A 2018 Spring Okra Pick
USA TODAY Happy Ever After’s Best Women’s Fiction
Southern Living’s Most Anticipated Beach Reads of 2018
Deep South Magazine’s Summer Reading List
Raleigh News & Observer's “The Best Reads of Summer”
Charlotte Observer’s “Summer’s Best Books”
New York Live’s “Ashley’s A-List” Pick
Leaving fans “practically [begging] for a sequel” (Bookpage), critically acclaimed author Kristy Woodson Harvey returns with the second novel in her beloved Peachtree Bluff series, featuring a trio of sisters and their mother who discover a truth that will change not only the way they see themselves, but also how they fit together as a family.
After finding out her military husband is missing in action, middle sister Sloane’s world crumbles as her worst nightmare comes true. She can barely climb out of bed, much less summon the strength to be the parent her children deserve.
Her mother, Ansley, provides a much-needed respite as she puts her personal life on hold to help Sloane and her grandchildren wade through their new grief-stricken lives. But between caring for her own aging mother, her daughters, and her grandchildren, Ansley’s private worry is that secrets from her past will come to light.
But when Sloane’s sisters, Caroline and Emerson, remind Sloane that no matter what, she promised her husband she would carry on for their young sons, Sloane finds the support and courage she needs to chase her biggest dreams—and face her deepest fears. Taking a cue from her middle daughter, Ansley takes her own leap of faith and realizes that, after all this time, she might finally be able to have it all.
Harvey’s signature warmth and wit make this a charming and poignant story of first loves, missed opportunities, and second chances and proves that she is "the next major voice in Southern fiction” (Elin Hilderbrand, New York Times bestselling author).
About the Author
Kristy Woodson Harvey is a born-and-bred North Carolina girl who loves all four seasons—especially fall in Chapel Hill, where she attended college, and summer in Beaufort, where she and her family spend every free moment. The author of The Southern Side of Paradise, The Secret of Southern Charm, Slightly South of Simple, Dear Carolina, and Lies and Other Acts of Love, Kristy is also the founder of the popular interior design blog Design Chic.
Read an Excerpt
The Secret to Southern Charm
Time had lost its meaning. I only realized it was night because the water outside my bedroom window at my mother’s home in Peachtree Bluff, Georgia, wasn’t blue anymore. It was black and shining like fresh-paved asphalt. But inside, in my room, on my TV, it wasn’t night. It was Saturday morning, the third precious birthday of my son Adam, Jr., or AJ, as we called him. My strong, national hero of a husband, in his off-duty khaki shorts and collared shirt, was holding our other son, six-month-old Taylor, in one arm. I was behind the camera cooing, “Smile for Daddy one more time. Can you smile for Daddy?” Taylor smiled. Who wouldn’t smile for the handsome man holding him?
It was almost funny to see that six-foot-three soldier with his big, sculpted arms and huge hands made for protecting holding that tiny baby. But Adam wasn’t just a strong and loyal soldier. He was my husband. He was my boys’ father. He was my home.
His arms were the only place I had truly felt safe, special, and loved. His smile was the one that changed my life, had convinced me to marry, to have children, to put myself out there and love this big. His heart was the one that, after a decade of feeling so terrorized by my father’s death, had made me feel safe again. Adam had changed absolutely everything.
His dark hair, peppered with gray, was buzzed short. His kind brown eyes twinkled at me through the camera as he said, “Three, Sloane. Can you believe he’s three?”
We were in front of our town house on post in North Carolina. Adam liked the idea of us being in a town home, of having other families close by. He didn’t say it, but he liked the idea of other families being close by because he wouldn’t always be around. It was inevitable. He felt like we were safe here when he was away.
The video panned over our house, a sweet Carolina blue with a front porch on a street, like all the streets on post, named after a World War II battle campaign. My mother had decorated the generic four-bedroom interior, converting one of the bedrooms into a playroom and sparing no expense on the open-floor-plan living room, dining room, and kitchen downstairs. It was almost embarrassingly beautiful.
We shared a driveway with my friend Maryanne and her husband, Tom, who was a part of Adam’s unit, and their four kids. Tom called, “Hey, Sarge!” and gave Adam a double thumbs-up. We were all still basking in the glow of Adam’s promotion to sergeant first class. There were a lot of perks that came with the job.
