of reviewing Kristy Woodson Harvey’s first novel, Dear Carolina before it’s release, and I quickly fell in love with both that novel and Harvey’s writing, so when she sent me an email asking if I’d review her sophomore outing, Lies and Other Acts of Love, I made time to do so, and I’m glad I did, because I think this may be one of the best novels of the spring/summer of 2016 – and we’re barely into April.
Told in alternating chapters from Lovey and Annabelle, this novel holds the richness of family tradition in every page, but tradition isn’t always fluffy, and I really appreciate the way Harvey’s characters are flawed and dimensional. Lovey is at an age where secrets really start to weigh upon you, and we feel that in every one of her interactions, though we feel the equal – greater – weight of her love for her family as well.
Annabelle, by contrast, is still young enough to retain some element of capriciousness, though her maturity increases as the story goes on.
Maybe I’m just a sucker for stories about big families with overlapping generations, but I felt that the collection of women in Lies and Other Acts of Love was incredibly important. Our mothers and grandmothers and aunts – our cousins and and nieces and daughters – these are the people who hold our histories and our stories, but they also hold our hearts. There’s something incredibly powerful, to me, about women supporting other women, and it drives me crazy when they don’t. In this novel, we see more support than not, but both sides of the coin are reflected, and that balance is part of what makes these people seem so real.
I want to say a word about the men in the story, and especially D-Daddy – Lovey’s partner, who is declining much faster than she is. The scenes between the two of them were so poignant, and so naked, full of the little fictions we tell the people we love to ease their days, but also full of the impact of a decades-long relationship. Despite the requisite pain that comes with knowing someone you love is fading, the scenes with these two people were some of the most interesting, and most passionate, in the novel.
Overall, I found that Kristy Woodson Harvey’s voice, while remaining once the same as it was in Dear Carolina, has evolved into a confident, warm voice made for telling these distinctly human tales, that are the perfect blend of realism touched by romance. It’s no lie that I loved this book, and I’m certain you will, too.
Goes well with fresh-caught fish, a garden salad, and sweet tea (or maybe a vodka cranberry).