Spotlights - Feature new novels and their authors and additional spotlights on other topics.
Release Date: April 5, 2016
Dear Carolina was praised as “Southern fiction at its best.”
Now author Kristy Woodson Harvey presents a new novel about what it really means to tell the truth . . .
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 . . .
“LIES AND OTHER ACTS OF LOVE establishes Kristy Woodson Harvey as a major new voice in southern fiction. This book stirred mighty emotions in me, yet left me with a sense of peace. A truly delightful read.” –Elin Hilderbrand, New York Times Bestselling author of THE RUMOR
“A richly detailed, intergenerational tale of love, loss and loyalty. Harvey pulls the reader into the hearts and souls of her characters.”—Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author of The Weight of Silence
“Harvey crafted a story so perfectly detailed that we could imagine ourselves on a wrap around porch in the south with a tall glass of sweet tea.”—Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke, authors of Your Perfect Life and The Status of All Things
“Winsome and wise, LIES AND OTHER ACTS OF LOVE shows us that true, strong marriages are forged as much out of pain as passion. Kristy Woodson Harvey treats both Annabelle, the young, naive heroine, and Lovey, the formidable matriarch, with skillful tenderness. Fans of Southern fiction, especially book clubs, will flock to this engaging, heartfelt story.” —Sonja Yoerg, author of HOUSE BROKEN and MIDDLE OF SOMEWHERE
About The Author
Kristy Woodson Harvey is the author of Dear Carolina and Lies and Other Acts of Love. She blogs at Design Chic about how creating a beautiful home can be the catalyst for creating a beautiful life and loves connecting with readers at kristywoodsonharvey.com. She is a Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s school of journalism and holds a Master’s in English from East Carolina University. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications and websites, including Southern Living, Domino magazine, Our State, Houzz, the Salisbury Post and the New Bern Sun Journal. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and four-year-old son where she is working on her next novel.
A Conversation With Kristy Woodson Harvey
Navigating the ups and downs of familial relationships is a major theme in Lies and Other Acts of Love. How did your family life inspire you while writing this book?
I have a large extended family and am an only child, much like Annabelle in the book. We are very close-knit. I always know, just like Annabelle does, no matter what is going on in my life, no matter what happens, my family is there for me one hundred percent, and I’m there for them, too. That’s a tremendous gift, for sure one of the biggest in my life. Is it perfect? Absolutely not. Annabelle realizes that, with family, the mistakes don’t matter because there’s something bigger at the core. That’s how I’ve always felt. My family was one of the main inspirations for this story, and though the facts aren’t true, the feeling behind it is.
In the book, Lovey is the heart of the family—she keeps everyone together. Was she inspired by a similar female role model in your life?
My grandmother is different from Lovey in a lot of ways, but the character is most definitely inspired by her— especially the way she has taken care of my grandfather for the past few years. My grandfather has always been incredibly strong but when some of his strength was taken from him, it was remarkable to see how much strength my grandmother had. I realized that it was her inner fortitude that helped make him so powerful. It’s hard to explain how unwavering she has been in her devotion and belief, but I truly believe that she is one of the most courageous women I have ever known. Much of the wisdom that Lovey imparts to Annabelle is from lessons I’ve learned from my own grandmother.
How are the female characters in your book similar to and different from southern women that you know?
I think of the sisters in the book almost as parts of a whole—single personality traits that, when combined together, create a complete personality. Southern women tend to have all of these traits: strength, sensitivity, kindness, tenacity. Sure, sometimes they make mistakes. Everyone does. But the southern women I know navigate them with incredible grace. That small-town scandal tends to run amuck in the South is a cliché for a reason. So naturally there had to be a bit of that—and a little bit of gossip, too. But I truly think that, in so many ways, southern women in general are really there for each other when the chips are down.
The sisters are a metaphor for family and the ways that multiple people and personalities come together to make something larger, more meaningful and always, always—for better or worse—more interesting.
Most women’s fiction focuses on female relationships between mothers, daughters, sisters and friends. What made you decide to focus on the relationship between a granddaughter and grandmother?
