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Friday, April 8, 2016

Review: Lies and Other Acts of Love by Kristy Woodson Harvey


Title: Lies and Other Acts of Love
Author: Kristy Woodson Harvey

About the book: 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 fiancĂ© 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 . . .

My thoughts: I loved!! this book. Once I picked it up, I could not put it down.  The story is told from two points of view - Lovey's and her granddaughter, Annabelle's.  

Lovey's story also goes back and forth from the past to the present.  She met her husband, Dan, when she was about 10 years old, but because of the war and both their parents, it was many years before they were actually married. After high school, Dan and his family had moved to another town and he had enlisted in the navy.  It was serendipitous when they ran into each other in New York City when he was on leave. Now many many years later they have raised 5 daughters and Dan and Lovey have aged.  Dan is in a wheelchair with few lucid moments - moments that Lovey cherishes. 

Annabelle has been raised with this circle of women around her.  Her mom and sisters are all very close to each other - as well as to their mother. They have helped each other through joy as well as heartbreak. This is shown during a conversation between Lovey and Annabelle. 
I pushed her away, and I said what I always said to her mother.  "The only thing that matters is that we all know how much we mean to each other. We all know how much we love each other."  I could feel those tears clouding my throat again, thickening it and making it difficult to talk.  "So if I hadn't woken up this morning, you would have known that none of the other mess was important." (p286)
Annabelle has made some of her own messes - which include a lovesick ex-fiance who continues to text her long after she has married another man.  She also discovers a few secrets along the way - and realizes that even those in her family that she thought had perfect relationships had troubles to deal with along the way.  They all had choices to make and it was these choices that had kept their family strong.  Annabelle's choice to marry a man after only 3 days may not have been the wisest choice - but her family is supporting her as best they can.  
And that's the thing about your children.  No matter what they do or how much you disapprove or how much you wish you could change their actions, you love them madly all the same.  At the end of the day, that's the only choice that truly matters. (p218)
Underneath it all is an undercurrent of faith - that God is really the one in control and he can lead you where he wants you to go - even if you can't see it. I loved this gentle reminder that there is someone who loves us and is watching out for us.  (Quotes are from an uncorrected proof)

Okay - I just reread this review and I am not doing justice to this book at all.  It was beautifully written.  They story just flowed effortlessly.  I am going to borrow some endorsements to truly convey this great book. 

"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 ofYour Perfect Life and The Status of All Things 

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About the author: Kristy Woodson Harvey is the author of Dear Carolina, which was recently long-listed for the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize and Lies and Other Acts of Love, a Romantic Times top pick and Southern Booksellers Okra Pick. 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.

~I received a complimentary copy of Lies and Other Acts of Love from the author in exchange for my honest review.~

3 comments:

Beth and Kristy said...

Thank you so much for this beautiful review, Kristi!!! Oh, you just made me so happy! xo Kristy

bermudaonion said...

This sounds so good! The author will be here next week but I'll be at my mom's so I'll miss it. I have to admit I'm kind of bummed about it.

Vicki said...

Hmmm, I thought I commented here yesterday but I guess I didn't. I got her book Dear Carolina when it was first published but haven't read it yet. I think I'll move it to the top of the stack (and read it when I get my review commitments done) and then buy this book.

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