But hands down the perk that meant the most to Adam was the respect, the feeling of a job well done. Junior enlisted soldiers would come to him, asking for advice, wanting his opinion. He always said he was raising men, and he didn’t just mean his sons. Those boys were his now, even though he wasn’t much older than some of them. It was his job to protect them, to instill in them morals, values, and a sense of pride in their country and in themselves.
Adam was an imposing man, a strong leader, but he also had a kind heart. Maybe the Army didn’t care about that. But I had to think his empathetic nature was a factor in his promotion.
We loved living there, surrounded by other military families, the only ones who could truly understand the life we had chosen.
Four of our favorite couples and their small children were scattered around our postage-stamp front yard, each of them, from the largest officer to Maryanne’s newborn baby, wearing a Mickey Mouse party hat. AJ was attempting to ride his new mini scooter through the grass, the red Keds and white Jon Jon with the red fire truck Mom had sent him for his birthday seeming more than a little out of place amidst the other children in their shorts and T-shirts.
My husband had protested the outfit, but I had simply kissed him and said, “Oh, sweetheart, he’s only little once. Let me have this.”
Adam had pulled me to him then, kissed me longer, and said, teasingly, “If you get the girly outfits, I get buying him a BB gun for his sixth birthday.”
This was a common joke between us. I was, ironically, very anti-gun. He was a soldier, a card-carrying member of the NRA, a proud Second Amendment supporter. We would never agree on this. We would never agree, in fact, on a number of things. But that’s what made us work.
Back on the screen we were all singing, “Happy birthday, dear AJ! Happy birthday to you!”
We cheered as it took him not one, not two, but three tries to blow out the three candles on his cake.
“Third time’s the charm?” Adam asked me, looking into the camera.
We both laughed, sharing that private moment, my favorite man in all the world holding one of our sons, his arm around the other.
Adam smiled into the camera, that special smile he reserved just for me, a secret we would never let the rest of the world in on. I hit pause on my sticky remote. Sticky from what I couldn’t say. Popsicle? Go-gurt?
I pulled the two down comforters I had wrapped around me up closer to my chin, trying to soothe the perceptible chill that ran through me as my mind pulled out of that world, where Adam was here and we were happy, and back into the present, the real world where life was bleak, empty, and so cold it felt like the depths of the arctic instead of a seventy-eight-degree night in Georgia.
My bed was covered with letters Adam had written me over the years, the ones I carried in a leather portfolio my mom had gotten me when I was accepted into art school. Whenever I traveled, it was the first thing that went into my suitcase. This trip to Peachtree had been no exception. A few of the letters fluttered when I disturbed the comforter.
I glanced over at the nightstand to see my dinner untouched on its tray. My mom was trying, bless her heart. I almost smiled because nothing ever changed, not really. I did the same thing with my sons now, putting the broccoli on their plates even if I knew they wouldn’t take a single bite.
The mere thought of eating turned my stomach, made bile rise up the back of my throat. I couldn’t remember the last time I had even gotten out of this bed or had a sip of water. I certainly hadn’t bathed in far too long. How long had it been since I heard Adam was MIA? Two days, a week, a month? It terrified me. Who had been taking care of my children? Even if I couldn’t eat, I would bathe tomorrow. I would face my boys. But this was something I thought every day.
I looked back at the TV, studying Adam’s smiling face, so joyful and alive. He was my home. He was my everything. I sank even deeper into the covers, and the sobs, so powerful they seemed like they were in danger of stealing the very life from me, overtook me as I realized it: I may never be home again.
Reading Group Guide
This readers group guide for The Secret to Southern Charm includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.
When Sloane Murphy hears that her husband, Adam, is MIA, she breaks down. Thankfully, she finds herself in the care of her sisters, mother, and grandmother in her family’s home in Peachtree Bluff, Georgia, where the sky is blue, the breeze is fresh, but naturally—nothing is ever as simple as it seems. Sloane must learn how to pick herself up and out of bed, be the mother she needs to be for her two sons, and prepare to pick up the pieces in case Adam never returns. Meanwhile, her mother Ansley’s affections with her teenage sweetheart grow more complicated when he forces himself into her life in an unexpected way. There’s never a dull moment in the Murphy household, and book two in the Peachtree Bluff series proves it!
