Title: Slightly South of Simple
Author: Kristy Woodson Harvey
Publish Date: April 25, 2017 (Today!)
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "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."
My Two Cents:
"Slightly South of Simple" is the story of Ansley and her three daughters. During 9/11, Ansley lost her beloved husband and fled to her grandmother's house in Georgia that she inherited with her three daughters. It was a big change from New York City but the solace she found saved her. Her daughters are now grown with families and lives of their own. They are all fleeing back to Georgia after facing crises of their own. Will they be able to find the same solace?
This is the first book in a planned series. The story mainly focuses on Ansley, the mother, and Caroline, the oldest daughter of the Murphy family. The chapters are split between them so we can see both sides and get to know both characters. I instantly warmed up to Ansley. She has seen a lot in her years and she is trying to use her experience to help her daughters whether they want to admit it or not. Ansley is hiding her own secrets that begin to be unraveled throughout the book and only serve to endear her more to the reader.
Caroline was a harder sell for me. She spends the first part of the book being miserable, spoiled, and selfish. Yes, she is going through a very public divorce. Yes, the divorce happened when she was pregnant but she seems to drag herself into being negative at every turn at first. She is obsessed with how she looks even while pregnant and taking care of another daughter (who she seems to want to pass her own sensitivities to at every turn). Eventually we get to see some growth and realization that there is more to life than what life looks like from the outside of everything but it is a hard wrought lesson.
The relationship between mothers and daughters is an amazing relationship but it can be incredibly difficult as we see in this book. I love reading about these relationships and I love that we get to see the action in the story from both mother and daughter.
This is a light read and is perfect for when you're looking for a book with a lot of heart and a great small town setting!