Review: The Secret to Southern Charm by Kristy Woodson Harvey

About the book, The Secret to Southern Charm The Secret to Southern Charm by Smith Harvey Photography

 

  • Series: The Peachtree Bluff Series (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books (April 3, 2018)

 

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).

Buy, read, and discuss The Secret to Southern Charm:

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About the author, Kristy Woodson Harvey Kristy Woodson Harvey

Kristy Woodson Harvey is the bestselling 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 a finalist for the Southern Book Prize. Slightly South of Simple was a Southern Bestseller, a Barnes & Noble Bestseller, one of PopSugar’s picks for “Ultimate Summer Reading” and one of Glitter Guide’s “Must-Reads for April.” The Secret to Southern Charm, the second book in the Peachtree Bluff series, releases April 3, 2018.

She blogs with her mom, Beth Woodson, daily on Design Chic, the inaugural member of the Design Blogger Hall of Fame sponsored by Traditional Home and winner of Amara’s Best Luxury Blog, sponsored by Roberto Cavalli, 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, Traditional Home, Parade, USA Today, Domino, Our State and O. Henry. She has been seen in Women’s Health, The Washington Post, US News and World Report, The Huffington Post, USA Today’s Happy Every After, Marie Claire’s The Fix, Woman’s World, Readers’ Digest and North Carolina Bookwatch, among others. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and six-year-old son where she is working on her next novel.

Connect with Kristy:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter


My Thoughts Melissa A. Bartell

I’ve been reviewing Kristy Woodson Harvey’s work since Dear Carolina, in 2015, and I’ve never been disappointed. This book, The Secret to Southern Charm, is her first sequel, continuing on from last year’s Slightly South of Simple. If you’re at all worried that you have to be familiar with the previous book, don’t be. This novel works as a standalone, though you’ll probably want to go read the earlier story.  Similarly, if you’re the type to be concerned that sequels are never as good as book one, you may put those concerns to rest. Harvey is as strong as ever. In fact, I feel like in this novel, her voice has become fully realized.

Harvey’s novels always involve strong female characters who take all the southern stereotypes and pulverize them. Her characters are richly painted and dimensional. You really feel for them, especially for Sloane with her two kids and her militaary husband who is MIA.

In fact, it’s in Sloane that I believe Harvey has done some of her best work, showing the combination of hope and fear and grief that Army wives experience whenever their partners are deployed. What could have been angsty, was poignant, and as Sloane’s experience changes, it’s as if we’re glimpsing the soul of a real person.

Which isn’t to say that the entire book wasn’t wonderful – it was. Harvey is extremely adept at capturing the mother-daughter dynamic. Ansley, Sloane’s mother, is the perfect example to this. Essentially the second lead in this story, she’s mother to Sloane and her sisters, grandmother to their children, and a daughter herself, caring for an aging mother (whose lack of filter often provides beats of humor).

If you want a believable, relatable family drama – if you want to read a book that is full of vivid descriptions and characters who are, for the most part, truly charming, then the answer is simple. Read The Secret to Southern Charm.

Goes well with iced tea and chicken salad on a bed of lettuce.

 

 

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 Review: The Secret to Southern Charm by Kristy Woodson Harvey by Melissa Bartell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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