From Goodreads: From the New York Times bestselling author of Flight Patternscomes a stunning new novel about a young single mother who discovers that the nature of friendship is never what it seems….
Recently divorced, Merilee Talbot Dunlap moves with her two children to the Atlanta suburb of Sweet Apple, Georgia. It s not her first time starting over, but her efforts at a new beginning aren’t helped by an anonymous local blog that dishes about the scandalous events that caused her marriage to fail. Merilee finds some measure of peace in the cottage she is renting from town matriarch Sugar Prescott. Though stubborn and irascible, Sugar sees something of herself in Merilee something that allows her to open up about her own colorful past. Sugar’s stories give Merilee a different perspective on the town and its wealthy school moms in their tennis whites and shiny SUVs, and even on her new friendship with Heather Blackford. Merilee is charmed by the glamorous young mother’s seemingly perfect life and finds herself drawn into Heather’s world. In a town like Sweet Apple, where sins and secrets are as likely to be found behind the walls of gated mansions as in the dark woods surrounding Merilee’s house, appearance is everything. But just how dangerous that deception can be will shock all three women….
With over 5,000 ratings and a 4 star average on Goodreads, I didn’t need an extra push to pick this novel up, but just in case, the cover is also what other book covers dream to be. I’m pretty ecstatic I got a physical copy to pretty up my shelf.
Karen White has written in her usual southern charm, making every northerner know what we have here in The South is a special thing. White creates a vivid picture of Sweet Apple, Georgia and what it’s like living in a big city suburb. I enjoyed the infusion of southern dishes and cuisine and the customary southern sayings that often don’t make sense to those who didn’t grow up below the Mason-Dixon.
The main character is Merilee, newly divorced and a mother of two, trying to shield her family from the scandalous details of her divorce. She is focused on providing a stable life for her children and rebuilding her spirit after her marriage failed. She has recently moved into a small cottage on the property of Sugar Prescott, a 95 year old Southern Lady. Sugar is old only in age; her fiest and snark are still very much in their prime and I loved her commentary. The author does an excellent job developing strong and independent characters, creating women that feel realistic and inspiring.
The writing effortlessly moves back and forth between Sugar and Merilee, at times exploring Sugar’s memories of the past that have shaped who she is today. I really enjoyed the peek into Sugar’s past (y’all know I love anything before 1960) and how she applies the lessons learned. The relationship that develops between Sugar and Merilee really warmed my heart. I enjoy when a book highlights female friendship and how important it is to have the support of strong women.
The combination of southern flair and “bless your hearts”, humor, tiny bit of romance, secret pasts and small town gossip perfect read that gives something for readers of all genres to appreciate. Along the way, White infuses some important life lessons, all done in a very realistic and relateable manner.
“That no matter how good or bad things were, they were never permanent.”
While there were parts that I found very predictable, (I figured out the “twist” at about 50%) the writing is still pristine and the story flows right along, making me continue to quickly turn the pages.
The Night The Lights Went Out is now available in paperback, get your copy here for the perfect summer read! We will be hosting a GIVEAWAY over on instagram, so be sure to follow us @shihtzus.and.book.reviews to enter!
From her website: After playing hooky one day in the seventh grade to read Gone With the Wind, Karen White knew she wanted to be a writer—or become Scarlett O’Hara. In spite of these aspirations, Karen pursued a degree in business and graduated cum laude with a BS in Management from Tulane University. Ten years later, after leaving the business world, she fulfilled her dream of becoming a writer and wrote her first book. In the Shadow of the Moon was published in August, 2000. Her books have since been nominated for numerous national contests including the SIBA (Southeastern Booksellers Alliance) Fiction Book of the Year, and has twice won the National Readers’ Choice Award.
Karen is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author and currently writes what she refers to as ‘grit lit’—Southern women’s fiction—and has also expanded her horizons into writing a mystery series set in Charleston, South Carolina. Her 23rd novel, THE NIGHT THE LIGHTS WENT OUT, was published April 11, 2017 by Berkley Publishing, a division of Penguin Random House Publishing Group, and debuted at #15 on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list.
Karen hails from a long line of Southerners but spent most of her growing up years in London, England and is a graduate of the American School in London. When not writing, she spends her time reading, scrapbooking, playing piano, and avoiding cooking. She currently lives near Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and two children, and two spoiled Havanese dogs.