The Southern Side of Paradise

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 07 May 2019

Member Reviews

I received an ARC of this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Cure, predictable novel about a southern woman and her three adult daughters.   Issues ensue and are resolved.
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Title:  The Southern Side of Paradise
Author:  Kristy Woodson Harvey
Genre:  Southern fiction
Rating:  2 out of 5

Ansley Murphy has everything she’s ever wanted…finally. The man she’s always loved is back in her life. Her three daughters are in town and happy. Her business is taking off. Ansley can’t help but feel like the other shoe is about to drop.

Her youngest daughter, Emerson, and actress and recently engaged, just landed a dream role and got engaged, but her health is worrying her, and she feels like she’s missing something when she should be focused on planning her wedding. When secrets that were never meant to be told come out, the sisters’ bond with their mother turns fragile, as all stand on the brink of life-changing decisions.

I’m just going to be up-front:  I could not stand these characters, and that made me dislike this book intensely. This is clearly my own issue. The writing is great, and the small southern town setting is very well done. But…seriously? Ansley spends half her time justifying the fact that she cheated on her husband for years…so they could have children. She knew it was wrong, but she makes excuses to herself anyway. Emerson is whiny and childish, prone to throwing a fit if she doesn’t get her way, and she’s so self-absorbed she can’t even see the person standing right next to her. She’s also pretty heartless, and her morals are highly questionable (Wonder where she learned that from?) Sister Caroline is a controlling witch, who also makes excuses for her bad behavior (Yes, her husband cheated on her very publicly, which was terrible, but that doesn’t mean you get to treat everyone around you badly). Sloane wasn’t enough of a presence for me to actually care about her, but she was the only one who was likable. I’d read this author again, but not these characters.

Kristy Woodson Harvey is a bestselling author. The Southern Side of Paradise is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Gallery Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)
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I anxiously awaited the third and final book in the Peachtree Bluff series by Kristy Woodson Harvey and was definitely not disappointed when I finally carved out time to read my ARC. I had it in my stash for awhile but wanted to devote my full attention to it when I read it so it took me awhile to actually get it to my read pile but once I did - I. Could. Not. Put. It. Down.

True to form, Kristy Woodson Harvey remains my all time favorite female Southern writer with this series. The final in the series, The Southern Side of Paradise, has to be my favorite and while it is the third in the successful series it can also be read as a stand alone as there is just enough detail given to give readers the background of this complicated and lovable family. 

This book is written from the viewpoint of daughter Emerson and mother Ansley primarily and is the perfect culmination of the series. I fell in love even more with Jack and of course the entire Murphy family has my heart. Drama, secrets, lies and a bit of angst surround each character but in the end the series ties it all up in a nice little package that every reader will absolutely love. 

Author Kristy Woodson Harvey writes with wit and skill - crafting a story that pulls the reader into the lives of each character and makes me feel like one of the family. Definitely a book that will stay on my bookshelf and be read again because it is just that good. Thanks to Kristy for another fabulous Southern read that made me happy to be in the South. I loved it. I was given an ARC for review purposes and thrilled to share my 5 star review with the world
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This was my first time meeting the Murphy girls of Peachtree Bluff and it did not disappoint! The novel focuses on the youngest Murphy girl, Emmerson as well as the mother Ansley as they both navigate the waters of their future and their love life. This book was definitely a page turner for me even though I had not read the previous two (which I can't wait to get my hands on).  The author incorporated family struggles, personal battles, and humor with just the right amount of depth.  I found the characters to be enjoyable and relatable.  I am a Kristy Harvey fan for sure now! 


Thank you to Gallery for the advanced reader copy via netgalley.
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The Southern Side of Paradise is the third book in the Peachtree Bluff Series. I loved returning to the coastal  town of Peachtree Bluff.  The Murphy sisters, Caroline, Sloane, and Emerson, along with their devoted mother Ansley, feel like family.   The characters of Peachtree Bluff are wonderfully written.  There are secrets revealed, decisions made, and through all the ups and downs, the Murphy family sticks together.  I am hoping this is not the final book with these characters.   Kristy Woodson Harvey has become one of the best Southern Fiction writers and I look forward to her next book.  Hopefully,  the Murphy family will make an appearance.  Thank you to Kristy, NetGalley, and Gallery Books for an ARC and this is my honest review.
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I discovered Kristy Woodson Harvey by chance…..or maybe she discovered me by chance—and I am so glad that we connected. When she approached me to review one of her books a three years ago, I was skeptical but yet oddly intrigued.

