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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Secret to Southern Charm

The Secret to Southern Charm

Peachtree Bluff Series #2

ISBN: 1501158104

Publisher: Gallery Books

Publication Date: 4/3/2018

Format: Paperback

My Rating: 5 Stars 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 is a charming and poignant story of first loves, missed opportunities, and second chances that proves why she is the next major voice in Southern fiction” (Elin Hilderbrand, New York Times bestselling author).

The Peachtree Bluff Series


My Review

Enter Here **Book Giveaway Contest ** Peachtree Bluff Three Book Series Set (paperback/US only) April 22-May 7, 2019. Winner announced May 8 along with my Q&A with Kristy Newsletter.

A favorite Southern author, Kristy Woodson Harvey returns following Slightly South of Simple, on my Top Books of 2017 the first in this “must read” Peachtree Bluff Series, with the second in the trilogy: THE SECRET TO SOUTHERN CHARM – a beautiful heartwarming Southern family drama. Top Books of 2018

I have been a huge fan of Kristy’s since her debut Dear Caroline and Lies and Other Acts of Love on my Top Books of 2016 and currently loving THE PEACHTREE BLUFF SERIES. Highly recommend.

The series is set in a small Southern town of Peachtree Bluff, Georgia —a historical coastal town based on the area where the author resides.

The First in the series: Slightly South of Simple we were introduced to the Murphy women. Ansley (runs a successful design business) the mother and her three daughters: Caroline, Sloane, and Emerson. The focus on Caroline, the eldest daughter.

The Second in the series: The Secret to Southern Charm is centered about the middle daughter, Sloane and her military husband, Adam. Sloan is the middle sister. Sloane receives the devastating news her military husband is missing in action in Iraq. She can barely function and the sisters (Caroline and Emerson) and mom support her to help take care of her children.

She is in a slump depressed and she also has secrets. They finally bring out her easel to try and convince her to get back into painting. In the midst of the troubles, the grandmother’s failing health, and intense feelings and issues of the family with the neighbor moving in next door to Ansley.

Yes, we get to hear more from Jack (the mysterious love interest of Ansley's) from years ago. Lots of fun secrets from the past!

I enjoyed how Kristy uses the letters between Adam and Sloane before he was MIA to showcase their relationship and their problems. These four women face many obstacles regarding the men in their lives, their careers and family – a perfect beach read!

If you have not already read an early reading copy of THE SOUTHERN SIDE OF PARADISE, (May 7, 2019) readers you are going to love this final conclusion, where we catch up with Emerson, the youngest daughter and see how Ansley and Jack’s relationship continues.

Check out my Q&A with Kristy, coming May 8, 2019, and learn more about the inspiration behind this entertaining series and the fun facts from the author.

As with all Kristy’s books, there is a strong sense of family, loyalty, and love —set in the South. She explores the powerful bonds between sisters, mothers, and daughters (also grandparents and grandchildren).

At the heart of her heartwarming stories, there are usually some complex emotions and dark family secrets of the past. I enjoy her multi-generational stories of strong women. (great titles, by the way) mixed with her charm and wit.

If you have not read this author, highly recommend! She dazzles and I adore everything she writes. Cannot wait to see what’s next. Being a Carolina (and Georgia) gal myself, these stories resonate and takes me back to my roots.

A special thank you to the author, Gallery Books and NetGalley for an advanced reading copy.



Peachtree Bluff Series

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

“The Secret to Southern Charm is a compelling, beautifully drawn tale of love, hope, and small town secrets. The richly detailed backdrop of a charming coastal town and the struggles and joys of four generations of women solidifies Kristy Woodson Harvey’s spot as a rising star of Southern fiction.”

—Mary Alice Monroe, New York Times bestselling author of Beach House for Rent.

"I had tears in my eyes by page five and was unabashedly sobbing by the end of the final few chapters, but it was the story in between--the laughter, the pain, the hope, the complicated questions about fate and family--that kept me reading this inspiring, sweeping novel long into the night. The characters will leap off the page and into your heart, and you'll find yourself rooting for them so fervently, you'll forget they're not actually real. Kristy Woodson Harvey has delivered another masterpiece with the second book in her beautifully Southern, evocative Peachtree Bluff series. Let's just say that this one had better have a sequel too, because I'm not ready to leave these charming ladies behind."

—Kristin Harmel, international bestselling author of The Sweetness of Forgetting and When We Meet Again

"An engrossing contemporary tale that readers of Southern fiction will enjoy...Harvey is proving herself to be an author to look out for in Southern fiction."

—RT Book Reviews

“Harvey’s growing fan base will find another great beach read in this second novel in her Peachtree Bluff trilogy… Harvey is an up-and-coming southern writer with staying power.” (Booklist)

"Harvey’s signature warmth is infused throughout every page of this moving, heartwarming book. She weaves together the stories of these strong women with humor and grace, all the while pulling readers ever deeper into a family and community that feels real enough to touch. Brimming with optimism in the face of life’s most difficult trials, The Secret to Southern Charm is a romantic, believable, and deeply satisfying reminder that sometimes second chances are the best of all."


"If you loved the first book you will love reading about what's next for the women." (Fresh Fiction)

"Harvey... infuses plenty of women power in this story of juggling the highs and lows of life.”

—Raleigh News & Observer


About the Author

Kristy Woodson Harvey is the national bestselling author of Dear Carolina (Berkley/Penguin Random House, 2015), Lies and Other Acts of Love (Berkley/Penguin Random House, 2016) and the Peachtree Bluff Series, beginning with Slightly South of Simple (Gallery/Simon & Schuster, 2017). Dear Carolina was long-listed for the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize, has been optioned for film and has appeared on numerous “must-read” lists. Lies and Other Acts of Love was a Romantic Times top pick, a Southern Booksellers Okra Pick and a finalist for the Southern Book Prize. Slightly South of Simple was a Southern Bestseller, a Barnes & Noble Bestseller, one of PopSugar’s picks for “Ultimate Summer Reading” and one of Glitter Guide’s “Must-Reads for April.”

She blogs with her mom, Beth Woodson, daily on Design Chic, the inaugural member of Traditional Home’s design blogger hall of fame, about how creating a beautiful home can be the catalyst for creating a beautiful life and loves connecting with readers at

Harvey is a Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s school of journalism and holds a master’s in English from East Carolina University, with a concentration in multicultural and transnational literature. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications and websites, including Southern Living, Traditional Home, Parade, USA Today, Domino, Houzz and Our State. She has been seen in Readers’ Digest, Women’s Health, The Washington Post, Dr. Oz The Good Life, The Huffington Post, USA Today’s Happy Every After, Marie Claire’s The Fix and North Carolina Bookwatch, among others.

She lives in North Carolina with her husband and five-year-old son where she is working on her next novel, The Secret to Southern Charm, book 2 in the Peachtree Bluff Series, which will be released Spring 2018. Read More


The Peachtree Bluff Series

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