Review: Sweet Tea and Sympathy (Book #1: Southern Eclectic Series) by Molly Harper

ST&SNestled on the shore of Lake Sackett, Georgia is the McCready Family Funeral Home and Bait Shop. (What, you have a problem with one-stop shopping?) Two McCready brothers started two separate businesses in the same building back in 1928, and now it’s become one big family affair. And true to form in small Southern towns, family business becomes everybody’s business.

Margot Cary has spent her life immersed in everything Lake Sackett is not. As an elite event planner, Margot’s rubbed elbows with the cream of Chicago society, and made elegance and glamour her business. She’s riding high until one event goes tragically, spectacularly wrong. Now she’s blackballed by the gala set and in dire need of a fresh start—and apparently the McCreadys are in need of an event planner with a tarnished reputation.

As Margot finds her footing in a town where everybody knows not only your name, but what you had for dinner last Saturday night and what you’ll wear to church on Sunday morning, she grudgingly has to admit that there are some things Lake Sackett does better than Chicago—including the dating prospects. Elementary school principal Kyle Archer is a fellow fish-out-of-water who volunteers to show Margot the picture-postcard side of Southern living. The two of them hit it off, but not everybody is happy to see an outsider snapping up one of the town’s most eligible gentleman. Will Margot reel in her handsome fish, or will she have to release her latest catch?

Review. Text on the string. Conceptual 3d image

Source: Netgalley          My Rating: 4½/5 stars

Margot Cary never expected to leave Chicago, but after a disastrous public event she organized and orchestrated, Margot isn’t just leaving Chicago, she’s tucking her tail and running.  That tends to happen when no one in the industry, including her own employer will not return her calls and inquiries, let alone offer her a job. 

As she bounces along the highway in a (gasp!) pick-up truck, Margot can’t believe she’s gone from the big city to a spot on a map known as Lake Sackett, Georgia.  At the behest of her relatives, on her long-absent father’s side, Margot is in the heart of the South hoping to keep her head down until the scandal blows over and she can move on to a new “real” job.  Until that blessed moment arrives, Margot is living on the family compound and learning the ropes at the family owned funeral home and bait shop.  Within a nanosecond, her entire extended family and the population of Lake Sackett knows Margot is in town and is excited to meet her.  So much for keeping her head down.  

Margot has never been the shy and retiring type, so she dives right into life in Lake Sackett.  That means, meeting all her relatives, determining how she feels about the reappearance of her father in her life, and becoming a reluctant pet owner.  To complicate things, Margot can’t help but get involved in local events which leads her to the local school and principal Kyle Archer. Kyle is by far the most interesting man in town, and he is in desperate need of Margot’s event planning skills.  The local school/town festival is coming up and if Kyle can pull off a hit, he may finally be able to wrest control of school from the hands of her former, busy body principal.  As an added bonus, planning the school/town festival means spending time with delectable Kyle Archer.  There are worse ways to spend her limited time in town. 

While Margot has only the best of intentions, not everyone in town is pleased with her presence or her involvement with town affairs and eligible bachelors.  In fact, as Margot quickly discovers, small town resentment can burn just as hot as big city jealousy and pettiness.  As the weeks go by, Margot becomes more heavily involved with the town and Kyle than she ever imagined possible.  Her family, some crazy and some delightful, always have her back during the madness, and that’s something Margot has never had in her entire life.  As the festival draws ever nearer, Margot startlingly begins to see herself not only staying in Lake Sackett, but actually enjoying her life there.  Of course, that’s precisely the moment the universe decides to offer Margot a new, much-hoped-for opportunity.   With life altering choices and decisions to be made, Margot must weigh her options carefully. 

The Bottom Line: There is all kinds of quirky and awesome to love about Sweet Tea and Sympathy and I did indeed love every bit of it.  From the moment Tootie calls Margot and invites her to Lake Sackett to the moment Margot sticks it to those who deserve it, I was all over this book.  Margot has some pretty serious moments of awesome (every dog catcher scene!) coupled with some moments of pure stupidity.  No matter what she does though, her crazy family has her back and that is really what this book is all about.  Family, friendship, trust, and loyalty are the pervading themes which makes Sweet Tea and Sympathy an incredibly happy read.  The HEA is a given and with the number of people in the family, another book or nine is also guaranteed.

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