At that time I was just getting into women’s fiction and hadn’t really read a lot of ‘beach reads’ thinking that maybe it wasn’t my genre—at least not yet. But then here came this sweet blonde southern belle who wanted me to read one of her books and I was like well, why not?

What I discovered in the pages of the first book I read by her, Lies and Other Acts of Love, was so beautiful and well written that I knew I had found a new favorite author! Since then I have read all of her books except one, her first—Dear Carolina.

Her Peachtree Bluff series is probably her most well known and loved, and this book is the last installment, but hopefully not the last book that she writes!

Summary

With the man of her dreams back in her life and all three of her daughters happy, Ansley Murphy should be content. But she can’t help but feel like it’s all a little too good to be true.

Meanwhile, youngest daughter and actress Emerson, who is recently engaged and has just landed the role of a lifetime, seemingly has the world by the tail. Only, something she can’t quite put her finger on is worrying her—and it has nothing to do with her recent health scare.

When two new women arrive in Peachtree Bluff—one who has the potential to wreck Ansley’s happiness and one who could tear Emerson’s world apart—everything is put in perspective. And after secrets that were never meant to be told come to light, the powerful bond between the Murphy sisters and their mother comes crumbling down, testing their devotion to each other and forcing them to evaluate the meaning of family (summary from Goodreads)

Review

OK so I have to just get this out right away. This cover makes me so happy. Every time I see it, it looks like summer but it also reminds me of a big bright pink donut and I’m instantly hungry. I love this cover so much and it’s my favorite cover in the series!

Now that that’s settled, the book itself came in strong! I took this book out on my back porch in a warm spring day and relaxing in the sun enjoying every minute of it. I could easily have read it in one sitting, but with a toddler sometimes thats a challenge! While Slightly South of Simple will always be my favorite in the series, this book came in as a solid second. In my opinion each book in this series can stand alone, but I also think reading it from the beginning would be so much more satisfying but, feel free to pick up wherever, but once you discover the series you won’t want it to end!

With Mother’s Day just around the corner this mother/daughter storyline would be a perfect gift for the mom in your life! I loved watching how the dynamic between Ansley and her daughter Emerson grew and evolved–not to mention Ansley’s other 2 daughters. Some of the major themes in this book are forgiveness and honesty and I loved seeing that play out in Ansley’s relationships with her daughters. With this book being Emerson’s story I was so sad that this meant the end of the Peachtree Bluff girls but so happy to be reading more about Emerson.

The women in this book are so real, strong, honest, and relatable. While I might not be in the same boat as Ansley or her daughters, I can relate to all her struggles and fears. She nailed the complexity of the relationships for sure!  I especially loved how none of the choices that the characters faced were ‘easily solved’. It made the story and characters feel so much more authentic and real.

Woodson Harvey’s love for the South has so evident in page of her writing. Peachtree Bluff might be a fictional town but I can see it so vividly. Her prose is elegant and refreshing as a cool summer breeze and I adore seeing her characters, charming town, and novel themes come to life under her care.

Many have hailed her as a rising star, not just in Southern lit, but in women’s fiction all together and I wholeheartedly agree! I can’t wait to see what book she cooks up next, but more importantly, I hope we actually get to meet in person one day. I hope her book tours eventually bring her to Portland because I would gladly make the drive to meet her! And one of these days I hope to read Dear Caroline so I can finally officially say I have read all her books!

And finally to Kristy, thank you so much for including me in your acknowledgments, it’s truly a blessing to read well written novels like yours!