Topics & Questions for Discussion
1. There are three generations of mothers, and likewise, many styles of parenting in this novel. Discuss the different relationships that exist and consider the relationship between Sloane and Ansley or Sloane and her grandmother, and how Sloane and Caroline view parenting.
2. Discuss the title The Secret to Southern Charm. Secrets abound in the novel: Sloane neglects to tell Adam she uses an IUD and doesn’t truly want kids; Jack is Sloane and Caroline’s father, yet Ansley won’t tell them; Ansley’s early financial woes that her daughters know nothing about; and Grammy’s decision to hide her illness from the family. Discuss what other secrets exist and how they impact the characters in their own ways.
3. “Grammy had said earlier that the accent was the secret to Southern charm. But she was wrong. This putting on a brave face, carrying on, helping others, being kind and humble and giving, believing with all your heart that the world could be a better place and that you could make it that way . . . that was Southern charm. Looking around at these women who embodied those qualities so well, I had to think that maybe Grammy was wrong. Maybe it wasn’t a secret at all” (page 240). How do you interpret the title and Grammy’s thoughts on what the secret of Southern charm is? After reading the book, do you think this is what Southern charm is about? Why, or why not?
4. Ansley mentions her longstanding desire to decorate the home next to hers. When her new neighbor ends up being her former lover, Jack, she offers her service to him. How does this decision play out for Ansley? Do you think it was wise for her to pitch to Jack? Why, or why not?
5. Sloane describes her marriage to Adam as love at first sight. Do you agree with Ansley that their engagement moved quickly? Do you think this intensity so early on in their relationship creates any sort of bond for their future? Why, or why not?
6. Take a moment to think about the different women in the novel. What does it mean to be a mother, a daughter, a sister, or a wife in the book? Discuss how the relationships are different or similar. Is Ansley the same type of mother her own mother was? Is Sloane like Ansley? How would you describe Sloane and Caroline’s relationship versus Sloane and Emerson’s? Lastly, discuss the difference in marriages that exist: Sloane and Adam versus Caroline and James. Recall Caroline’s story from Slightly South of Simple to help with this discussion.
7. “Sometimes being a mother isn’t about having to fix it. Sometimes, the best thing a mother can be is there at all” (page 13). Discuss this quote in the context of Ansley’s treatment of Sloane in the first half of the book versus her own mother’s “help” in her own time of need. Do you agree with their behaviors and decisions? Do you relate to either relationship?
8. The concept of a home versus a house is an underlying theme in the book. Discuss how the family home in Peachtree Bluff is a home rather than a house.
9. On page 181, Grammy says to Sloane, “I’m going to say this. I love you, Sloane. You’re a beautiful, talented, artistic bright light. It has bothered me for years that once you married Adam, you became this . . . ‘Stepford wife.’” Based on what you’ve read about Sloane’s marriage and her life after it, do you agree with her grandmother? Why, or why not?
10. “I’ve always been very good at being numb. I’m the doer, the fixer, the one to take charge. It keeps my mind off of what is actually happening so I don’t have to face the sadness” (page 199). What does Ansley mean by this thought? Do you think she hides from her feelings in the book? If so, in what ways? In which circumstances?
11. Take a moment to reflect on the events in Slightly South of Simple, the first book set in Peachtree Bluff. Although it is focused on Caroline’s experience, would you say the characters have changed at all in The Secret to Southern Charm? How so?
12. There are a lot of thoughts on memories in the book, either in creating new ones (Grammy’s desire to take a trip to Starlite Island) or reminiscing on the past (Ansley’s early years with Jack). How do the characters preserve memories or describe important moments? What would you hope your family would remember about you on your last day?
13. Which of the characters do you relate to the most? Is it helpful to read new points of view in each Peachtree Bluff novel to understand the Murphy family? Can you make any predictions for what comes for the Murphy’s or Emerson?
14. Sloane describes their life on the army base in a few chapters. Do you have any familiarity with living on an army base or have you had friends/family who have done so? What do you imagine it would be like? Have you had friends or family who have married military personnel? In what ways do you think their lives are similar to Sloane’s?
Enhance Your Book Club
1. For your next book, consider reading a memoir about being an army wife such as Unremarried Widow by Artis Henderson. Do you see similarities in Sloane’s and Artis’s stories?
2. If you live near a lake or a waterfront, consider taking a tour of the area on a sailboat as the sisters do to drop Vivi off at camp.
