Tag Archives: Denise Hildreth Jones

Reading Road Trip — South Carolina

22 May

To start the summer traveling season off right, I am headed to South Carolina in my Reading Road Trip. The Palmetto State stretches from the sandy beaches and marshes of the Low Country to the edges of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Known for its Southern hospitality, the state is rich in history. I have included women’s fiction, romance, mystery, suspense, and historical fiction on my list. I hope you will find the perfect read for the lazy days of summer.

Carolina Gold by Dorothy Love

The war is over, but at Fairhaven Plantation, Charlotte’s struggle has just begun.

Following her father’s death, Charlotte Fraser returns to Fairhaven, her family’s rice plantation in the South Carolina Lowcountry. With no one else to rely upon, smart, independent Charlotte is determined to resume cultivating the superior strain of rice called Carolina Gold.  But the war has left the plantation in ruins, her father’s former bondsmen are free, and workers and equipment are in short supply.

To make ends meet, Charlotte reluctantly agrees to tutor the two young daughters of her widowed neighbor and heir to Willowood Plantation, Nicholas Betancourt.  Just as her friendship with Nick deepens, he embarks upon a quest to prove his claim to Willowood and sends Charlotte on a dangerous journey that uncovers a long-held family secret, and threatens everything she holds dear.

Inspired by the life of a 19th-century woman rice farmer, Carolina Gold pays tribute to the hauntingly beautiful Lowcountry and weaves together  mystery, romance, and historical detail, bringing to life the story of one young woman’s struggle to restore her ruined world.

Beguiled by Deeanne Gist and Mark Bertrand

In the shadows of Charleston, someone is watching her

Rylee Monroe, a dogwalker in Charleston’s wealthiest neighborhood, never feared the streets at night. But now a thief is terrorizing the area and worse, someone seems to be targeting her.

Reporter Logan Woods is covering the break-ins with the hope of publishing them as a true-crime book. The more he digs, the more he realizes this beguiling dogwalker seems to be at the center of everything.

As danger draws ever closer, Logan must choose: Chase the girl, the story, or plunge into the shadows after the villain who threatens everything?

Called to Protect by Lynette Eason

For the past year, Chloe St. John has been working as a K-9 cop with her German shepherd partner, Hank. After being dumped by her fiancé for another woman, Chloe has decided that Hank is just about the only male she likes. She’s over the whole romance thing and focuses her attention on doing her job. Because a serious case of human trafficking with connections to her missing cousin just landed in her lap.

When US Marshall Blake MacCallum’s daughter goes missing, he’s ordered to kill the judge he’s protecting and tell no one about his daughter’s disappearance or she will die. Blake races against the clock to rescue his daughter while Chloe and Hank are asked to be a part of the task force assembled to bring down the traffickers. Chloe finds herself attracted to the silent, suffering man, but thanks to her previous bad judgment, she wonders if she can trust him. And can Blake trust himself around this firecracker of a woman?

Flies on The Butter by Denise Hildreth Jones

Can you ever really go home again?

Rose Fletcher’s come a long way from her South Carolina up-bringing of Sunday church and Mamaw’s fried chicken. As a high-powered lobbyist in Washington, D.C., Rose has put the South behind her. But the peace and happiness she has sought eludes her. With her marriage on the brink of disaster, her mind races with the chaos her life has become.

Now Rose must head south for home. She’ll face her demons, relive her coming-of-age, and confront the issues that have kept her away all these years. It’ll take the intervention of strangers and a painful miracle of grace to help her find that place called “home” once again.

Still Waters by Lindsey Brackett

Cora Anne Halloway has a history degree and a plan: avoid her own past — despite being wait-listed for graduate school. Then her beloved grandmother requests — and her dispassionate mother insists — that she spend the summer at Still Waters, the family cottage on Edisto Beach, South Carolina.

Despite its picturesque setting, Still Waters haunts Cora Anne with loss. At Still Waters her grandfather died, her parents’ marriage disintegrated, and as a child, she caused a tragic drowning. But lingering among the oak canopies and gentle tides, this place also tempts her with forgiveness — especially since Nan hired Tennessee Watson to oversee cottage repairs. A local contractor, but dedicated to the island’s preservation from development, Tennessee offers her friendship and more, if she can move beyond her guilt.