If you haven’t read the Peachtree Bluff series, stop what you are doing right now and go read it! And if you need a last minute gift for your mom for Mothers Day, this is it right here!
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I read the first two books in The Peachtree Bluff series back to back and then I had to wait for the final book. It seemed like a long wait but oh so worth it! Reading The Southern Side of Paradise was like catching up with old friends and picking up where you last left off. Kristy Woodson Harvey is my number one for southern fiction! This is listed as the final book in the series but I'm hoping for more of Ansley, Caroline, Sloane and Emerson's story!
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The Southern Side of Paradise is the third and final book in the Peachtree Bluff trilogy by Kristy Woodson  Harvey. I’m really quite amazed that this is her debut series. It’s well-written, descriptive, moving, and filled with warm, realistic, flawed, but inspiring characters with a focus on family. These stories depict a familial bond that is often stronger than anything else, because these are the people who stick with you through thick and thin, regardless of what life may throw your way. 

This particular story was a lovely culmination to the series, though I will admit, that it wasn’t a plot-aggressive novel. Things happened, and they were significant, if not surprising. But overall, it was more focused on the characters and their feelings, reflections, looking back and peering forward, than action and eventful plot points. It did border on repetitive at times and was slower than the previous two, but still a very touching and sentimental story.

This trilogy is truly a charming, cozy series about family; the challenges, the heartaches, the bonds, and the strength we derive from those who drive us batty, but also see us through and make life meaningful. It’s tender, emotional, and always a good laugh leaving the reader with a lingering smile.

Thank you to NetGalley for the free review copy in exchange for an honest review.
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I love good Southern Fiction and this book is just that and more.  The third in the Peachtree Bluff series is a perfect wrap up this wonderful series.   Readers will miss the Murphy women and the men in their lives in this dazzling novel. Secrets that threaten the tight-knit bond a trio of sisters and their mother in this small coastal town of relatable characters and family emotions.  This is a series that you'll want to own and hope that maybe in the future we might say hello once again.  Kristy Woodsen Harvey will take you to this magical little town and immerse you in the Murphy family and you'll love every minute of it.  I look forward to more from this "go to" author.  Fabulous!

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my early reader copy.
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This is actually my first read by Kristy Woodson Harvey and I wasn’t disappointed! This is a series and this book is the last of this series. I am definitely going back to read the others! This story brings the three daughters in The Murphy family together even though they have disagreements they learn that family is what matters most! Being from the South and a big family I loved the Southern atmosphere and can easily relate to these characters!
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For the last installment of the Peachtree Bluff this helped bring closure to a lot of aspects of the previous books.  I have to say that I felt like the first book in the series was the best.  The sequels were not as entertaining and the emotions felt a little forced.  I don't want any spoilers so I won't go into detail, but the biggest aspect of the book that comes to a head in the third of the series really did not settle well with me.

The Murphy women are an amazing group of ladies and they face their trials and hardships with grit and determination.  And, like most families, they don't always like each other. But when it comes down to it, they bond together and triumph over every tribulation with love and amazing strength.

Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery Books for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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Return to Peachtree Bluff for the third and final book in the series by Kristy Woodson Harvey.  The Murphy sisters have all had their challenges, and now it’s Emerson’s turn. The youngest sister and an up and coming actress, Emerson has spent her summer in Peachtree Bluff, rekindling her romance with her high school boyfriend and has some tough decisions to make when it comes to her future. 
Re-visiting these characters was an absolute delight. Woodson has created a strong family of women with such a wonderful and believable family dynamic.  No matter what, they are there for each other.  These are women I would love to be friends with and have in my corner. Their struggles made me cry, their jokes and laughter had me laughing out loud.  There was so much to keep me turning the pages, I couldn’t help flying through the book, and was sad when I reached “The End.” 
I joined the series in the second book, and absolutely love it (Book 1 is on my kindle, I can’t wait to have a free day or two to savor it!). If you didn’t realize this is part of a trilogy, you won’t be lost, but it will have you ready to read the first two. 
This was both the perfect Southern read and one that should make the top of anyone’s summer reading list. Grab your favorite summer drink and a comfy spot and get ready to be entertained!
#tallpoppywriters #bloomreads #tallpoppyreviewer
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The final installment of The Southern Side of Paradise was delightful.  As much as I will miss the Murphy sisters I am so glad I went on this journey.  This is a series that needs to be read in order.  It is an absolute pleasure.  The family that Kristy has created is heartwarming and fun.  Perfect summer read!!!
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Emerson has just landed her dream role as an actress. Not only that…she is engaged! But, somethings are just not right. Her health is not where it needs to be. She is tired and rundown. Plus, her Fiancé, Mark, wants her to give up her career and stay in Peachtree Bluff. She loves Peachtree Bluff, but she has worked so hard to get where she is in her acting and she is not ready to let that go.

