Written By: Kristy Woodson Harvey
Published By: Gallery Books
Reviewed By: Regina Hutson

The Secret to Southern Charm is book two of the Peachtree Bluff series by Kristy Woodson Harvey. This story takes us on an emotional spin. All sisters have their own problems. Sloane, whose husband is missing in action, comes home to her mother’s home in Georgia to gain emotional and physical support from not only her mother, but her sisters as well. Caroline has her issues with her own family. Her husband cheated on her and it was advertised on television. She is at home with her mother also, staying in the guest house. The younger sister, Emerson, is a movie star, who doesn’t know if she will continue her career. With all of the issues that her children have going on in their own lives, Ansley, their mother, has her own problems; her aging mother is staying with her, and her first love is back in her life.

This book was mostly about Sloane and Ansley, with each chapter going from the past into the present. Sloane’s world changed overnight and I found her to have the faith that I’m not sure many of us could have by believing her husband was alive. Sloane was the first character that pulled at my heartstrings. I was rooting for her and praying that her husband was okay. Sloane also was able to deal with her emotions through her art, which she had put on the back burner after she started her family. She was able to find herself again and be the woman she used to be. Caroline and Emerson had small roles, but you really bond with them, also with Emerson’s health scare and Caroline deciding if she could ever trust her husband again.

Ansley’s story was very moving. She was taking care of her aging mother while she was keeping a secret about who was the father of Sloane and Caroline. She was dealing with her first love and didn’t want to keep him too close while she was taking care of everyone else. She was given a second chance at love with him and I was hoping she was going to grab it. Ansley reconnected with both of her brothers, one of whom she hadn’t spoken with in many years. With her mother dying, they took her by boat to her favorite spot. This had me in tears with them knowing this would probably be the last time.

I loved this book, and I didn’t want to put it down! This series is how being “Southern” is. It was very relatable on so many different levels. I did not want the story to end; they all became friends that I would want to visit and the town would be a place I would definitely visit. I can’t wait for the next one to come out, but in the meantime I will go back and read the first book in the series, Slightly South of Simple. Working in a public library, I have already recommended this book, especially to anyone who is looking for a great beach read.

Regina Hutson is a librarian at Central Mississippi Regional Library System.