When a family reunion reveals Nan’s failing health, Cora Anne discovers how far Tennessee will go to protect her — and Edisto — from more desolation. Will Cora Anne choose between a life driven by guilt, or one washed clean by the tides of grace?

Sunrise on The Battery by Beth Webb Hart

She wanted her husband to attend the town’s society-driven church. God answered her prayer in a radical way.

An emptiness dogs Mary Lynn Scoville. But it shouldn’t. After all, she’s achieved what few believed possible. Born in the rural south, she has reached the pinnacle of worldly success in Charleston, South Carolina. Married to a handsome real estate developer and mother to three accomplished daughters, Mary Lynn is one Debutante Society invitation away from truly having it all. And yet, it remains—an emptiness that no shopping trip, European vacation, or social calendar can fill.

While her husband commits social suicide and the life they worked so hard for crumbles around them, Mary Lynn wonders if their marriage can survive. Or if perhaps there really is a more abundant life that Jackson has discovered, richer than any she’s ever dreamed of.

 

Reading Road Trip — Tennessee!

10 Apr

Tennesse has a long and illustrious history. The Volunteer State was the 16th state admitted into the Union, the last state to join the Confederacy, and the first state to re-join the Union following the Civil War. It borders 8 states and has the Appalachian Mountains in the east and the Mississippi River on its western border. Nashville is known for its vibrant music industry, while Memphis was home to Elvis. I have a long list of books set in Tennessee. They vary in genres, so there should be something for every reading taste. I hope you enjoy your book travel to Tennessee!

 

A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander

Eleanor Braddock – plain, practical, no stunning Southern beauty – knows she will never marry. But with a dying soldier’s last whisper, she believes her life can still have meaning and determines to find his widow. Impoverished and struggling to care for her ailing father, Eleanor arrives at Belmont Mansion, home of her aunt, Adelicia Acklen, the richest woman in America – and possibly the most demanding, as well. Adelicia insists on finding her niece a husband, but a simple act of kindness leads Eleanor down a far different path – building a home for destitute widows and fatherless children from the Civil War. While Eleanor knows her own heart, she also knows her aunt will never approve of this endeavor.

Archduke Marcus Gottfried has come to Nashville from Austria in search of a life he determines, instead of one determined for him. Hiding his royal heritage, Marcus longs to combine his passion for nature with his expertise in architecture, but his plans to incorporate natural beauty into the design of the widows’ and children’s home run contrary to Eleanor’s wishes. As work on the home draws them closer together, Marcus and Eleanor find common ground–and a love neither of them expects.

But Marcus is not the man Adelicia has chosen for Eleanor, and even if he were, someone who knows his secrets is about to reveal them all.

Beyond All Measure by Dorothy Love

Ada Wentworth, a young Bostonian, journeys to Hickory Ridge, Tennessee, in the years following the Civil War. Alone and nearly penniless following a broken engagement, Ada accepts a position as a lady’s companion to the elderly Lillian Willis, a pillar of the community and aunt to the local lumber mill owner, Wyatt Caldwell. Ada intends to use her millinery skills to establish a hat shop and secure her future.

Haunted by unanswered questions from her life in Boston, Ada is most drawn to two townsfolks: Wyatt, a Texan with big plans of his own, and Sophie, a mulatto girl who resides at the Hickory Ridge orphanage. Ada’s friendship with Sophia attracts the attention of a group of locals seeking to displace the residents of Two Creeks, a “colored” settlement on the edge of town. As tensions rise, Ada is threatened but refuses to abandon her plan to help the girl.

When Lillian dies, Ada is left without employment or a place to call home. And since Wyatt’s primary purpose for staying in Hickory Ridge was to watch over his aunt, he can now pursue his dream of owning Longhorns in his home state of Texas. With their feelings for each other growing, Ada must decide whether she can trust God with her future and Wyatt with her heart.

Christy by Catherine Marshall

The train taking nineteen-year-old teacher Christy Huddleston from her home in Asheville, North Carolina, might as well be transporting her to another world. The Smoky Mountain community of Cutter Gap feels suspended in time, trapped by poverty, superstitions, and century-old traditions.

