Published April 11, 2017
Recently divorced, Merilee Talbot Dunlap moves with her two children to the Atlanta suburb of Sweet Apple, Georgia. It's not her first time starting over, but her efforts at a new beginning aren't helped by an anonymous local blog that dishes about the scandalous events that caused her marriage to fail.Wow, there was a lot going on in this book! First off, I love this cover - I love the retro look (even though the story is contemporary) and it represents the book really well. This book packs so much into its 400 pages:
Merilee finds some measure of peace in the cottage she is renting from town matriarch Sugar Prescott. Though stubborn and irascible, Sugar sees something of herself in Merilee--something that allows her to open up about her own colorful past.
Sugar's stories give Merilee a different perspective on the town and its wealthy school moms in their tennis whites and shiny SUVs, and even on her new friendship with Heather Blackford. Merilee is charmed by the glamorous young mother's seemingly perfect life and finds herself drawn into Heather's world.
In a town like Sweet Apple, where sins and secrets are as likely to be found behind the walls of gated mansions as in the dark woods surrounding Merilee's house, appearance is everything. But just how dangerous that deception can be will shock all three women.... - from Goodreads
- A newly divorced woman trying to rebuild a life for herself and her children
- An elderly woman's icy demeanor thawing when she finds a kindred spirit
- An anonymous blogger who knows all the gossip about everyone in town
- Mommy wars/Desperate Housewives vibe - who's the richest, the most glamorous, and volunteers the most at the school
- Not one but two murder mysteries
Another issue I had was with the dialogue. One of my biggest pet peeves is when dialogue doesn't sound true to life, and in this case, the dialogue was often stilted and too descriptive; there was too much telling and not enough showing.
However, there was a lot to like in this book. The writing flowed nicely. The Southern vibe came through very strong; I got a really good sense of the Georgia setting, through the language used (I'm totally going to start using "bless your heart"), the multiple references to sweet tea, and the nuances of Southern life. I've always wanted to visit this area of the country, and I felt very immersed in the culture through this book. And lastly, the soap opera-like story is perfect for a light summertime read.