Under The Southern Sky by Kristy Woodson Harvey

Under the Southern Sky (400 pp. Gallery Books) is Kristy Woodson Harvey’s seventh novel. Mark my words, this is the book that will land her a screenwriting deal and solidify her presence not just on the Southern literary scene, but on the shelves of women’s fiction lovers across the globe; it is that good.

Amelia Paxton, the novel’s protagonist, knew early in her life that motherhood was not in her DNA, biologically or otherwise. She has created a fabulous, carefree life centered around her career in investigative journalism and built in Palm Beach, Florida, with her husband of many years. Yet when Amelia uncovers her husband’s infidelity, her world instantly collapses, and she slowly comes to understand the lack of depth in her relationships since leaving her childhood home, Cape Carolina.

As Amelia returns home, there is a great romance to unpack here, along with a “crazy” Aunt Tilley (complete with tragic backstory) and a host of other characters who round out this extremely readable and compelling tale. Most importantly, this novel is centered around strong female voices (along with an incredible male ally, Amelia’s childhood friend, Parker). Each woman in the story makes incredibly painful choices – to raise a child not biologically theirs, to give birth to a child not biologically theirs, to harvest their embryos while deathly ill – yet these choices involving motherhood are not the only ones their characters face in Under the Southern Sky.

There is such depth of character development and plot on display and Cape Carolina comes alive in this novel; I hope I get a chance to revisit this charming town in another KWH production very soon.

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