But as Christy struggles to find acceptance in her new home, some see her — and her one-room school — as a threat to their way of life. Her faith is challenged and her heart is torn between two strong men with conflicting views about how to care for the families of the Cove.

Yearning to make a difference, will Christy’s determination and devotion be enough?

Secrets over Sweet Tea by Denise Hildreth Jones

Secrets can be funny things. We think they keep us safe, but more often than not, they spill out when we least expect and make a mess out of everything. It’s a truth Scarlett Jo Newberry knows all too well — a truth Grace Shepherd and Zach Craig are about to learn the hard way. As the lives of this boisterous pastor’s wife, polished news anchor, and beleaguered divorce attorney intersect in the tree-lined streets of Franklin, Tennessee, scandal threatens to topple their carefully constructed worlds. Grasping at survival, they embark on a journey of friendship and courage, desperate to find a way back to laughter, love, and life.

Justice Delayed by Patricia Bradley

It’s been eighteen years since TV crime reporter Andi Hollister’s sister was murdered. The confessed killer is behind bars, and the execution date is looming. But when a letter surfaces stating that the condemned killer didn’t actually do it, Detective Will Kincaide of the Memphis Cold Case Unit will stop at nothing to help Andi get to the bottom of it. After all, this case is personal: the person who confessed to the crime is Will’s cousin. They have less than a week to find the real killer before the wrong person is executed. But much can be accomplished in that week – including uncovering police corruption, running for your life, and falling in love.

Vendetta by Lisa Harris

With the perfect mixture of intrigue and nail-biting suspense, award-winning author Patricia Bradley invites her readers to crack the case — if they can — alongside the best Memphis has to offer. No one needs to push Nikki Boyd to excel on the Tennessee Missing Person Task Force. The case of her own missing sister, still unsolved after ten years, is the driving force in her work. When a Polaroid photo of a missing girl shows up at a crime scene, Nikki quickly recognizes similarities to the past. The closer she gets to the abductor, the more she feels that this case is getting personal, and that she is not the hunter at all – but actually the one being hunted.  

 

 

If You Liked Still Waters . . .

28 Sep

I love when my book club has a unanimous thumbs up on one of our selections. This month we read Still Waters by Lindsey Brackett, and we all loved it! (Read my review HERE.) Now what should we read next? I have a few suggestions.

Savannah from Savannah by Denise Hildreth Jones

I’m coming home to prove something..to my city, my mother, and myself.

It is a place known to most as Savannah. It is a place known to me as home. I wish I could tell you it was my love for this city that precipitated my return. But I did not return out of a mere longing for home. I returned because I have something to prove to home. I am Savannah . . . from Savannah.

 

 

Things Left Unspoken by Eva Marie Everson

Jo Lynn Hunter is at a crossroads in life when her greataunt Stella insists that she return home to restore the old family house in sleepy Cottonwood, Georgia. Seeing the project as the perfect excuse for some therapeutic time away from her selfabsorbed husband and his snobby Atlanta friends, Jo Lynn longs to get her teeth into a noteworthy and satisfying project. But things are not what they seem, both in the house and within the complex history of her family. Was her greatgrandfather the pillar of the community she thought he was? What is Aunt Stella hiding? And will Jo Lynn’s marriage survive the renovation? Jo Lynn isn’t sure she wants to know the truthbut sometimes the truth has a way of making itself known.The past comes alive in this wellwritten and thoughtful novel full of secrets, drama, and family with a hint of Southern drawl.

The Wedding Machine by Beth Webb Hart

Welcome to Jasper, South Carolina. A place where Southern hospitality thrives. Where social occasions are done right. And where, for generations, the four most upstanding ladies of this community ensure that the daughters of Jasper are married in the proper manner.

Friends from school days, “the gals” have long pooled their silver, china, and know-how to pull off beautiful events. They’re a force of nature, a well-oiled machine. But the wedding machine’s gears start to stick during the summer their own daughters line up to tie the knot. In the lowcountry heat and humidity, tempers flare, old secrets leak out . . . and both love and gardenias bloom in unlikely places.

