You know when you just fall head over heels for a town? The people are quirky and unforgettable, the weather is perfect, there are cute little indie businesses EVERYWHERE, and there’s always some hot gossip you can’t help but want to be privy to. I fell in love with Peachtree Bluff, Georgia the minute I read Kristy Woodson Harvey’s Slightly South of Simple in 2017, and I’ve basked in my annual trips there ever since. Now, after finishing The Southern Side of Paradise, the third and final installment in the Peachtree Bluff series, I don’t know how I’m going to say goodbye.
The Southern Side of Paradise brings us back into the lives of the magnificent Murphy women: Peachtree Bluff native Ansley and the three grown daughters, Caroline, Sloane, and Emerson, who somehow landed back under her roof in the blink of one summer. This time around, it’s youngest sister and rising starlet Emerson’s turn in the spotlight–a position she seems destined for. With an impending wedding and a breakthrough dream role on the horizon, Emerson should be shining brighter than the Georgia sun, and she is–aside from a few mixed feelings, a possible health crisis, and the whopper of a secret she’s carrying around. With all of her daughters happy(ish) and her once-upon-a-time love Jack back at her side, Ansley should be at peace too, but she can’t help feeling that everyone is keeping things from her–and maybe she’s got a few secrets of her own, too. The Southern Side of Paradise beautifully explores how the past shapes the present, how plans can so easily fall off course, and how even life’s greatest difficulties can transform into something magical.
More than anything, The Southern Side of Paradise–like all of the books in this series–is about love. Every page is drenched with the love of family, the love of a town, and the love of a life perfect in its imperfections. It explores old loves, new loves, and the loves that are somehow both. Ansley and Jack’s romance is one for the ages, and will forever rank as one of my all-time favorites. Kristy Woodson Harvey has created a true community within the pages of the Peachtree Bluff novels, and I’ve come to think of Ansley, Jack, and the girls as beloved friends. (I have been entrusted with their deepest secrets, after all.) I love that with every novel, I’ve gotten the chance to know each of the “Starlite Sisters” a bit more, and at every turn, I continue to be surprised about where their journeys take me. As with life itself, I never knew what to expect next, and I somehow had to trust that everything would turn out just as it should. In the talented hands of Kristy Woodson Harvey, that’s exactly what happened.
The Southern Side of Paradise moved me in every possible way, and as hard as it is to say goodbye to this wonderful summer town, I know it will stay with me forever. I’ll never forget those days at the sandbar, the weird and wonderful community meetings, and the hotter-than-a-scalding-latte Coffee Kyle. (Especially not Coffee Kyle.) And who knows? Maybe the gates to Peachtree Bluff will reopen one day. A girl can dream, and life is full of surprises.
For more on Kristy Woodson Harvey and her truly sensational novels, visit kristywoodsonharvey.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Pick up The Southern Side of Paradise at your favorite indie, Barnes & Noble, Target, Amazon, or wherever you buy your books! If you haven’t started the Peachtree Bluff series yet, be sure to start with Slightly South of Simple and get ready to be swept away.