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.
Sometimes you meet a book and it’s love at first site. That’s how it was between me and The Night the Lights Went Out by Karen White. It all started with the cover – let’s just take a minute and admire how gorgeous the cover is. Once I got past the cover, it only took me a few pages to know this was a book I would love.
It’s told from the perspective of two women, Merilee and Alice aka Sugar. Merilee is the mother of two; Lily who’s ten years old and Colin who’s eight. She is recently divorced and is moving to get a fresh start for her and her kids. Sugar, who is ninety-three, is spunky, feisty, independent, and has a big heart although she doesn’t want to admit it. The story alternates from current day, to the early 1900’s, to blog posts from an anonymous person trying to educate newcomers on the ways of the south.
I absolutely adored this book! It is a mix of romance, humor, friendship, and mystery. Merilee is renting a Craftsman cottage on Sugar’s property. Despite Sugar’s independence and stubbornness, she and Merilee are destined to form a special bond. The two women find out they have more in common than they could have ever imagined. They each have their secrets and despite a lifetime of trying to keep them quiet, they find themselves opening up to each other.
Sugar is an amazing character. She’s funny without trying to be and is crusty in her delivery, but has a heart of gold. There were so many Sugar quotes that I would love to add here, but I am only going to include one that I feel captures her spirit.
Sugar says, “Don’t go digging where you’re not wanted. Most people have secrets. And most of them should be allowed to stay hidden. No good has ever come from poking a stick down a hole. Sometimes you get a garter snake, but sometimes you get a rattler.”
I cannot say enough good things about this book! Dare I say… so far this is my favorite book of 2017.
Thank you NetGalley, Berkley, and Karen White for an opportunity to read and review this book for my honest opinion.
Do you have a favorite Karen White book? I’d love your recommendations.
My Rating: 5/5
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Mystery
Publication Date: 4/11/2017
Pages: 418 (eBook)