Top 10 Tuesday: Hidden Gems in Women’s Fiction

29 Aug

This week The Broke And The Bookish have challenged bloggers to come up with hidden gems in the genre of their choice. I’ve posted so much lately about mystery/suspense, that I though it was time to choose another genre. 😉 I’m not sure that the books on my list can really be categorized as hidden, but they are books that have either been out for a while and may not be on the top of most TBR piles or have not gotten the recognition they really deserve. All on my list are books that I have continued to think about long after I read them. Check them out. You will love them!

For other bloggers participating today, click HERE.

Top 10 Hidden Gems in Women’s Fiction

 

The Church Ladies by Lisa Samson

Competition for church members in Mount Oak has reached a furious peak. When tragedy strikes one of their hometown sons, the church women are drawn together through compassion. The Church Ladies is a contemporary tale illustrating how women can have a major impact on the church. Through friendships that reach beneath surface level — and trials more severe than simple — they unite with common purpose: to pray, share, and comfort. Slowly, the community of believers learns that the church grows when it is rooted in love. Characters you’ll laugh and cry with, in situations every woman will instantly relate to, light up this page-turner about a miracle that could happen anywhere.

Five Miles South of Peculiar by Angela Hunt

Darlene Caldwell has spent a lifetime tending Sycamores, an estate located five miles south of a small town called Peculiar. She raised a family in the spacious home that was her grandfather’s legacy, and she enjoys being a pillar of the community. Sycamores is the kingdom where she reigns as queen . . . until her limelight-stealing twin sister unexpectedly returns.

Carlene Caldwell, veteran of the Broadway stage, is devastated when she realizes that an unsuccessful throat surgery has spelled the end of her musical career. Searching for a new purpose in life, she retreats to Sycamores, her childhood home. She may not be able to sing, but she hopes to use her knowledge and experience to fashion a new life in Peculiar, the little town she left behind.

Haunted by a tragic romance, Magnolia Caldwell is the youngest of the Caldwell girls. Nolie has never wanted to live anywhere but Sycamores. She spends her days caring for her dogs and the magnificent gardens she’s created on the estate, but when she meets a man haunted by his own tragedy, she must find the courage to either deny her heart or cut the apron strings that tie her to a dear and familiar place.

Can these sisters discover who they are meant to be when life takes an unforeseen detour? In a season of destiny, three unique women reunite and take unexpected journeys of the heart.

Invisible by Ginny Yttrup

Ellyn DeMoss — chef, café owner, and lover of butter — is hiding behind her extra weight. But what is she hiding? While Ellyn sees the good in others, she has only condemnation for herself. So when a handsome widower claims he’s attracted to Ellyn, she’s certain there’s something wrong with him

Sabina Jackson — tall, slender, and exotic — left her husband, young adult daughters, and a thriving counseling practice to spend a year in Northern California where she says she’s come to heal. But it seems to Ellyn that Sabina’s doing more hiding than healing. What’s she hiding from? Is it God?

Twila Boaz has come out of hiding and is working to gain back the pounds she lost when her only goal was to disappear. When her eating disorder is triggered again, though she longs to hide, she instead follows God and fights for her own survival. But will she succeed?

As these women’s lives intertwine, their eyes open to the glory within each of them as they begin to recognize themselves as being created in God’s image.

The Pirate Queen by Patricia Hickman 

The envy of all her friends, wife and mother Saphora Warren is the model of southern gentility and accomplishment. She lives in a beautiful Lake Norman home, and has raised three capable adult children. Her husband is a successful plastic surgeon–and a philanderer. It is for that reason that, after hosting a garden party for Southern Living magazine, Saphora packs her bags to escape the trappings of the picturesque-but-vacant life. 

Saphora’s departure is interrupted by her husband Bender’s early arrival home, and his words that change her life forever: I’m dying.
 
Against her desires, Saphora agrees to take care of Bender as he fights his illness. They relocate, at his insistance, to their coastal home in Oriental—the same house she had chosen for her private getaway. When her idyllic retreat is overrun by her grown children, grandchildren, townspeople, relatives, and a precocious neighbor child, Saphora’s escape to paradise is anything but the life she had imagined. As she gropes for evidence of God’s presence amid the turmoil, can she discover that the richest treasures come in surprising packages?

The Road to Home by Vanessa Del Fabbro 

South African journalist Monica Brunetti had it all — promising career, loving family, marriage-minded boyfriend. Then a life-changing encounter landed her in a hospital bed next to gregarious Ella Nkhoma, whose wit and caring challenged Monica’s worldview. Their remarkable friendship would lead Monica far from the gated white suburbs, and toward a parting that left both women transformed — and Monica the mother of two sons.

