“The entire summer lay ahead, ripe with promise, teeming with possibility, a flower right on the verge of blooming.”
-Kristy Woodson Harvey, Slightly South of Simple
Hey guys! I recently finished reading Slightly South of Simple by Kristy Woodson Harvey, sent to me by the lovely people at Gallery Books, and I really enjoyed it.
Here’s the blurb:
Travel to the coastal Georgia town of Peachtree Bluff with the Murphy women, where the breeze is fresh, the sky is blue-and nothing is ever quite as simple as it seems.
Caroline Murphy swore she’d never set foot back in Peachtree Bluff; a New York City girl born and bred, the worst day of her life was when her mother Ansley moved the family to the Podunk town where they’d spent her childhood summers. But with her marriage to a New York high society heir in shambles, a very pregnant Caroline decides to escape the city with daughter Vivi and head home to Peachtree, and Ansley.
After the death of her husband seventeen years ago, Ansley vowed to start fresh and is now finally standing on her own two feet as an interior designer. She welcomes Caroline back with open arms, but when middle daughter Sloane and youngest daughter Emerson also join the fray, Ansley worries that the self-reliance she’s cultivated might be slipping away. Then someone from her past reappears, and Ansley realizes that going it alone might not be the best way. But it opening her heart also means revealing a secret she’s harbored from her daughters all their lives, will letting love in prove worth the risk?
Exploring the powerful bonds between sisters, mothers, and daughters, this engaging novel is replete with Southern charm, heartfelt emotion, and poignant tenderness.
True to the blurb, Slightly South of Simple is a bewitching gem of a book. At 368 pages, I slipped into the world of the Murphy women straight away and was disappointed it wasn’t longer.
Told between the alternating point of views of Caroline, the eldest sister of three, and their mother, Ansley, we get a deeper look into the Murphy family and their dynamics; it was interesting to see each of the main characters from someone else’s perspective as well. When different peaks and troughs in each of the three sisters’ lives send them all converging back to Peachtree Bluff, it makes for one big mess of emotions. This book has plenty of heartwarming moments, humour, and love within its pages, as each woman deals with her own matters of the heart, along with being there for the others. There were some heart-wrenching moments in this book, however, which made it more realistic and kept it from being too saccharine. I’ll include trigger warnings at the end of this review if you’re interested or worried about it, but there are potential spoilers there so skip it if this doesn’t faze you!
As Slightly South of Simple is the first in a new book series, I’m excited to see whose viewpoints the next book in the series will be in. In this book, we got to know Caroline and Ansley the best. Although they had very different characteristics and personalities, Harvey did a great job at writing them as multi-faceted people that you could see yourself having a conversation with. Caroline was very bossy and controlling, but with her weaknesses that were also shown, and the deep love she has for her family, she was a likeable character and not grating, as she easily could have been. Ansley could be quite passive and anxious at times, but as she was portrayed so realistically, I felt the same about her; in fact, I loved all of the Murphy women and look forward to learning more about Sloane and Emerson.
Having the entire novel set in Peachtree Bluff, on the coast in the American South, added to its charm. The small Southern town on the coast was gorgeously evoked, giving this beautiful novel about love, family and friendship an equally beautiful setting. This would be the perfect novel to take with you on your beach holiday!
Overall, this was a lovely book that I really enjoyed reading and I already can’t wait until the next one! 5/5 stars for me and a big recommendation to pick it up for yourselves if you’re looking for a lovely adult contemporary to dive into this summer!
Has anyone else read this one? What did you think of it? Which books are on your tbrs for this summer?
This is overall a feel-good book, but there are two instances of death and grieving in this book. One is from 9/11 and another from fighting in a war. There is also mention of adultery and childbirth/C-sections. DM me if you have any questions!