XOXperts Review | Slightly South of Simple (Peachtree Bluff #1) by Kristy Woodson Harvey
Title: Slightly South of Simple
Series: A Peachtree Bluff Novel, #1
Author: Kristy Woodson Harvey
Release Date: April 25, 2017
Genre: Women's Fiction, |Adult | Fiction
Publisher: Gallery Books
Source: XOXO After Dark
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.
I’ve been a part of the XOXperts team for a few years now, and it’s books like these that remind how amazing of a program it is. I, of course, love reading romance novels, and don’t ever want to stop. However, I think it’s extremely important to cleanse one’s reading palette every now and then. Diverse reading is highly valuable. This month, I wanted to read something a little different than usual, and SLIGHTLY SOUTH OF SIMPLE looked like the perfect choice. Initially, I was intrigued by the cover, and synopsis that was so different from what I typically read and review for my blog. This author was also new to me, and that’s another reason why I love being an XOXpert, and blogger in general.
SLIGHTLY SOUTH OF SIMPLE is a heartwarming story of familial bonds and unearthed secrets. I enjoyed the alternating point of view’s from Ansley and her daughter, Caroline. I got to understand Ansley’s mindset and her previously quiet way of living. The rumble of her three daughters and their children coming to stay with her was quite evident after witnessing the peaceful Peachtree Bluff. I look forward to seeing more books revealing the other sister’s voices. They all have distinct personalities that make their home atmosphere and relationships extremely interesting.
Harvey writes strong women very well. She knows how to pull forward realistic personalities and relatable challenges that women can face. While all the women were older than me, and I can’t quite relate entirely to them, there is still a level of connection I had to the characters. The story is very much a character driven one, and because of that, the development of every single one was vital. Harvey managed to write each one with such depth, and I found myself deeply invested in their lives. Another aspect that really made a lasting impression on me were the gorgeous descriptions of the South. I’ve never been to that area, but I felt as if I was transported to the Georgian coastal areas.
This novel had elements of humor, drama, and romance with a beautiful backdrop of Georgia. I am simply hooked on this family!
She blogs with her mom daily on Design Chic, the inaugural member of Traditional Home’s design blogger hall of fame, 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, Domino, Houzz and Our State. She has been seen in Readers' Digest, Women's Health, The Washington Post, Dr. Oz The Good Life, The Huffington Post, USA Today's Happy Every After and North Carolina Bookwatch, among others. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and five-year-old son where she is working on her next novel.