 

 

Secrets over Sweet Tea by Denise Hildreth Jones

Secrets can be funny things. We think they keep us safe, but more often than not, they spill out when we least expect and make a mess out of everything. It’s a truth Scarlett Jo Newberry knows all too well―a truth Grace Shepherd and Zach Craig are about to learn the hard way. As the lives of this boisterous pastor’s wife, polished news anchor, and beleaguered divorce attorney intersect in the tree-lined streets of Franklin, Tennessee, scandal threatens to topple their carefully constructed worlds. Grasping at survival, they embark on a journey of friendship and courage, desperate to find a way back to laughter, love, and life.

Seeing Things by Patti Hill 

Birdie Wainwright, 72, isn’t concerned about seeing things that others can’t. For a woman who still climbs mountains with her dog (Miss Bee Haven) and likes to tango, the impractical visions brought on by macular degeneration are just another gift from God, adding more adventure to life. But when a tumble down the stairs breaks her ankle and leads back to her son’s home in Denver where she must convalesce, Birdie’s imagination really takes flight. Following a conversation with her grandson about The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, she begins to see and speak with the unkempt literary character himself on a regular basis. As the line between reality and whimsy turns brittle, faith is tested among friends and loved ones, and hope is reborn.

Velma Still Cooks in Leeway by Vinita Hampton Wright

As the town’s chief cook and part-time janitor for Jerusalem Baptist church, Velma Brendle has never done anything more outstanding than putting on a good meal at Velma’s Place, the one restaurant in Leeway, Kansas, but she takes good care of her customers, neighbors, and friends. However, in the midst of these two jobs, Velma’s husband stops talking, Cousin Albert comes to live with her, and she finds herself dealing with the town’s problems. As memories of past troubles plague her, she grows weary from even the tasks she loves the most. Old Sunday School lessons take on new meanings, and new problems illuminate trials Velma thought were long over. In sudden leaps of faith and moments of tragedy, Velma and all those she loves journey toward facing their sins and finding forgiveness.

What The Bayou Saw by Patti Lacy

The past can’t stay buried forever.

Rising author Patti Lacy’s second novel exposes the life of Sally, set amid the shadows of prejudice in Louisiana. Since leaving her home in the South, Sally Stevens has held the secrets of her past at bay, smothering them in a sunny disposition and sugar-coated lies. No one, not even her husband, has heard the truth about her childhood. But when one of her students is violently raped, Sally’s memories quickly bubble to the surface unbidden, like a dead body in a bayou. As Sally’s story comes to light, the lies she’s told begin to catch up with her. And as her web of deceit unravels, she resolves to face the truth at last, whatever the consequences.

Why The Sky Is Blue by Susan Meissner

What options does a Christian woman have after she’s brutally assaulted by a stranger . . . and becomes pregnant? That’s the heartrending situation Claire Holland faces. Happily married and the mother of two when she is attacked, Claire begins an incredible journey on the painful pathway to trusting God “in all things.”

When Claire’s husband, Dan, confesses he can’t be a father to the expected child, Claire’s decision to put the baby up for adoption creates a sense of tremendous loss for Claire. Later, unexpected circumstances turn this seeming loss into victory.

This wonderful first novel isn’t a love story . . . but a life story, presenting the twin themes trusting God in tragic circumstances and reaping the rewards that eventually come with sacrificial loving.

What book do you consider a hidden gem?

Top 10 Tuesday — Southern Settings

1 Nov

By book club loves a story set in an exotic locale, but we also love a book set in our own backyards — the Sunny South! I’ve compiled a list of books  (18 in fact!) with Southern settings that will be a hit with your book club; many were hits with mine and the others I don’t hesitate to recommend. I could have gone on and on — so many great books set in the South! You may also see I am kind of partial to books set in my home state of Georgia!

To find out what other books bloggers are recommending to book clubs, please visit The Broke And The Bookish Top 10 Tuesday.