3. As a group, go to your local painting party shop. Try your hand at some conceptual art as Sloane does or try a paint by numbers-style class.
4. Connect with Kristy Woodson Harvey on Facebook, Twitter, and visit her official website at: KristyWoodsonHarvey.com. Consider inviting her to Skype in with your book club.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Could hardly wait to dive into The Secret to Southern Charm, after finishing Slightly South of Simple. I was not disappointed. Ready for the next book!
Very good book, can’t wait for the next one!
A little less Southern charm than expected... When I completed reading the first book in this series, Slightly South of Simple, Book #1 in the Peachtree Bluff Series, I knew I had to read Book #2, The Secret to Southern Charm. Kristy Woodson Harvey introduced her readers to what appeared to be a charming family in Slightly South of Simple. The family consisted of a mom (Ansley) and her three adult daughters (Caroline, Sloane, and Emerson). Each of the four women has a personal problem she is contending with in the first book. By the end, it appeared that each of them was nearing some sort of solution. But upon starting The Secret to Southern Charm, I’m sad to say their problems are still with them. No one seems to be making any progress toward resolution. I grew tired of the rehash of these problems that four adult women can’t seem to bring under control. Complaining, crying, whining, and continuous tension did not make for a pleasant summer read. However, Harvey continues to write with a fluid style, great descriptions and seems to have stalled here in her character development. Still looking forward to Book #3.
Really loving the stories of these four southern women and the men who love them!
Loved everything about this book!
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings Similar to the first book, this book centers around one of the three sisters Sloane. Sloane's husband has been in deployment and at the end of book one he is categorized as MIA. The sisters' mother is also a big part of this book as she is dealing with quite a bit on her plate. Without repeating yesterday's thoughts, this book was just like the last in that the sisters were such a joy to read about. I loved how they felt so real; they argued and held grudges and made up, I loved it!
As the cover suggests, The Secret to Southern Charm is an excellent beach read. The writing was rich and descriptive and easily transports you to Peachtree Bluff, Georgia, a charming town with even more charming residents. The main characters in this book, the Murphy family, all find themselves at crossroads in their lives, and the story focuses on and is narrated by Ansley, the mother, and Sloane, one of her daughters. You will be drawn into the stories of this lovely family that demonstrate their love and support for one another while at the same time showing that they are all too human. Although this book is the second in the Peachtree Bluff series, I didn't feel lost or that I was missing anything by not having read the first book. That said, it definitely makes me want to read Slightly South of Simple and meet the Murphy family for the first time. I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are solely my own.
Kristy Woodson Harvey’s second novel in her acclaimed Peachtree Bluff series about a widowed mother and her three daughters,The Secret to Southern Charm, was not at all the chic-lit novel I expected. Instead, it was a warm and poignant look at the choices we make in our lives, and the joys and the regrets that follow, but mostly it was a commentary on the lives of our military families, particularly those left behind when a soldier goes missing or is killed in action. After learning that her husband, Adam, is MIA, Sloane spends weeks in bed, grieving and watching old home videos of their family in happy times. Her faith, and a reminder from her sisters that she has children who need her finally gives her the strength to try to return to a normal life. Meanwhile, Sloane’s mom, Ansley, has put her own life on hold to care for Sloane’s two boys, as well as her own aging mother. According to Ansley’s mom, the accent is the secret to Southern charm. Sloane disagrees, believing instead, that humility, kindness, and putting on a brave face in times of trouble make up the secret, then decides it isn’t a secret. Women are strong because they have to be. There are several storylines in this book, as there are in any family. Each of these women makes peace with her choices and accept the challenge of second chances. After reading The Secret to Southern Charm, I feel compelled to read the first book in the series. Kristy Woodson Harvey will soon rank right up there with well-known Southern writers, Mary Alice Monroe and Dorothea Benton Frank.
Wonderful! Enough said!
I received a copy of this from NetGalley for my honest review. I had no idea it was the second in a series. I just got the first book and will read it first then get to this one. I hate to read them out of order and from what I read in the reviews it’s not good to read this one first. I appreciate being given this book very much and promise to read it and leave my review where I can. I’m so sorry I had no idea about the series thing.
