Molly Harper: Sweet Tea and Sympathy

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? 

Can you get any more southern than Sweet Tea and Sympathy? This title caught my eye because it reminded me of Amy E Reichert:  The Coincidence of Coconut Cake and The Simplicity of Cider, both of which are super fun contemporary romances. I hadn’t heard of Molly Harper before, but if the title was any indication, I was all in!

This is a bit of an “instruction manual for Yankees.” There’s a lot of explanations about what “Bless Your Heart” means, and how there’s fat in everything, even carrot sticks. I tried really hard not be insulted by the Southern perspective on what a Northerner would think moving to small town Georgia. Maybe because I grew up in a small town in the Midwest, but I rolled my eyes at a lot of it. Maaaaaaybe just a bit over the top.

That’s really my biggest complaint, though. The McCready’s are completely endearing and Harper totally nailed that small town feel. And can we talk about how smoking hot the “sad lumberjack” principal is? I’ll take a big bearded man over a clean shaven guy any day, and Kyle (maybe would have gone with a name other than Kyle for our lumberjack, however) is no exception.

I think you guys are going to like this one. Pull up your fried Hostess Cupcakes and peach flavored moonshine and get ready for some small town drama. We have a Founder’s Day Carnival to plan.

Gallery Books and NetGalley provided this ARC for an unbiased review. This post contains affiliate links.

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