The Southern Side of Paradise – 2/19/19

Happy Tuesday! We had a great day off yesterday and will probably have another day off tomorrow – hello snow day ❄️! Honestly at this point I’d prefer days by the pool than days off in February with snow and ice. I am going to take it all in stride and read a bunch while we are all snowed in. I have a pretty big pile of books on our end table and a pretty big virtual pile of books on my kindle to read so I’m ready!

If you are looking for something to read right now while you’re snowed in, I have some suggestions for you.

Two summers ago, I read about Slightly South of Simple by Kristy Woodson Harvey in Southern Living and decided I had to read it. Kourtni lent me her copy and I loved it! Peachtree Bluff sounded like the most perfect southern coastal town and the Murphy family sucked me right in from the beginning! This is the story of the oldest Murphy sister, Caroline. Her marriage is falling apart so she takes her daughter and heads south to Peachtree Bluff, Georgia to stay with her mother, Ansley, for a while. This book introduces us to Ansley and Caroline, and Caroline’s sisters Sloane and Emerson. It is a great story of sisters and mother-daughter relationships. If you haven’t read this book, read the rest of this post and then go read the book. Read it today.

Last April, I was over the moon excited to find out that the second book in the Peachtree Bluff series was coming out and that Kristy was going to be at Bethany Beach Books the same weekend as me!! I was a little nervous for a few reasons. 1 – I am always excited to meet an author who’s book I loved but my expectations go up, up, up. 2 – Is the second book in the series going to be as good as the first? 3 – I was running an half-marathon with a few girlfriends and that always makes me nervous. 😉

I was nervous for no reason at all. Kristy was lovely! We talked about her new book, The Secret to Southern Charm, and what was going to happen to the Murphy girls. The Secret to Southern Charm did not disappoint. This book is Sloane’s story. Her husband is fighting in Afghanistan and she moved home to raise her two young sons in Peachtree Bluff with her the support of her mother, Ansley, and sisters. Sloane finds out her husband is missing in action and falls apart. She can hardly get out of bed, much less take care of her boys. Her sisters and mother step up to help her take care of the boys and herself. Even though the story focuses on Sloane, we do learn about Ansley and how her life decisions affect her reality every day.

Kristy told us about her other books and I picked them up to read. They sounded exactly up my alley – southern, coastal, fiction about families.

I read Dear Carolina and Lies and Other Acts of Love and they were fabulous! We talked about a possible sequel to Dear Carolina at the bookstore. Kristy didn’t commit, but I think it would be a wonderful story and I would read it immediately! 😊 Lies and Other Acts of Love is loosely based on her grandparents’ story and it is a perfect example of Southern fiction. I talked about it here.

As you can tell, I have really enjoyed Kristy Woodson Harvey’s books. I was over the moon excited when she reached out to see if I would like to read The Southern Side of Paradise early. Of course I said yes and I got to reading. I couldn’t wait to read the book but I was a little sad to be reading the last story in the Peachtree Bluff series. I started by trying to follow the executive editor, Laura McKenna’s, advice by envisioning myself on a porch swing, mint julep in hand, with a great book (this one), and a view of the ocean. You’ve arrived the Peachtree Bluff state of mind.” It was the perfect way to read this book. So get yourself ready and off we’ll go.

I was trying to savor every page, but I was also flying through it excited to see what happens to Emerson Murphy. Emerson is the youngest sister and we finally get to hear her story! Emerson is an actress who knows she needs to be in LA but has fallen back in love with her high school boyfriend Mark. He runs his family business in Peachtree Bluff and doesn’t want to leave. When Mark proposes, Emerson is caught off guard and says yes because she thinks it is the right thing to do. Caroline starts planning a beautiful wedding that takes advantage of everything Peachtree Bluff has to offer: the water, the beautiful scenery, and all the interesting characters that you find in a small town. Mark and Emerson are unable to figure out how to balance life in Peachtree Bluff and life in LA. How will they take care of children (definitely not with the help of Duchess, Mark’s mom)? How will they spend enough time together with Emerson’s acting and business venture in LA? Emerson is torn between standing by the man she loves and standing up for what she loves. I give the book ☀️ ☀️ ☀️ ☀️ ☀️, 5 bright sunshines!

The great thing about a series is that this isn’t just Emerson’s story. We are still following Caroline, Sloane, and Ansley to see how their stories continue with their changing family dynamics. You find out how Caroline is reconciling her relationship with her husband. How Sloane is adjusting to life with her husband back from war. And Ansley has to share all the secrets she has been keeping to protect her daughters. Go read the Peachtree Bluff series! Try to read them slowly, to savor your time with the Murphy sisters and their mother, Ansley, because the three books go so fast and all the sudden you’ve read them all.

Be sure to mark your calendar for May 7, 2019 to pick up The Southern Side of Paradise on its release date!

You can check out my books from last year here and the books I recently read here.

I am linking up with Erika and Ashley for Tuesday Talk to talk about this wonderful book!

**Thank you to Kristy Woodson Harvey and NetGalley for the book in exchange for an honest review.**

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