Strength I won a copy of this book from Goodreads. I was not required to give a favorable review. I found this story beautiful in so many ways. It shows the strength of women facing some of the hardest times of their lives. And having family close to help them through. You have great-grandma who is back with her daughter, granddaughters and great-grandchildren. Each being their for different reasons, but they needs either other strengths to get them through some of the hardest trials of their lives. I can't wait to read in the 2nd book in this series. All I can say make sure you have tissues ready at different times in this book.
I was so excited to return to Peachtree Bluff. The first book had so many adventures and laughs. I loved it!!! In this book, the family matriarch (Ansley's mother) gets cancer, Sloane's husband, Adam, is missing in Iraq and Ansley is overplaying a somewhat teenage role far beneath her age over Jack. For me, it was mostly all sadness and a LOT of complaining going on. I like these characters a whole lot better with some happiness and fun going on. This one was just too sad, gloomy and depressing for me. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy the book, but I definitely did not enjoy it as much as the first one. The next book is setting up to answer some serious questions and I hope to see a lot more fun and sisterly rivalry in the next one. Thanks to Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This book is the second in the Peachtree Bluff series. Ms. Harvey is a new (to me) author. Since I had not yet read the first book in this series, Slightly South of Simple, I purchased and read that book before starting this one. Slightly South of Simple was a well-written book and The Secret to Southern Charm picked up where the first book left off. The characters are well-developed and the story line is compelling. Ansley is a “Steel Magnolia”, a strong southern woman, who raised three daughters alone following the death of her husband in the 9-11 attack on the Twin Towers. She moved her daughters back to the small town of Peachtree Bluff to a home left to her by her grandmother. This is a novel of family secrets. It was a compelling read. I couldn’t put it down. I recommend this series to anyone who likes a good family story. I recommend reading Slightly South of Simple before reading this book. I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series.
I was so excited to read more about one of my favorite southern families in The Secret to Southern Charm by Kristy Woodson Harvey, and this book delivered! A second book in the series, I absolutely adored digging deeper into this family’s daily life, drama, and emotional battles. While I think this book could be read as a standalone, I don’t’ think you will gain the connection with Ansley and her girls if you skip the first book. Ansley has begun to adjust to her three daughters living with her in Peachtree Bluff and life is beginning to settle in as much as possible. She still has her hands full, as her mother has come to visit and seems to be ill and her daughter Sloane’s military husband is MIA. She is tempted to rekindle a long past relationship, but wonders if she really has time, while juggling her shop and caring for her mother, daughters and grandchildren. Sloane knew her husband being in the military meant she could lose him at any point, but it doesn’t make receiving the terrifying news of him missing any less painful. Holing herself up for many weeks, she struggles to remind herself that her children still need her to be their Mommy. With her mom, grammy and sisters’ support, she pulls herself out of her mourning and fights to regain control of her life. While the first book in the series spent more time focusing on Ansley and her oldest daughter Caroline, this book bounced between Ansley and her middle daughter Sloane, while she struggles to build a new life in light of the devastating news that her husband may not return. It was enjoyable to get a deeper glimpse at Sloane and her husband Adam’s life, and how they came to be together. As in the last book, there is a deeply buried family secret that Ansley fights to keep hidden. Throughout the book, she struggles with the battle within in her as she continues to deceive those she loves the most. Will the girls discover what their mom is determined to keep concealed? If it is discovered will it change the dynamic of their tight-knit family? I absolutely adored this story. It made me feel such a large range of emotions. At one point I literally had chills. It says a lot about a book when it causes a physical reaction in you, and this one did just that. I highly recommend this exquisitely written novel. I am confident that before long The Secret to Southern Charm will no longer be much of a secret! 5 sizzling southern stars! **Review by Amy, Late Night Reviewer for Up All Night with Books**
I am hooked on Kristy Woodson Harvey’s southern charm. While reading I was actually hearing the characters with southern accents, picturing them in their houses with wraparound porches, and drinking sweet tea. The Secret to Southern Charm is the second book in The Peachtree Bluff Series. I think that the books are better read in order. Book two starts off exactly where book one ended. The storyline continues with Ansley, Caroline, Sloane, and Emerson all back in Georgia together. We learn about Sloane’s life as a military wife and the fears she had when she was first married. I saw Sloane’s strength when dealing with her husband’s MIA status, while she needed a little push to get out of her own head and back into the real world I could see her figuring out how to put one foot in front of the other getting back to living. She took care of her children, she painted again, and she found out what was missing of herself even before the MIA. While this is mostly Sloane’s story the spotlight is shared with the rest of her family. I loved catching up with Ansley and her long ago love Jack, seeing Emerson and Mark being together, and watching Caroline figure out if James is who she is meant to be with. These are storylines that are not quite done. There is more in store for each of these characters. I am excited for more of Peachtree Bluff series and the amazing Southern Charm.
