Review: 'Lies and Other Acts of Love' by Kristy Woodson Harvey (2016)
After sixty years of marriage and five daughters, Lynn “Lovey” White knows that all of us, from time to time, need to use our little white lies.
Her granddaughter, Annabelle, on the other hand, is as truthful as they come. She always does the right thing—that is, until she dumps her hedge fund manager fiancé and marries a musician she has known for three days. After all, her grandparents, who fell in love at first sight, have shared a lifetime of happiness, even through her grandfather’s declining health.
But when Annabelle’s world starts to collapse around her, she discovers that nothing about her picture-perfect family is as it seems. And Lovey has to decide whether one more lie will make or break the ones she loves…
In 2015 I was asked to read and review author Kristy Woodson Harvey's debut novel 'Dear Carolina' (click here to read my review); a book written in a true Southern voice and one that received numerous five star reviews and positive comments, including my own because I really enjoyed the novel. Last year, Kristy contacted me again, this time to kindly provide me with an e-book review copy of her second novel, 'Lies and Other Acts of Love.' It took me a bit of time to finally get to the novel, but when I did my research a few weeks ago I, once again, stumbled upon mainly four and five star reviews. Needless to say, I was curious to check out this author's sophomore novel and hoped I would enjoy it as much as I did her debut!
Eighty-something Lovey White has lead a good life with her beloved husband Dan and their five beautiful daughters. In those years, Lovey came to realise that even the best families have their lies and secrets to protect each other, including her very own family. Her granddaughter Annabelle had a surprise of her own when she decided to leave her long-term boyfriend Holden to get married to Ben, a musician she'd fallen head over heels in love with. But as Annabelle's life starts to fall apart from all sides, she is not only forced to make some important decisions for herself but also discovers some hidden secrets within her family, secrets that could change everything for all of them.
Kristy Woodson Harvey is said to be one of the new upcoming Southern voices within women's fiction and I've personally had the pleasure of reading both of her two novels so far. While I am not completely up-to-date on Southern fiction, I do know I thoroughly enjoy Kristy's stories and can understand why a lot of readers and other authors are so enthusiastic about her work. 'Lies and Other Acts of Love' focuses on a big family, with central roles being played by matriarch Lovey and her granddaughter Annabelle. I liked both female characters from the start and really enjoyed how there was a focus on Lovey's story, including flashbacks to when she was younger and how she got together with her husband Dan, and Annabelle's tale, which was really captivating and kept me wanting to read on to discover what was going to happen next.
I really enjoy the Southern feel of Kristy Woodson Harvey's stories. It's not something I'm familiar with, except for what I've seen on TV or read about in other books, but I really like it and love the warmth and the importance of family that comes with it. The close relationship between Lovey and Annabelle, grandmother and granddaughter, reminded me of my own nanna and was just great to read about. The novel has some convincing and good characters at its core, and gives a realistic portrayal of what family life, and real life for that matter, can be like. In my opinion Kristy Woodson Harvey has treated us to another sweet and Southern read with 'Lies and Other Acts of Love'; definitely an author to look out for and a novel that's worth picking up!