Readers' Favorite

August 21, 2021

Family Drama and Romance in a Lowcountry Setting

by Susan Roberts

The Palmetto Island series is by the wonderful author Ashley Farley.  It's about friends and family, love and strife, and an overall feeling of friends helping friends as they deal with life problems.

Note:  This series should be read in order for maximum enjoyment.
Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. Free books were provided for honest reviews.

Muddy Bottom

Muddy Bottoma
November 2020; Leisure Time Books; 978-1735521251
ebook, print (128 pages); southern fiction

I was thrilled to find out that Ashley Farley is writing a new Southern series.  Muddy Bottom is a prequel novella for her upcoming Lowcountry series, Palmetto Island.

Birdie's husband has disappeared after embezzling money from his law firm and cleaning out the family accounts.  He left behind his wife of 25 years and his daughter, Hannah, who was a Daddy's girl and blames her mother for her father leaving.  On top of that, Birdie finds out that Hannah is pregnant and not married and Birdie learns to deal with her pain using vodka.  Her daughter doesn't want to be part of her mother's life and there appears to be minimal chance of reconciliation between them. When Hannah returns to Palmetto Island for the summer after she graduates, there is a good opportunity for mother and daughter to reconcile but can they change attitudes and get beyond past mistakes to become a family?

Ashley Farley writes books about women for women.  Her characters are mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives facing real-life issues.  I have read and enjoyed all of her books and can't wait to start this new series!

Buy Muddy Bottom at Amazon
(the ebook is free)

Change of Tides

Change of Tides
February 2021; Leisure Time Books; 978-1735521268
ebook, print (240 pages); southern fiction

"The only thing that's constant in life is change...Like the change of tides.  The water goes out and you're at your lowest but then it comes rushing back in, and you're riding high again."
(p 16)

A new series from Ashley Farley is always good news.  She writes Southern Fiction with fantastic characters and well-described settings.  Plus not all of her characters are young - this book has several mature characters who are using a dating site to find new fellows.   

Hannah, her three-year-old son Gus and Birdie all live in an apartment above the bakery that Birdie owns.  They have lived there for three years but know that there are changes coming for both of them.  Hannah knows that if she wants to continue her business she's going to have to move to a larger town.  Birdie is really worried about an empty nest and goes on a dating site to find a male companion.  She's reluctant because she was devastated when her husband left town with funds embezzled from his law firm and a younger woman.  When her husband returns to Palmetto Island, both Birdie and Hannah have to decide whether to forgive him as they move on in their lives.   Can they let go of past loves and find new loves?

Change of Tides is a fantastic story about a mother and her daughter who both have to decide if they want to make changes in their lives or stay the same.  The characters are so well written that they feel like people I know in real life.  The setting at the beach is so wonderful that it feels like I've been on a mini-vacation.  I can't wait for the next book in the series to find out what happens to Hannah and Birdie as they try to make important changes in their lives.  

If you don't read Ashley Farley, it's time to start.  Her books are fantastic and you don't want to miss her fantastic style of southern fiction.
Buy Change of Tides at Amazon

Lowcountry on My Mind

Lowcountry on My Mind
May 2021; AHF Publishing; 978-1735521282
ebook, print (248 pages); southern fiction

Childhood friends reunite in an explosive tale of family dysfunction and romance gone wrong.

Ashley Farley writes books about women for women. Her characters are mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives facing real-life issues.  Her books are Southern fiction and her descriptions make you feel like you are there with her characters.  One of the main things that I like about her books is that many of the characters are mature women who are facing problems in their lives - family, boyfriends, husbands - and learning how to be stronger and overcome their problems.

Birdie and Max (from the previous books) had been friends with Amelia since school.  They stayed in Palmetto Island while Amelia disappeared up north with a rich husband and what appeared to be a perfect life.  What was going on behind closed doors was anything but perfect.  Amelia's husband abused her both physically and emotionally.  She tried to escape once before but he gave her the worst beating ever.  This time her mother has died and she is determined that she will go home and follows a convoluted plan to escape.  She knows that her husband will come after her but she is determined to win this time and will go to any length to avoid going back.  When she reconnects with her old friends, they are totally comfortable with each other but her two friends don't know the potential danger Amelia is in.  Along with the main plot, Max is living with a man she isn't comfortable with and has asked him to leave and Birdie is starting up a new restaurant in town.  Plus Amelia has a sister show up that she never knew about.  All three women are facing major problems in their lives -- have they all become strong enough to take care of the obstacles that are facing them?

As with all of Ashley's books, once I read the first page, I know that I will keep reading until the end.  This book has family and friendship, a bit of mystery, and a bit of romance along with a plot that will keep the readers glued to the story until the end.  I can't wait to read the next book in the series.

Buy Lowcountry on My Mind at Amazon

Sail Away 

Sail Away
August 2021; AHF Publishing; 978-1736876121
ebook, print (274 pages); southern fiction

"Friendships like ours are rare...We must nurture them until our dying days." (p 319)

Three women form a village to help a friend in need.

Sail Away takes us back to Palmetto Island to visit some old friends and get introduced to new ones.  This is Southern Fiction at its best.  Along with wonderful characters, the author also deals with some major problems especially that of Alzheimer's disease and its devastating effect.  

This novel has all of the characters from the first three books in the series along with a newcomer Becca and her daughter Happy.  Becca has rented a house on the island for the summer next door to Hannah who is busy planning her summer wedding.  They become friends and Becca becomes friends with Amelia, Max, and Birdie.  Becca has told her new friends that she wants to spend the summer with her daughter but the more they get to know her, the more they realize that something is not quite right in her life.  She often forgets things and at times seems spaced out.  When they find out her secret, they rally around her to make life smoother for her and her daughter.  They become a family made of the people who love her and care about her and her daughter.  Along with the storyline about Becca and Happy, there is lots of other stuff going on --  weddings, new boyfriends, old boyfriends, and lots of love and good times between friends.

One of my favorite things about Ashley Farley's books is that they feature older characters. Ashley Farley writes books about women for women. Her characters are mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives facing real-life issues.  I don't know if there are other planned books in this series but I sure hope so because the characters all feel like old friends and I'd love to visit them again.

Buy Sail Away at Amazon

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina with her husband of over 50 years.  She grew up in Michigan but now calls North Carolina home. Since her travel plans had to be canceled for this year, she is starting to make plans for travel in 2021. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and historical fiction. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on FacebookGoodreads, or Twitter

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