I just adore this family. It is not your usual family. The Murphy girls are funny, strong, and definitely have each other’s backs. And when the secret (of course there is a secret!) comes out they must lean on each other to help forgive.

This is a story full of strength, love and family. It is about overcoming obstacles and accepting people for who they are and understanding their decisions and the circumstances under which those decisions were made. This is a fabulous, southern beach read. This whole series is fabulous. Grab this book, your beach hat…and enjoy!

I received this novel from the author for a honest review.
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It’s not often I feel…content after the end of a series. More often than not, I am left wanting more, finding loose ends, not liking what the author decided to do, you name it. The Southern Side of Paradise didn’t make me endure any of that. The end of this era was delightfully satisfying, as I imagine a Starlite Starlet would be (you’ll get it when you read it). 

I have been with Kristy Woodson Harvey’s series from the beginning. I’ve adored Ansley and her daughters from the very start. First with Caroline, then Sloan, all while following Ansley’s own life along the way. With Paradise, it’s youngest daughter Emerson’s turn. She has tough decisions to make, life lessons to learn, and with a close family like that, you know each sister will say her piece. 

The Southern Side of Paradise was the perfect close to the Peachtree Bluff series. I felt everyone ended up where they should be, even with a few surprises along the way. If you haven’t already, pick up Slightly South of Simple and The Secret to Southern Charm and dig in so you’re ready for Paradise. 

I received an advanced copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
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This book is the last of a three-part series, covering the story of three sisters and their mother in smalltown Georgia. Emerson, the youngest sister, is the focus of this book, as she decides whether to settle down with the family and her high school boyfriend in Georgia or fulfill her dreams as an actress in Los Angeles. I found Emerson perhaps the most likeable of the three sisters, and also love the passion brought to Ansley’s storyline, as most romances in this genre focus on younger women. 

This series is a little hokey, a little predictable, but In the subgenre of Southern chick lit, Woodson Harvey holds her own. Some better editing and fewer cliches would help put this book in the 5-star range, but it’s a solid 4, as is. I liked this book enough to finish the series and look forward to her next book, and will miss this set of characters. 

I received an advance copy from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.
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While this book was wonderfully written and well plotted I just didn’t love it like I was hoping. I enjoyed the story and I found the plot to be interesting but I didn’t connect with any of the characters. I found Emerson to be whiney and a bit ridiculous at points. The setting of the book is beautiful though and the overall southern charm vibe is really fun. I think a lot of people will enjoy this book, but it just wasn’t a good fit for me.
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The final chapter to the Peachtree Bluff series and it is amazing.   The Murphy family is wonderful.   With each book we meet, learn, and fall in love with them.    This book is all about Emerson who is an actress but has come home to marry her high school sweetheart.   Emerson is looking for happiness and really loves James but something is still missing.  She must take hard looks at her life, take steps back to see where she left her heart, and take a big jump forward to find her future.   There are lessons to be learned not only by Emerson but by her family and friends also.     They are hard lessons but with the support of her mother and sisters, she can accomplish anything.

The Southern Side of Paradise pulls together all three daughters and their mother in a way that families often are.   There are secrets that weren’t meant to be shared, love that shines through everything, and proof that with family anything can be fixed.   I love how these 4 can fight, argue, and get mad at each other all while standing up for each other, supporting, and loving each other.    They share their feelings, fight for what they each think is right but still come together as a family unit. 