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Top Books with Southern Settings

Cozy Mystery Series

Murder on A Girl’s Night Out by Anne George (Alabama)

Them Bones by Carolyn Haines (Mississippi)

Who Invited The Dead Man by Patricia Sprinkle (Georgia)

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Historical 

Lighthouse by Eugenia Price (Georgia)

A Respectable Actress by Dorothy Love (Georgia)

The Sentinels of Andersonville by Tracy Groot (Georgia)

The Swan House by Elizabeth Musser (Georgia)

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Romance

Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Beth Vogt (Florida)

Her One And Only by Becky Wade (Texas)

The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck (Alabama)

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Romantic Suspense

Dangerous Passage by Lisa Harris (Georgia)

Midnight on The Mississippi by Mary Ellis (Louisiana/Mississippi)

Shadows of The Past by Patricia Bradley (Mississippi/Tennessee)

Vendetta by Lisa Harris (Tennessee)

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Women’s Fiction

Dancing on Glass by Pamela Binnings Ewen (Louisiana)

The Pirate Queen by Patricia Hickman (North Carolina)

Secrets over Sweet Tea by Denise Hildreth Jones (Tennessee)

The Things Left Unspoken by Eva Marie Everson (Georgia)

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What’s your favorite setting?

 

Book Review: Secrets Over Sweet Tea

24 Dec

366845Secrets can be funny things. We think they keep us safe, but more often than not, they spill out when we least expect and make a mess out of everything. It’s a truth Scarlett Jo Newberry knows all too well—a truth Grace Shepherd and Zach Craig are about to learn the hard way. As the lives of this boisterous pastor’s wife, polished news anchor, and beleaguered divorce attorney intersect in the tree-lined streets of Franklin, Tennessee, scandal threatens to topple their carefully constructed worlds. Grasping at survival, they embark on a journey of friendship and courage, desperate to find a way back to laughter, love, and life.

Denise-Hildreth-jonesDenise Hildreth Jones has spent the last eight years writing fiction that has been hailed as both “smart and witty.” Her ability to express the heart of the Southern voice has led to her being featured twice in Southern Living and receiving the accolades of readers and reviewers alike, but it is the simple joy of writing stories that keeps them coming. Denise is the author of eight novels and two works of nonfiction—Flying Solo and Reclaiming Your Heart.

She makes her home in Franklin, Tennessee, with her husband, five bonus children, and her dog. And on her days off, she will settle for a long walk or a good book and a Coca-Cola.

Visit Denise’s website at www.reclaiminghearts.com.

My Impressions:

Secrets over Sweet Tea was not what I expected, but it was so much more! The pick for By The Book’s December discussion, Denise Hildreth Jones’ latest novel was a unanimous thumbs up from my group. Filled with great Southern characters, real-life, messy situations and wonderful writing, this novel is great for group discussions. I loved it and think you will too.

Scarlet Jo Newberry is larger than life. With her bright colors and over-the-top personality, she prays and laughs and meddles her way through life. Lots of people try to avoid her when they see her coming, but for those who become her friend, she is a lifeline. That’s what Grace finds when the life she always wanted comes crashing down.

Secrets over Sweet Tea is a very personal novel. Both Jones and her husband have gone through divorces and not only lived to tell about it, but have allowed God to use them. There is a lot to talk about in this novel — infidelity, guilt, shame, discovering who you are in God. All the characters are flawed, but that’s just the type of people God loves to work in and through.

If you are looking for women’s fiction with a definite Southern twang, check out Secrets over Sweet Tea.

Highly Recommended.

(I purchased this book for my Kindle. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.

By The Book’s December Selection: Secrets over Sweet Tea

16 Nov

366845 Secrets over Sweet Tea by Denise Hildreth Jones. Secrets can be funny things. We think they keep us safe, but more often than not, they spill out when we least expect and make a mess out of everything. It’s a truth Scarlett Jo Newberry knows all too well — a truth Grace Shepherd and Zach Craig are about to learn the hard way. As the lives of this boisterous pastor’s wife, polished news anchor, and beleaguered divorce attorney intersect in the tree-lined streets of Franklin, Tennessee, scandal threatens to topple their carefully constructed worlds. Grasping at survival, they embark on a journey of friendship and courage, desperate to find a way back to laughter, love, and life

Join us in December when we read and discuss this book. Have you already read it? Leave a comment with your thoughts. We look forward to your insights.