I wanted to juxtapose love and marriage today with how love and marriage in the 1940s and 50s. Rereading the manuscript, I was startled by the parallels between Lovey and Annabelle. They mirrored in ways that I hadn’t even planned, which I think helped show the similarities and differences between women coming of age today and coming of age two generations ago. It was an interesting relationship for me to write. I’ve always been very close with my grandmother, but, unlike Annabelle, I’m also close with my mom. Annabelle’s mother was too close to the situation to be objective or to consider any other opinion besides her own. Lovey had enough distance to be more supportive. She understood Annabelle in a way that her mother didn’t—or maybe just had enough life experience to realize that mistakes don’t define the rest of your life.
Annabelle’s actions often reflect two conflicting sides of her personality, from well-grounded and practical to impulsive and free-spirited. What parts of her personality do you relate to the most? The least?
I’ve always relied on my intuition to make decisions, even when the “facts” may seem to conflict. I really relate to Annabelle in that way. Certainly as I’ve gotten older, married and become a mother, the more well-grounded part of me has necessarily taken over. And I think in a lot of ways, Annabelle truly is that reliable, practical person who wants to be more free-spirited. I think for her to really be happy, she needed a balance of those aspects in her personality. I would never be impulsive enough to make some of the rash decisions that she does but I’m also a few years older than she is, so that might be part of it!
Both Lovey and Annabelle feel an immediate and deep connection with the men who come into their lives. How do you feel about love at first sight?
I have always believed in love at first sight, and actually told my friends that I would marry my husband the minute I laid eyes on him. It probably goes back to what I said about trusting my intuition so much, but I think I always knew that it would happen like that for me— I would just know. Love at first sight that lasts forever is complicated to write. My grandparents really did meet the way that Lovey and her husband (well, according to my grandfather!), and, sixty years of marriage later, are going strong. But, for some reason, I think love at first sight that happened “way back then” resonates with readers in a way that present-day love at first sight just doesn’t. Maybe we’re more jaded and it’s harder for us to believe in those “whirlwind romances.” And maybe it’s because we’ve all seen a few Ben and Annabelles ourselves!
Each chapter in the book opens with an important life lesson the White family has passed down through the generations. What is the most important life lesson that you have ever learned?
The most important life lesson I’ve ever learned from my grandmother is, “This too shall pass.” As you’re growing up, every setback, fall, bad break-up, missed turn or mistake seems like the world will crumble around you. But it simply isn’t true. As long as you keep going and keep getting up and trying again, life goes on, the bad thing passes, and tomorrow is a better day. When I’d get a rejection letter from an agent or editor, I’d just remember that the way I was feeling would pass and that just because one door closed didn’t mean another wouldn’t open. That didn’t make it easy but I always knew that I’d be okay. It felt like forever at the time, getting to the right agent and the right editor at the right publishing house. In retrospect, I realize that it actually wasn’t long at all. The bad feeling passed, the right thing happened, and now my second novel being published!
I’d like to thank the author, Kristy Woodson Harvey, for providing me with a copy of her new book and material for this spotlight. I wish Kristy much success!
She Reads will feature these three books through the end of June. Have you read or are you planning on reading any of these? Do you have a favorite?
(I am already 2/3rds into “No One Knows” – thumbs up!.)
“In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, three generations of Rockwell women sift through their histories—real, imagined, rumored, and written—and discover that, like storms, life is impossible to control.” …
“An entertaining yet astute look at family, self, story, and connections.” – Kirkus Review
“A woman begins to question everything she thought she knew when signs indicate that her husband, recently declared officially dead, is actually alive.” …
“The unreliable female narrator is all the rage, and Aubrey Hamilton is up there with the slipperiest of them all.” – Kirkus Review
“Andy and Rachel fall in love and fall apart, over and over, in this emotional outing from Weiner (All Fall Down, 2014, etc.).” …
“This moving story of love that spans a lifetime is Weiner at her heartstring-tugging best.” – Kirkus Review
Do you have any of these books on your ‘ToRead’ list? Below are brief excerpts of descriptions (from SheReads).
*A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2015*
From a unique new talent comes a fast-paced debut, introducing a heroine whose dark visions bring to light secrets that will heal or destroy those around her . . .
A Southern Gothic mystery debut that combines literary suspense and romance with a mystical twist, THE GATES OF EVANGELINE is a story that readers of Gillian Flynn, Kate Atkinson, and Alice Sebold won’t be able to put down.
