:: Harvey’s latest addition to the Peachtree Bluff series, The Southern Side of Paradise, delivers a sweet taste of southern charm, and I found myself hooked, in every respect, from the first page until the very last word.
Tamiya Anderson, our summer intern, was swept away by Kristy Woodson Harvey’s latest novel. She pitched us a book review of the novel, and of course we said yes! We love featuring books that we love on the Blue Crow blog. Here’s Tamiya’s review of Harvey’s latest.
Kristy Woodson Harvey is an author whose novels always deliver a sweet taste of southern charm and inspiration. Her latest addition to the Peachtree Bluff series, The Southern Side of Paradise, does just that, and I found myself hooked, in every respect, from the first page until the very last word.
As a story of family, The Southern Side of Paradise follows the Murphy girls—three distinct sisters, and one devoted mother. Set in Georgia, the novel is told from the perspective of a powerful matriarch, Ansley, and her fierce daughter, Emerson, a thriving L.A. actress. Indeed, the marriages, relationships, and family bonds of the Murphy girls are sharply tested in ways completely unexpected. While Ansley is concealing a deep-rooted secret that could, perhaps, alter the dynamic of these relationships, Emerson is battling a recent health scare as well as a life torn between Georgia with her family and new fiancé, and California with her up incoming career and new starring role.
In several ways, this book beautifully unfolds two of the most valued elements of life: family and love. Yet, at the same time, these elements are cleverly laced with shocking twists and unimaginable secrets. I truly became attached to each character—all of their joys, trepidations, and inner struggles. And whether you are new to the series like I was or a long-time reader of Harvey’s work, this novel is structured in such an intimate way that you are sure to become wholeheartedly invested. As this book is armed with a seamless mixture of raw emotion and down-to-earth character development, you see the Murphys wrestle with the ebbs and flows of life. Somehow, though, each character’s struggle is accompanied by the values of family fidelity and devoted partnership.
Constructing a novel focused on family, love, and all things in-between—without falling for clichés—is no easy undertaking. Yet, this is what’s so impressive about Harvey’s writing—her skillful ability to go beyond the expected. Just when you think you know what will happen next, Harvey hits you with an unexpected twist. Even though the book is told from two perspectives, it is nearly impossible to not form a connection to each character—including the hilarious duo Hippie Hal and Mrs. McClasky.
Amidst clear-cut characters and gripping drama, Kristy Woodson Harvey’s latest installment of the Peachtree Bluff series reads as warmly and inclusively as the southern landscape—a true testament of her natural writing ability. Although this novel is so well written that it could stand alone, I encourage you to read her entire series, which includes Slightly South of Simple and The Secret to Southern Charm.
With book in hand and a fresh, sweet cup of lemonade, delve into The Southern Side of Paradise to fully experience a breathtaking story that is brimming with meaning and flawlessly delivers the essence of southern charm.
Author Biography: Kristy Woodson Harvey is the author of Slightly South of Simple (Gallery/Simon & Schuster, 2017), The Secret to Southern Charm (Gallery/Simon & Schuster, 2018), Dear Carolina (Berkley/Penguin Random House, 2015), and Lies and Other Acts of Love (Berkley/Penguin Random House, 2016), and the founder of Design Chic, a popular interior design blog. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications and websites, includingSouthern Living, Traditional Home, Parade,USA Today, and Domino. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and son.
Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster, 2019
Visit Kristy at kristywoodsonharvey.com or Instagram @kristywharvey.