First off I want to say thank you to Sarah for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, I really enjoyed it so I am so grateful to her! I want to give this book a solid 4 stars, but it would more accurately be about a 3.75 with the few things I wasn’t a fan of, but on Goodreads I rounded it to a 4 because I believe it deserves it. This sophomore book by Sarah Sadler set in Charleston, South Carolina following main character Kayla, was such a comfy lazy day read that made me feel like I was sitting in the South along the water right with the characters. I enjoyed this book immensely and when I wasn’t reading it I often found myself thinking of the characters and wanting to finish their story. I adored the foodie aspect of this book and I completely drooled over the delicious goodies being cooked up through out Kayla’s journey. There were a few negative aspects such as small plot lines I didn’t love, but overall I really enjoyed this light contemporary read and more than anything it made me want to move back South, oh how I am missing it!
In this engaging new novel from critically acclaimed author of southern literature Sarah Sadler, Southernmost delivers a charismatic account of one woman’s journey through the rigors of starting over in life and love. Set in the charming city of Charleston, South Carolina, Southernmost is a satisfying spin-off to Sadler’s debut novel Southern Solstice and firmly establishes the sophomore author with a stand-alone release that is sure to capture new and return readers alike.
Former Alabama beauty queen Kayla Carter is given an ultimatum by her wealthy ex-boyfriend Jackson Winslow – either move to his hometown of Charleston, South Carolina with their seven-year-old daughter or support herself on a waitress’s salary. She relocates only to discover Jackson’s life is suddenly in shambles, and he has become a broke, undependable and depressed alcoholic.
Kayla hesitantly establishes herself in Charleston’s bustling culinary scene and becomes involved in a delicious fling with a free-spirited and visceral photographer. While she navigates the turbulent waters of Jackson’s new emotional state and fights feelings for him that she’s suppressed for years, Kayla’s personal success is overshadowed by an unexpected complication.
With a secret from the past threatening the chance of restoring her family, Kayla forces herself to break Jackson’s heart – and her own – once and for all, or risk everything by facing the shameful truth that has kept them apart.
Each character in this book had their own unique traits and really added to the well being of the story. A few of my favorites were Lil, Martha, and Avery. Lil and Martha were just so accurate as to what I would expect of older southern women and Avery was such an adorable little girl, I loved everything about her. Kayla, the main character, was hard to connect with as I thought she was a little back and forth with her decisions, but I did admire her work ethic as a single mom in a new place and trying to find her own way. The scenery was also well done, I can picture Isle of Palms and the Battery as if I were just there. For those who have never been to Charleston, it would be easy to visualize with the way Sarah grasped it and put it into words. I genuinely felt as though I was back there and it was such a nice escape. There was also a tiny bit of relatable drama between fellow co-workers that made me intrigued through out the book and also laugh because who hasn’t had their fair share of issues with that one co-worker at some point in their working life?
As for the things I didn’t quite love about the book, the story was a bit slow, although I did kind of like that it wasn’t the standard whirlwind romance and it really just depicted the life of someone struggling and starting out all over and making life work. However, speaking of romance, I can’t say I felt attached to either love interest in the book and this goes back to Kayla being one of those characters that was just too back and forth at the drop of a hat. It seemed like her decisions or feelings didn’t flow with the timing of the book or what had been told to us as a reader. Lastly, I didn’t think the twist that came at the end about Kayla’s secret was really necessary to the overall story and it seemed a bit rushed and thrown in. It ended up working out for the best though so there isn’t really too much to complain about!
Overall I really liked this book and the escape back to the South it provided me. I’d recommend this book to anyone looking for an easy and comfortable read and anyone who loves to cook, cause my gosh would I love to be in Kayla’s kitchen. Thank you again so much Sarah for sending me a copy and for the wonderful story!