A Southern Eclectic Novel
November 21, 2017
Beloved author Molly Harper launches a brand-new contemporary romance series, Southern Eclectic, with this story of a big-city party planner who finds true love in a small Georgia town.
Nestled on the shore of Lake Sackett, Georgia is the McCready Family Funeral Home and Bait Shop. (What, you have a problem with one-stop shopping?) Two McCready brothers started two separate businesses in the same building back in 1928, and now it’s become one big family affair. And true to form in small Southern towns, family business becomes everybody’s business.
Margot Cary has spent her life immersed in everything Lake Sackett is not. As an elite event planner, Margot’s rubbed elbows with the cream of Chicago society, and made elegance and glamour her business. She’s riding high until one event goes tragically, spectacularly wrong. Now she’s blackballed by the gala set and in dire need of a fresh start—and apparently the McCreadys are in need of an event planner with a tarnished reputation.
As Margot finds her footing in a town where everybody knows not only your name, but what you had for dinner last Saturday night and what you’ll wear to church on Sunday morning, she grudgingly has to admit that there are some things Lake Sackett does better than Chicago—including the dating prospects. Elementary school principal Kyle Archer is a fellow fish-out-of-water who volunteers to show Margot the picture-postcard side of Southern living. The two of them hit it off, but not everybody is happy to see an outsider snapping up one of the town’s most eligible gentleman. Will Margot reel in her handsome fish, or will she have to release her latest catch?
SASCHA DARLINGTON’S REVIEW
Back in October I reviewed Save a Truck, Ride a Redneck (great title, no?), you can see that review here, and immediately fell in love with the McCready family. They are a family of eccentrics–or is that normals?–each of whom touches you in a different way.
In Sweet Tea and Sympathy we’re introduced to Margot, the estranged daughter of former alcoholic Stan McCready, the family’s sad sack. The opening scene shows Margot, a Chicago party planner, trying to salvage a charity function after a faux Parisian chef decides to serve shrimp, although the hostess is deadly allergic to shellfish. There are flamingos diving for shrimp, parrots being upset, flames, and the end of Margot’s Chicago party planning career. And that’s just the beginning of this humorous women’s fiction novel by Molly Harper.
Aunt Tootie, a blue-eyed, silver-haired computer demon, invites Margot to come home, offering a job with all of the benefits just as Margot is about to be homeless. Given no other choice, Margot accepts. She is the proverbial fish-out-of-water, but because she’s stubborn, a trait given to her from her father, she survives and flourishes.
Once in Lake Sackett, Margot bumps into a towering, depressed-looking man, not once, but twice. The second time she ends up in his pick-up truck kissing the living daylights out of him, until a text reminds her that she had been in the bar with her cousins, and, well, oops, this isn’t good behavior.
That scene, with Margot and, who we eventually come to know is Kyle, a single dad whose wife died of cancer years earlier, is hot even though it never comes to fruition. Harper has a way of making a scene scorching even though it isn’t a full-fledged sex scene. That, my friends, is talent.
Margot learns a lot about herself, her dead mother, and her father as she navigates unfamiliar terrain. She becomes absorbed into the McCready family and realizes what she has been missing her entire life. Is this something she is willing to give up?
I loved this novel and had to stop myself several times, once at 2 am, and then again today so that I didn’t read it all in one go, because, for me, this is just the kind of novel that I want to devour and yet, also, never want to end. It’s snarky and sweet and filled with love for its characters and the town they live in. But, it doesn’t look through rose-colored glasses. People have fears and issues and feel ever-so-human and I think that’s what makes it work. You fall in love with these characters because they seem so real and accessible. They are funny and loyal and amazing.
If you are a fan of a feel good, funny, romantic novel, give this one a try. You don’t need to read Save a Truck, Ride a Redneck in order to enjoy Sweet Tea and Sympathy, but I suggest you give it a go anyway because it is also wonderful. This is more of a relationship novel than a romance, meaning that it encompasses all kinds of relationships, familial and romantic. I’m not sure I can recommend it enough.
I received an ARC, for which I’m very grateful, in exchange for an honest review.
5 out of 5 butterflies