Kristy Woodson Harvey is one of the best at Southern Fiction.    She brings to life the beautiful southern settings, lets the readers taste the wonderful southern food but most of all show the southern way of being a family and community.
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The Southern Side Of Paradise is the third and final installment in the Peachtree Bluff series, which follows the lives of mom, Ansley Murphy and her three daughters, Caroline, Sloan, and Emerson through a tumultuous year of their lives. This installment focus on Emerson, the youngest daughter, an actress from LA who is dating her high school sweetheart, Mark, once again since she returned to Peachtree Bluff to film her latest movie. As the movie has wrapped and she is contemplating her move back to LA, Mark proposes. Mark and Emerson have different outlooks for the future, but their love is strong. Can they compromise and make a long distance marriage work? Emerson’s mom is also reuniting with her high school sweetheart, Jack, the man she can’t forget or get out of her system. Through feelings of guilt that her daughter needs her more now, can Ansley give in and take time for herself to get reacquainted with Jack?

I read the entire series at once and this is probably my favorite one. I love the descriptions of Peachtree Bluff and the beautiful beaches and sparkling water. I love the small town quirky characters that appear in all the books. I’m jealous of the bond this family has and I just want to sit on the front porch with all of the Murphy’s with a glass of wine and watch that pink-orange stunning sunset!

These are the perfect beach reads for the summer. Pick them up now and enjoy!
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Kristy dazzles and exceeds all expectations with my favorite book in the series!  

A favorite Southern author, Kristy Woodson Harvey delivers a bittersweet heartwarming conclusion to her popular Peachtree Bluff trilogy with THE SOUTHERN SIDE OF PARADISE. (what a knock out cover). Fans will be excited for this final book in the series, yet will miss all the fabulous characters (male and female). 

My "favorite book" of the series with some shockers you do not see coming! An avid Jack fan and delighted for a happy ending! Top Books of 2019. Five stars +  

Things get heated as secrets from the past come to the surface with this lovable cast of characters: Mother Ansley and daughters Caroline, Sloane, and Emerson. 

Emerson takes center stage as she faces whether to marry her childhood sweetheart and be pulled back to Peachtree Bluff, choose her career, or possibly another love interest. Being true to one's self is an ongoing theme. 

While there are two weddings to plan, some unexpected characters from the past surface, causing further complications. 

Will Jack and Ansley finally get their second chance and happily ever after, and will all the girls understand the choices made out of love? 

Set in the charming historic Southern town, Kristy Woodson Harvey delivers top-notch storytelling, with fully developed characters for a multi-generational and inspiring story of love, hope, family, and forgiveness. 

I am a huge Ansley/Jack fan and could not imagine how this would wind up. Kristy once again exceeded all expectations! Some Ah....moments. 

Kristy's Ansley reminds me of Wendy Wax's (Ten Beach Road) character: Madeline Singer. Both are mothers and grandmothers. Both have put their family first throughout their lives. However, however, now late in life, they are finally getting their second chance for happiness with the men they love. Since I am in this age group, I adore these two authors, series, and characters!

I have read all of Kristy's books since her first, and knew then she would be a star! As I have mentioned in the past, "think". . . Emily Giffin, Dorothea Benton Frank, Mary Kay Andrews, Mary Alice Monroe, Wendy Wax, Karen White, and Patti Callahan Henry— combined with Kristy's own unique, charming signature style. 

With her winning savvy style, her passion, and love of family, community, and the South —resonate throughout each page. What a perfect beach read and furthermore a "must-read" summer series. Do not leave for vacation without it. 

Stay Tuned for More: April 22-May 7: A book giveaway contest. A complete three book paperback set of Peachtree Bluff Series. (more details to follow).

Very excited to announce the upcoming Q&A Elevator Ride Interview with Author Kristy Woodson Harvey, coming May 8! Lots of fun facts from this extraordinary author. 

I highly recommend each of her books. One of the top Southern Contemporary authors out today! 

PS, Thank you, Kristy, for including me in your acknowledgments. Honored, flattered, and humbled. As always, a delight to receive an early reading copy thanks to Gallery Books, Kristy, and NetGalley.

JDCMustReadBooks
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