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April 6, 2024

Marsh Point series by Ashley Farley ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

Do you enjoy series that are tied together but feature a different main character? Ashley Farley has a new series. The first book came out last fall. These are standalone novels but since there's still some time before the new book comes out, why not go ahead and read the first two books?

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. Free books were provided for honest reviews.

Long Journey Home

book cover of southern fiction novel Long Journey Home  by Ashley Farley
October 2023; Ahf Publishing; 978-1956684285
audio, ebook, print (256 pages); southern fiction

Long Journey Home
is the first book in a new series by Ashley Farley.  You can always depend on an addictive and unputdownable story when you start one of Ashley's books and her plan for a new series is exciting for her many readers.  She writes books about women for women. Her characters are mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives facing real-life issues. 

This new book takes us to the low country of South Carolina.  Eileen Darby, the heiress to the Merriweather fortune has died and her will is being read to her three children.  Surprisingly, only one child is taken care of.  Ashton is bequeathed her family's waterfront estate, the family money, and jewelry while the other two children are left with only small gifts. Because Ashton's marriage is in trouble, she decides to renovate the family home.  As she renovates the house, memories return to her that had long been buried and secrets are revealed.  At the same time, she also begins to realize that her husband, who has long handled the finances including her trust fund is not as honest and loving as he claimed to be.  So Ashton is facing unsettling secrets from her past while she deals with secrets kept by her husband during their marriage.   Her relationship with her siblings is fractured, her husband has been less than honest, and at 50 years old she is dealing with the feelings that were created growing up with an alcoholic mother and an absentee father.  In other words, her life is a total mess and she needs to work hard to find peace and happiness.  Will renovating the house and uncovering family secrets help her deal with the issues in her life?  

This first book of the Marsh Point series has everything I enjoy in a book - a strong older woman facing problems in her life, family dysfunction, betrayal, and secrets.  I can't wait to read the next book in the series.

Buy Long Journey Home at Amazon

Echoes of the Past

book cover of southern fiction novel Echoes of the Past by Ashley Farley
January 2024; AHF Publishing; 978-1956684360
audio, ebook, print (276 pages); southern fiction

Book 2 in the series takes us back to the South Carolina low country.  Julia is forced into Witness Protection with her young son after she testifies against her husband in a high-profile human trafficking trial.  She is hiding from a cartel that her husband was involved in.  When she realizes how difficult her life will be in witness protection, she decides to leave and live her own life.  She and her son end up in a small secluded Southern town where she thinks they'll be safe.  She rents a home and tries to start a new life even though she is always careful and watchful in any surroundings.  She meets Will Darby who is under suspicion for killing his wife in a boating accident. Will has a major problem with anger and everyone in town knows.  He has two young daughters and his wife's parents want to get custody of them and they are willing to do anything to win the custody battle. Will and Julia begin to spend some together but neither wants to get into another relationship.  Will because of the custody battle and Julia because she may have to leave town quickly if the cartel finds out where she is.  The police are investigating Will for the accident and someone tips them off that he was involved with Julia when his wife died so the police begin to investigate her - not a good thing when she is using fake identification and hiding her past.  Is there any way that these two people with violent and troubling pasts can let go of their past and find their happily ever after?

This is one of Ashley's best books yet.  I was rapidly reading especially when it looked like the cartel had found Julia and was worried about the outcome for her and her son.  This is a romance but it's so much more -- it's a look at leaving your past behind and going forward into the future without the baggage of your past.

Buy Echoes of the Past at Amazon

Songbird's Second Chance

book cover of southern fiction novel Songbird's Second Chance
April 2024; Ahf Publishing; 978-1956684407
ebook, print (248 pages); southern fiction

Songbird's Second Chance
is a fantastic addition to the Marsh Point series.  It's full of family turmoil in a majorly dysfunctional family.  The adult children try to mend fences between each other but the outcomes often backfire.  Plus there is a new member of the family who shows up back at Marsh Point after a 30-year absence who reminds them of their childhood memories of growing up with an uncaring alcoholic mother and a father who wouldn't stand up to her.

This story is centered on two main characters
  • Harper is 30 years old when her mother dies.  When she is cleaning out her mother's files, she finds out that she was adopted.  Suddenly it all becomes clear why she and her mother were so different.  Her mother was a highly regarded lawyer who refused to let Harper follow through with her plans to pursue her singing career and insisted that she go to law school.  The only clue to her real family is a paper with the address at Marsh Point.  She decides to quit her job and find out what she can about her birth family.
  • Savannah is a member of the Darby family.  She ran away from the family home 30 years earlier when her baby was taken away from her by her mother right after the birth.  She goes as far away as she can and ends up creating a life for herself in the Pacific Northwest.  With some changes happening in her life, she decides that it may be time to reconnect with her family again.  She doesn't have plans to stay and has no idea how she'll be treated by her siblings but wants to get to know them again.

One of the things that I most appreciate in Ashley's books is that they are about women who are facing real-life issues.  And best of all - the main characters are often older women who are looking for peace and happiness in their lives but are still facing major issues that need to be overcome.

Warning - clear your calendar before you start this book because you won't want to put it down until the end.  The characters are so well written that you really care about what happens to them and hope for a happy outcome to all of the family turmoil.  

NOTE:  All of the books in the Marsh Point series can be read as standalones but the series is so fantastic that you need to read all of them in order.

Susan Roberts grew up in Michigan but loves the laid-back life at her home in the Piedmont area of North Carolina where she is two hours from the beach to the east and the mountains in the west.  She reads almost anything but her favorite genres are Southern Fiction and Historical Fiction.   

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