I admit it. I started Slightly South of Simple before starting a Reading Challenge in January. The theme for January was a book related to your New Years resolution. Since I don’t do resolutions, I decided finishing a book that was in my Kindle queue or on my bedside table, was close enough to a resolution.
First up was Kristy Woodson Harvey’s first book in the The Peachtree Bluff Series. I started this book during a very chaotic time last summer, as my foster son was preparing to be moved. As much as I love reading, you would have thought it would have been a little self-care. But I couldn’t bring myself to do much of anything but watch comedy specials on Netflix.
As a result, the book sat on my Kindle without being read. I read the author’s first book Dear Carolina, and loved it – especially the ways in which it incorporated Eastern NC – this place I’ve called home for so long. So I knew Slightly South of Simple had to be the first book I read for the challenge.
What did I think of it? I loved the book. But as I’m not a book reviewer, I don’t intend to dive terribly deep into the plot. What I will say is that I find her writing to be honest, heartfelt, and funny. While the book is technically not set in North Carolina, the town Peachtree Bluff is said to be modeled after Beaufort, NC. If you’ve been around a while, or read my book, you know how much I love that quirky, beautiful town.
I think Harvey writes relationships genuinely. She approaches complexities in those relationships in a way that I appreciate as a writer and reader. There were a couple of things I didn’t care for so much in this book. One of which was an obsession that a couple of characters appeared to have with body image/size.
While it rings very true that this might be something women in certain spheres are focused on, it did frustrate me as it didn’t really seem necessary to the plot itself. Who knows? Maybe I’ll come to understand that particular issue better, in the next two novels? That said, it didn’t alter my overall view of Harvey’s writing.
If you’re wondering what my February book is, it’s My Twenty-Five Years in Provence, by Peter Mayle. Mayle was a wonderful writer. He wrote joyfully about his life in France (and about food & wine – my favs). You may have seen a movie made about one of his novels – A Good Year? Mayle passed away recently. I think this is the perfect book for this month’s theme.
Here are the other books in this challenge:
January: Book Related to Your New Year’s Resolution
February: Biography or Memoir
March: Book in a Series
April: Try an Audio Book
May: Feels Like Falling! (Obviously… Then Join Us May 15 for a FB Live Discussion)
June: Classic Beach Book
July: Thriller So Scary You Have to Read on the Beach in Daylight
August: Historical Fiction
September: Book That Has Been in Your TBR Pile Forever
October: New Release Impulse Buy
November: One of Your Family Member’s Favorite Books
December: Holiday-Themed Book
What have you read so far in 2020?