Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Review: The Secret to Southern Charm

The Secret to Southern Charm (Peachtree Bluff - Book 2) by Kristy Woodson Harvey

Publication Date: 04/03/2018
Publisher: Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books
Imprint: Gallery Books
Genre: Women's Fiction
Pages: 400

(Received for an honest review from Gallery Books via Netgalley)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, itunes

Kristy Woodson Harvey on the WEB: Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads

Books in the series:

1. Slightly South of Simple
2. The Secret to Southern Charm

Coverart: Click the image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.

Excerpt from The Secret to Southern Charm, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature


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).


Kristy Woodson Harvey takes readers back to Peachtree Bluff, Georgia. A quaint coastal town with a family of sisters that will captivate the readers attention. The Secret to Southern Charm is the second book in Harvey's Peachtree Bluff series. You'll laugh out loud, definitely cry a little and come away feeling very satisfied with this great women's fiction tale of second chances and secrets. If you are looking for that perfect beach read, this might be it. 

What I liked:

As many of you know, I live in the South. So when it comes to reading books that are touted as 'southern fiction' I have some pretty high expectations. I'm always interested to see an author's take on the south and whether they get it right or not. Kristy Woodson Harvey, certainly knows what's it like to live in our little corner of the world. I love the fact that her stories, reflect southern hospitality and small town charm. Her characters are realistic and relatable. I think this one certainly lives up to the hype.

This series is about a woman and her three daughters, living in the south and how they cope with everyday life, the good times and the bad. Those little secrets people like to keep buried in the closet and how family means just about everything. I used to be one of those readers that just wasn't interested in women's fiction. It just didn't seem like it was for me. I was more into the romance angle of things than the stories that were more focused on other things. But books like this one have changed my mind. There is romance, but there is also a deeper layer of emotion that is expressed in this type of writing. Harvey is one of those writers that makes you think about things and I've decided I like that.

I loved Caroline's story in the first book, Slightly South of Simple and now we get to read Sloane's story in The Secret to Southern Charm. This young military wife is in for quite an ordeal when she learns her husband is missing in action. The love and support of her family is the only thing that will get her through. Harvey does such a wonderful job of giving readers characters that are facing some of the same things they may have on their own plates. I loved that fact that this book and series is also multi-generational. You have the daughters, the mom and now the grandmother in this story. It reminded me a lot of my own family and our close knit relationship. The bonds that Harvey creates here are simply magical. 

It's not just about the sister's though. Mom, Ainsley has a lot of issues going on in her own life. And I loved that her story was also a focal point. Sloane was certainly the primary character, but Ainsley's story is also very important to the overall arc of the series. She has some secrets in her closet that could completely change the dynamic of this family and I like that Harvey was able to develop that angle of the story along with the main focus. Ainsley needs to just go for it Jack (the neighbor) lol...

What I didn't like:

There wasn't too much I didn't like with this one. The pacing was good. The charm and the wit Harvey uses within the story was perfect. Her characters were spot on. She did her homework and it helps that shes a North Carolina girl. This a book that can be read as a standalone but I can guarantee most readers will go back and pick up the first one. And they won't be disappointed with it either. 

Bottom Line:

Kristy Woodson Harvey gets an A+ in southern fiction and in women's fiction. I'm really starting to get into these kinds of novels. When you have an author that really seems to take the time to make her writing authentic and approachable, it's hard not to get on board. I look forward to seeing where Kristy Woodson Harvey goes with the next book in this series and with her career as an author. Definitely, one to keep your eye one. 

The Secret to Southern Charm is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one a well deserved 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag. 

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 Slightly South of SimpleDear Carolina, and Lies and Other Acts of Love, Kristy is also the founder of the popular interior design blog Design Chic.


Kristy Woodson Harvey said...

Thank you so much for reading and reviewing The Secret To Southern Charm!

justpeachy36 said...

Your welcome, Kristy. It was my pleasure.