Southern Solstice by Sarah Sadler

Ya’ll, this book is so much fun. I’ve been reading a lot of depressing novels lately (Hausfrau, My Sunshine Away, All the Light We Cannot See), and it was a breath of fresh (and much needed) air to pick up this witty and lovable book.

“As rich and distinctive as the Lowcounty itself, Southern Solstice presents a clever and charismatic journey of love, heartache, adaptation and emotional fortitude as told through a patina of family heritage. When twenty-four-year-old Larken Devereaux is left brokenhearted by her fiancé on the West Coast, she reluctantly returns to her charmed aristocratic roots in Charleston, South Carolina to rebuild her life and gain self-determination in a prominent southern family that offers everything and requires nothing.”

Sadler’s debut novel is a fast-paced book filled with captivating characters, beautiful writing and a plot that will keep you at the edge of your seat. You can practically feel the warm costal breeze on your cheeks and the moonshine on your lips.

“Charleston was in full blossom now. The first of many annual festivals celebrating blooming flowers were underway, and brightly colored window boxes draped wave petunias and lobelia down house fronts. A blanket of warm, salt water and gardenias perfumed the streets, intensifying with the unpredictable coastal breeze.”

Playful, sassy and endearing, this book encompasses love, family and what it means to be a strong Southern woman. If you are looking for a wonderfully light-hearted read for the end of your summer, look no further than this jewel. 

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Weekend Reads: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

“In love we find out who we want to be. In war we find out who we are.”

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A beautifully written novel, The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, captures an element of World War II that we do not often see — women in war. We travel across France between two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, as they struggle to live in a war-torn France. The sisters have stark-different world views and circumstances as they fight survive, but each women’s journey shows readers there is more than one way to be a hero.

The historical background in this novel is impressive. Hannah’s research was able to capture the reality of war, while bringing alive fascinating and complex fictional characters. Her writing is captivating and has you hooked from the first page and weeks after the last.

This historical fiction novel is wonderful and heart-wrenching. I loved every second of it. It’s an interesting portrayal into the complexities of women; what women will do for the ones they love; and what they’re willing to do for what is right.

“Men tell stories. Women get on with it. For us it was a shadow war. There were no parades for us when it was over, no medals or mentions in history books. We did what we had to during the war, and when it was over, we picked up the pieces and started our lives over.”

For more reviews on The Nightingale, visit here, and here.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful and restful weekend! Have you been reading anything good?

Weekend Reads: A Small Indiscretion by Jan Ellison

Goodreads.com

Photo courtesy of Goodreads.com

Ellison’s debut novel A Small Indiscretion is a fascinating story that showcases how a decision made in adolescence can affect you in the future. I found this to be an interesting concept, which is why I picked up a copy of this novel and read it in a matter of days. A letter written by a mother to her son, the story shifts back and forth over the course of 20 years. It’s an emotional confession filled with truth, love, obsession and forgiveness.

While I appreciated the creativity of this narrative, first-person POV can fall flat as it often did in this novel. The characters are one-dimensional with the exception of Annie, our main character. This is a con when using first-person narrative, but I applaud Ellison for taking on the challenge. Annie’s letter to her son would not have worked as seamlessly in third-person narrative, and readers would not be able to connect with Annie (even she’s the only character we connect with) on a more intimate level.

But really, the timeline was the hardest aspect to dissect. Figuring out the timeline became a primary concern in the beginning of the novel. Once familiarized with the chronology, it became an easy and enjoyable read, but not without some initial confusion.

The book’s most rewarding quality is its beautiful prose. Ellison’s a great storyteller and the novel is filled with highlight-able tidbits and detail:

“I suppose unrequited love is the hardest kind to shed because it is not really love at all. It is a half-love, and we are forever stomping around trying to get hold of the other half.”

Overall, A Small Indiscretion is a fascinating novel and recommended for readers who enjoy exploring marriage, family and love. Even though it’s a little discombobulating at first, Ellison offers insight on how a “small” indiscretion can eventually boil to the surface after buried deep within for many years.