Book Review: The Lights of Sugarberry Cove by Heather Webber

  • Title: The Lights of Sugarberry Cove
  • Author: Heather Webber
  • Where to buy: Amazon (affiliate link)
  • Genre: Magical Realism, Southern Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
  • Would I recommend: This book is for anyone who is enchanted by a Southern accent and a little bit of magic.

From Goodreads:

The Lights of Sugarberry Cove is a charming, delightful story of family, healing, love, and small town Southern charm by USA Today bestselling author Heather Webber.

Sadie Way Scott has been avoiding her family and hometown of Sugarberry Cove, Alabama, since she nearly drowned in the lake just outside her mother’s B&B. Eight years later, Sadie is the host of a much-loved show about southern cooking and family, but despite her success, she wonders why she was saved. What is she supposed to do?

Sadie’s sister, Leala Clare, is still haunted by the guilt she feels over the night her sister almost died. Now, at a crossroads in her marriage, Leala has everything she ever thought she wanted—so why is she so unhappy?

When their mother suffers a minor heart attack just before Sugarberry Cove’s famous water lantern festival, the two sisters come home to run the inn while she recovers. It’s the last place either of them wants to be, but with a little help from the inn’s quirky guests, the sisters may come to terms with their strained relationships, accept the past, and rediscover a little lake magic.

My review:

Heather Webber has done it again. If possible, I think The Lights of Sugarberry Cove is even better than Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe and South of the Buttonwood Tree.

The story is told alternately from Sadie’s, and then Leala’s, point of view. There are some unresolved emotions from the death of their father when they were young, on the part of both mother and daughters. Sadie is uncomfortable being back in a town where everyone sees her as some kind of miracle, her survival a wish granted by the lady of the lake. She’s also got to figure out how she feels about Will, the young man she left behind when she unceremoniously bolted from town. Leala has everything she always thought she wanted, but she isn’t happy, and she struggles to figure out why. And then there’s the consternation when Sadie and Leala learn that the bed and breakfast is in desperate need of some remodeling, and their mother’s finances don’t seem to be in a condition to do that.

Her characters are all so wonderfully imagined, they seem like people you could just sit down and talk to. I think Uncle Camp was my favorite, and sometimes I wanted to just smack Connor because he seemed like such a jerk.

As with Webber’s other books, this story is, at its heart, about family. Sadie, Leala, and Susannah all have flaws and quirks. The other characters are family, too – whether actually related or family tht they’ve chosen (or that has chosen them). Like all families, sometimes tensions and tempers flare. And as tends to happen, sometimes secrets are kept that should have been brought to light long ago. But sharing those secrets so often brings healing, and ultimately, joy and relationships restored.

Not gonna lie, the ending made me cry. Let me say it again: I will grab any of Heather Webber’s books off the shelf without even seeing what they’re about. She is one of my favorite authors. If you like your books full of Southern charm and Southern characters, with a touch of magic, she may become one of your favorite authors, too.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book from Netgalley and Forge Books. All opinions here are mine, and I don’t say nice things about books that I don’t actually like.

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