I took a glorious trip last week. It was warm and beachy, and the town was so quaint and Southern that I couldn’t bear to leave. And the people! I just ate up every little thing they did and said and I know I’ll never forget them. Best of all? This trip cost about $16.00 and I got to sleep in my own bed because my travels to Peachtree Bluff, Georgia took place within the pages of Kristy Woodson Harvey’s latest novel, Slightly South of Simple.
The first in a new series, Slightly South of Simple introduces us to Caroline Murphy, a thirty-something wife and mother who lives by her Manhattan roots—that is, until her husband decides he’s in love with a supermodel and is about to appear with her on the trashy reality show Ladies Who Lunch. Heartbroken and humiliated, a very pregnant Caroline packs up and takes her young daughter to the one place she swore she’d never return: Peachtree Bluff, Georgia, the nothing-to-do town of her childhood summers, the town where her family up and moved permanently after her father’s death seventeen years ago. For Caroline’s mother, Ansley, Peachtree Bluff was the fresh start she needed after the loss of her husband. Now the town’s foremost interior designer, Ansley has rebuilt her life in what was once her grandmother’s home, where the most dramatic part of her day is bickering with her cranky neighbor over a fence. Ansley gladly welcomes Caroline home to heal her broken heart, but when her other two daughters, Sloane and Emerson, follow suit, her peaceful life is suddenly filled with sibling squabbles, an overflowing refrigerator, and a passel of grandchildren. And her daughters aren’t the only ones returning to Peachtree Bluff. There’s also Jack, the star of the most cherished and painful memories of Ansley’s youth—a man who could open up her heart to love again, even if that brings a lifetime of secrets crumbling down around them.
There’s nothing I love more than a book about relationships, and Slightly South of Simple is a story brimming with love at every corner—the love between sisters, between parents and children, between grandparents and grandchildren, between old flames and new. As narrators, Ansley and Caroline could not be more different, but both mother and daughter are equally engaging, and my heart broke and swelled for them with every page. I never knew where their journeys were going to take me, and I didn’t waste any time trying to figure it out. I was too busy soaking in their lives, their histories, and the jewel of a town where it all took place. I never wanted it to end, but at the same time, I raced right through it because it was impossible to put down. I am so thrilled that this is only the first in the series, because I can’t wait to dive deeper into the lives of the other sisters. Simply put, I adored this book, and you will too.
If you want to fly away to a cozy coastal down without the airfare, scoop up Slightly South of Simple and let Kristy Woodson Harvey be your tour guide. You’ll be so caught up in this story of love, family, and healing that you’ll be marking your calendar for another trip to Peachtree Bluff next year.
Kristy is part of the Tall Poppy Writers, an amazing group of female authors you will definitely want to check out. And if you love reading and connecting with authors and fellow book-lovers, be sure to join Bloom, a dynamic Facebook group hosted by the Tall Poppies. Bloom is a special community where readers get to know Tall Poppy Writers, authors get to know their readers, and everyone has a grand old time talking about BOOKS! (And other fun things as well.)