Title: Sweet Tea and Sympathy by Molly Harper
Southern Eclectic Series Book One
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
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?
The first full length novel in the Southern Eclectic series, Sweet Tea and Sympathy by Molly Harper is an absolutely charming novel of new beginnings and coming to terms with the past.
Unable to find a job after her last event becomes famous for all the wrong reasons, Margot Cary very reluctantly accepts her Great-Aunt Tootie’s offer to work in the family business. Grudgingly relocating to Lake Sackett, GA, she is out of her comfort zone in too many ways to count. Margot is surprisingly enchanted by her extended family but unsurprisingly, her estranged father, Stan, continues to be a disappointment. She is intrigued by Kyle Archer and although their attraction is mutual, are either of them ready for a relationship at this point in their lives?
Margot is a bit of a snob when she first moves to Lake Sackett and despite how out of place her fancy clothes and shoes are in the rural community, she clings to her big city ways. She tries to keep her distance from her numerous family members, but they have a way of sneaking past her defenses. Charmed by their eccentricities and their big hearts, Margot cannot deny how much their easy acceptance of her means to her. However, Stan continues to keep his distance from her and she remains unforgiving when he blows his chance to start mending their strained relationship. Despite slowly coming to appreciate and enjoy her close-knit family, Margot is still planning to leave town at the first opportunity.
Margot is absolutely delighted to meet someone who can commiserate with her adjustment to life in small town America. As a transplant to Lake Sackett, Kyle has a pretty good idea just how much of a culture shock she is experiencing. Their friendship is definitely a bright spot in her (hopefully) temporary relocation but will their unexpected attraction have any impact on her plans for her future? Well, considering just how ill-prepared she feels when confronted with the depth of Kyle’s situation, Margot is not sure she is the right person for him.
Sweet Tea and Sympathy is a humorous and poignant novel that is fast-paced and engaging. Margot is initially a little off-putting but as she falls under the spell of her family, Kyle and Lake Sackett, she becomes much more sympathetic and likable. Despite a bit of a romantic element, Margot’s character growth is what drives the story and it is an absolute joy watching her connect with her relatives and sort through her tangled relationship with her father. A heartwarming first installment in Molly Harper’s Southern Eclectic series that readers of women’s fiction are going to LOVE.