The Southern Side of Paradise is the third book in the Peachtree Bluff Novel series about the audacious and lovable Murphy women. Each book in the series plunges the reader into a new sister's life while still bringing focus to their powerhouse of a mother, Ansley Murphy. And of course, it still brings about its beautiful Southern charm. You can practically taste the sweet tea and feel the warm air.
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.
With Kristy Woodson Harvey’s signature charm, wit, and heart, The Southern Side of Paradise is another masterful Peachtree Bluff novel that proves she is a “Southern writer with staying power.”
Emerson is a robust character. She knows what she wants and she goes for it, but there is a softness to her. Her childhood love matters and the last thing she wants to do is hurt him. I think that at times I wanted to shout at Emerson, "just make a choice already!" But then, I considered the reality of her situation and this is the beauty in Harvey's writing - the realistic nature of her characters. Because honestly, how many times have I hemmed and hawed over a decision, not knowing what to do despite the fact that I'm pretty decisive? Harvey creates real women in her writing, not cookie cutter women that fall into stereotypical patters. This is a unique approach in women's fiction - and I like it.
My only struggle in the end was Ansley - while I think she is an amazing mother, her decisions kind of plagued me a bit. Again, she was real and visceral in the hurt she felt and the choices she made; they were just hard for me to understand.
Overall, I think this a great third book in the series - is it the final book? I honestly don't know - I actually hope it's not (can't give away anything there...)!
A solid 🍷🍷🍷🍷 from me and I'm glad the Murphy women (and their men) came into my life!
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