Kristy Woodson Harvey knocks it out of the ballpark with this new installment in Peachtree Bluff. This book will have you shed a couple of tears and having you laugh out loud for what is going on within the pages. With this book starting out after finding out that Sloane's husband has gone missing overseas, you can't help but to feel what she is going through. At the same time, Ansley is dealing with her past with a huge secret about two of her girls that she just doesn't know how to tell them yet. Then you have Emerson dealing with a huge secret of her own that we are going to have to wait until the next book is out to see what happens with that, I so hope that it isn't a long wait for the 3rd book!! The entire book has this feeling of grief of what Sloane is going through until something happens to their grandmother that takes it up a notch. You are going to need to have tissues close by around the middle to the end of this book. With everything happening to this family, that ending was pretty bittersweet but at the same time, I need to know what happens next for this family. Will Ansley ever tell her secret and what is wrong with Emerson that is making her behave weirdly, I guess time will only tell but you can bet that I'm going to be reading that book as well!! Thank You to Kristy Woodson Harvey for writing a book that brings out the emotions in a person while keeping them invested in a fiction family that seems like home!! I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley!
The Secret to Southern Charm is a great beach read. This novel is the second in a series. The series is about three sisters and their mother. All the sisters return to their Mother’s home when they are all going through troubled times. Sloane is the middle sister. She is an Army wife who has just been told that her husband is MIA. She also lost her Father as a child in 9/11. This story is told from Sloane and her Mothers perspective. They have both are dealing with loss and secrets. They both are rediscovering themselves and their passions. I loved Slightly South of Simple the first of the series. I can’t wait for the baby sisters story next year.
My Review of “The Secret to Southern Charm” by Kristy Woodson Harvey Kudos to Author Kristy Woodson Harvey, author of “The Secret to Southern Charm”, the sequel to “Simply South of Simple” for writing such a captivating, heartwarming, emotional, intriguing and enjoyable novel. I spent the weekend having a Kristy Woodson Harvey Marathon,, because I wanted to read both books, and enjoyed them. I loved both books and do want “MORE” as soon as possible. I think this novel can be read as a stand alone, however, I enjoyed the colorful cast of characters and became involved in the family drama and dynamics. The genres for this novel are Fiction and Women’s Fiction. The timeline for the story is mostly in the present, but going to the past only when it pertains to the characters or events in the story. The story takes place mostly in the southern town of Peachtree Bluff. Kristy Woodson Harvey has written about several generations of mothers, daughters, and sisters, and now there is a new generation,as the grandmother comes back to the home. Ansley owns the house, her daughters, their children and her ailing mom. The author describes her characters as complex and complicated, perhaps due to the circumstances. The daughters,(sisters) each have their own problems, and there are some dark secrets that exist in the family setting, that could possibly change the course of events in the story. The theme in this story seems to deal with second chances. Do people deserve a second chance? Can things be forgiven? Do you move on, or work at it? I love the way the author discusses the importance of family, support, love, and hope. I would highly recommend this charming, delightful, and intense family drama for readers that enjoy Women’s Fiction. I received an ARC from NetGalley for my honest review.
irst off…I would read Slightly South of Simple first. It really gives you the true feel of the family dynamics and leads you right into this book. When this book started…let me say, I dang near cried in the first chapter. Sloane is a military wife and her husband is MIA. Sloane is completely devastated. She is unable to care for her children or even get out of bed. With the help of her family, Sloane is able to regain her footing and even chase a few dreams or two! I love all the characters in this book. There is such great chemistry! The sisters are like true sisters, you know, the kind with snide comments which actually ooze the love they have for each other. This book is the whole package as far as southern fiction goes. The characters, the setting, the amazing story is the perfect combination. It is a powerful tale about the strength of family. The way they have your back when you are at your worst. NOT TO BE MISSED! I received this novel from the author for a honest review.