Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Book Review: Under the Southern Sky by Kristy Woodson Harvey

Pages: 400
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: April 20, 2021
Publisher: Gallery
Source: Publisher for review
Other Books By Author: Feels Like Falling,
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Recently separated Amelia Saxton, a dedicated journalist, never expected that uncovering the biggest story of her career would become deeply personal. But when she discovers that a cluster of embryos belonging to her childhood friend Parker and his late wife Greer have been deemed “abandoned,” she’s put in the unenviable position of telling Parker—and dredging up old wounds in the process. Parker has been unable to move forward since the loss of his beloved wife three years ago. He has all but forgotten about the frozen embryos, but once Amelia reveals her discovery, he knows that if he ever wants to get a part of Greer back, he’ll need to accept his fate as a single father and find a surrogate. Each dealing with their own private griefs, Parker and Amelia slowly begin to find solace in one another as they navigate an uncertain future against the backdrop of the pristine waters of their childhood home, Cape Carolina. The journey of self-discovery leads them to an unforgettable and life-changing lesson: Family—the one you’re born into and the one you choose—is always closer than you think. From “the next major voice in Southern fiction” (Elin Hilderbrand, #1 New York Times bestselling author), Under the Southern Sky is a fresh and unforgettable exploration of love, friendship, and the unbreakable ties that bind."


Amelia Paxton thought her life was all sorted out, that is until she finds out her husband was having an affair.  Amelia is a journalist and even writes a column about love, so this is definitely a blow to her ego and her heart.  She returns home to her parents' coastal home in North Carolina with the hope of getting away from it all.  While at home, Amelia is still working on her story about frozen embryos and while doing some research on it, she stumbles upon her childhood best friend, Parker, and his frozen embryos.  It turns out that Parker still has four frozen embryos with his deceased wife, Greer, who froze them prior to her battle with cancer.  During her time at Cape Carolina, Amelia reconnects with Parker and mentions how she stumbled across his embryos and how the fertility center considers them "abandoned."  All of this drudges up a lot of trauma for Parker as well as Amelia as she is infertile and unable to have any biological children of her own due to an ovarian insufficiency, which has haunted her for years.  Both Parker and Amelia find themselves gravitating to one another to help heal their hearts and during this, Parker decides he should find a surrogate for his frozen embryos.  Both characters go through a journey of sorts and rely on each other through it all.  Under the Southern Sky by Kristy Woodson Harvey is a heart-wrenching beach read about starting over, family bonds, and the ups and downs of love and loss.  

Amelia is a character I really enjoyed from the start of Under the Southern Sky. I loved learning more about her childhood on the coast, her friendship with Parker, and her family.  Her career as a journalist was also very interesting, especially with how it intertwined into Parker and Greer's life.  Amelia has a lot to deal with in this novel and I think Harvey developed her character very well. I could empathize with her fertility struggles and admired her determination to help Parker.  Meanwhile in the back of her mind is the ultimate question: Will Parker every get over Greer?

Under the Southern Sky also has excerpts from Greer's journal, which gives us insight into her life prior to her death. This was utterly heartbreaking and may be especially tough for those of you who have lost a loved one to cancer or dealt with a cancer diagnosis of your own.  I have my own issues surrounding this and to be honest was afraid to read certain parts, but Harvey captured the ups and downs of the journey so very well.  It ended up being rather cathartic for me and I think that's a testament to Harvey's writing as well as her ability to handle such a tough issue delicately, not to mention Greer is one heck of a character.  

I was immediately a fan of Greer in Under the Southern Sky, so Amelia's connection with Parker was a tough pill to swallow.  However, as Amelia started to spend more time with Parker and Harvey flashed up back to their childhood and teenage years together, I started to root for them even more. If you want romance in your beach read, you won't be disappointed with Amelia and Parker's relationship.

It sounds like a serious beach read, right? Don't worry. There's a very happy ending that has been neatly tied with a bow, so don't fret.  There's also a great coastal setting that will make you want to spend the evening looking at the stars from a dock on the bay.  In fact, I really enjoyed Under the Southern Sky, because not only did it tackle difficult issues like infertility, cancer, and the death of a spouse, it also offered a message of hope.  I'm glad Harvey included such tough topics in her novel, because life isn't always rainbows and unicorns, but like Parker and Amelia we can still hold out hope for our happy ending.

Are you a fan of Kristy Woodson Harvey? I have been a fan since I read her Peachtree Bluff series.  Is this book on your TBR list?  Let me know what you think in the comments below.



  1. There is just something about dealing with family baggage with the beach in the backdrop. It lessens the sharp edges, I guess.

  2. I'm looking forward to this one! Glad you enjoyed it!

    1. Thanks, Michele! I look forward to your thoughts on it. I hope you enjoy it!

  3. I love the mix of tough and hopeful topics!

    1. Me too! This book balanced it very well! Thanks for visiting, Angela!

  4. Thank you, thank you for this lovely review! So glad you enjoyed UTSS!

    1. Thanks so much for dropping by! I look forward to reading more of your work in the future!


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