From New York Times bestselling author Kristina McMorris comes an ambitious and heartrending story of immigrants, deception, and second chances.
Simply told but deeply affecting, in the bestselling tradition of Alice McDermott and Tom Perrotta, this urgent novel unravels the heartrending yet unsentimental tale of a woman who kidnaps a baby in a superstore—and gets away with it for twenty-one years.
Author Helen Klein Ross, whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, weaves a powerful story of upheaval and resilience told from the alternating perspectives of Lucy, Mia, Mia’s birth mother, and others intimately involved in the kidnapping. What Was Mine is a compelling tale of motherhood and loss, of grief and hope, and the life-shattering effects of a single, irrevocable moment.
Citron Bay Press, May 2015
(Enter Contest Below: Win one of 15 print copies of Bridges of Paris. (Open Internationally) Ends May 16)
Description (from amazon.com)
Bridges of Paris is a large-format photography book with over 350 original color images which casts new illumination on the City of Light. The 37 bridges over the Seine River emerge as beautiful, historic destinations rather than unnoticed thoroughfares. The book features stunning portraits of each bridge as well as intimate riverside moments. Once you’ve experienced this river tour, you will never see Paris the same way again. Living as a Parisian for a year, author Michael Saint James left his American lifestyle and spent his days and nights capturing images from over, on, beside and under the bridges of Paris. With over 30 years experience as a photographer, educator and world traveler, Michael immersed himself in French culture to search out his authentic artist self. The result is a visual treasure to share with everyone.
My Review (5 Stars: Loved it!)
I am very happy to have this amazing hardcover book, Bridges of Paris by Michael Saint James for review and to offer a giveaway contest (via iRead Book Tours). This is a beautiful, large ( 14″ x 9.5″, 280 page) color photographic collection featuring the 37 bridges that cross the Seine River in Paris. An integral part of these photographs are the surrounding landscapes, tourists and Parisians.
During his one year sojourn to Paris, author, Michael Saint James, captures multiple images of each bridge along with life in Paris. As Parisian culture is enchanting, so is this book.
Each bridge has a page or two with interesting descriptions about the bridge, it’s history & geography and a helpful aerial map showing location.
I’ve never been to Paris, but feel this book gives a true sense of beauty and life in the city. Each bridge is featured with multiple color photographs over several pages, so you see multiple view points. Most of the photos are on full sized pages, which are stunning. (Below are two examples.)
Bridges of Paris is divided into four sections, Island Bridges, Palace Bridges, Downriver Bridges and Upriver Bridges. This gives a good sense of the geography. I had no idea there were so many bridges.
This list that I’ve created is not all inclusive, but if you are interested in any of these categories, this book is for you.
- Bridge Design & Construction
- Parisian Culture
Bridges of Paris would also be an excellent gift or coffee table book.
Click here for a link to the book trailer.
Below, from the author’s website, are links to some (not all) additional images.
Links to 37 featured bridges (from the author’s website)
Which Bridge is Your Favorite? “Paris has over 350 bridges, just 37 cross the Seine River. Each of these bridges represents a joining place between two unique neighborhoods. Each has a special beauty. Each has its place in history. Experience the bridges of Paris as destinations rather than unnoticed thoroughfares. Find your own favorite bridge. Take the time to let it reveal its beauty to you. You’ll never see Paris the same again.”
About the author (from iRead Book Tours)
Michael Saint James’ artistic pursuits include award-winning book design, film editing, and sound recording, as well as his first love, photography. Saint James is a world traveler, having visited more than 50 countries – doing everything from photographing penguins in Antarctica to trekking the Himalayas.As an educator with California teaching credentials, he has taught media production and technology arts as well as photography, art history and visual storytelling. He is an expert speaker on Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. Indeed, he walked in Vincent Van Gogh’s footsteps through the Netherlands, Belgium, and France in order to immerse himself in that troubled master’s vision.The father of two grown children, Saint James once owned a café in Berkeley, California. He has bicycled from Las Vegas to Washington, D.C. and is rumored to play a mean blues harmonica.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book (ARC), Bridges of Paris by Michael Saint James, free from publisher, Citron Bay Press and iReadBookTours. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
If you would like to read more about Bridges of Paris, click here for a list of other tour stops.