Book Review: Lowcountry Stranger

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Lowcountry Stranger by Ashley Farley

Genre: Fiction, Women's Fiction, Drama/Family

From the publisher: There's a stranger in town. And it’s no coincidence when she shows up uninvited at a Sweeney family wedding. All eyes are drawn to this urchin who seems to have washed in with the tide. Before the night is over, the doe-eyed waif charms young and old with her street smarts and spunky personality. For better or worse, Annie Dawn is here to stay.
The memorable Sweeney sisters from Her Sister’s Shoes have returned with more suspense and family drama to hold you spellbound until the dramatic conclusion. As she approaches the next stage of her life as an empty-nester, Jackie is torn between expanding her fledgling design business and spending these last precious months with her boys before they fly the coop. Her own worst enemy, Sam is terrified of making a commitment to Eli Marshall, handsome police officer, true love of her life. Her resolve is tested when a ghost from her past shows up after nearly two decades. Faith nurtures her seven-year- old daughter who is recovering from the trauma of her abusive father. Is the threat in the past, or is there more danger on the horizon? The sisters seek guidance from their mother, Lovie, a true Southern matriarch who shows them how to respond to adversity with grace and dignity.
Things are heating up in the Lowcountry. The Sweeney sisters remind us, once again, that being a part of a family is about more than sharing the same DNA.


Technically, this book is a sequel to Her Sister's Shoes, which was released last summer. Though I was offered a digital copy of that book in addition to this one, I declined, knowing I probably wouldn't have enough time to read both before this review date. I was assured, however, that it wasn't necessary to read the first book before reading this one, and for the most part I think that was true. I'd definitely recommend that anyone interested in this book pick up Her Sister's Shoes first, because I imagine that that debut book gives a much richer background to the characters than we get in this sequel. However, this book does do a great job of recapping the various very dramatic-sounding events of the previous novel. Still, I plan to get the first book soon and do a backwards reading of the series.

I liked a lot of things about this book. The characters are well-established, and by the end of the novel prove to be a truly amazing team and family. It's clear that Farley has no trouble writing strong, independent female role models, as this book is full of them. Even so, they're also characters with plenty of flaws and dark pasts, which makes them all the more realistic. I also truly enjoyed the other characters in the story--the various children, spouses, and family friends. I absolutely love the character of Moses, the huge, ex-football star-turned family therapist who provides so much support and guidance for every character. I honestly wish I had him around to be my personal therapist and life-guide.

While the story starts off at a more leisurely pace, it builds to quite a gripping and dramatic climax. There were a few predictable aspects of this story for me, but some of the more shocking revelations and moments were definitely surprising, and I felt a genuine sense of happiness at the conclusion of the novel. I wasn't as attached to the characters as I believe I would've been if I'd read the first book, but I still hoped for their happiness and read with held breath to see what the outcome would be.

My main complaint about this book deals with the dialogue, which I felt at times was stiff or unrealistic. This is definitely a personal opinion, as each reader prefers to read dialogue in their own way. But I'm someone who prefers and connects to fluid dialogue that uses contractions and seems to match the character it belongs to. In this book, which was very dialogue-heavy, there was too much "you are" and "she is" versus "you're" and "she's" for me. That style of writing (which could also very well be a reflection of the characters' dialects) feels a little more forced to me, and I never feel reflects the way people really tend to talk.

Considering that that's my biggest complaint, this book definitely doesn't have anything to apologize for. It's a truly sweet, touching and charming story about a close-knit Southern family with a ton of love and challenges to go through. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and it was definitely easy to get through at a quick pace.

Find Ashley Farley's author website, Twitter and Facebook at these links.
Get a copy of the book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, or iTunes. Add it on Goodreads too!

Check out the rest of the blog tour here!
P.S. The author of this book is hosting a giveaway for a $50 Amazon gift card here! Check it out and enter!


  1. Nice review, Annie! You write very well.

  2. I enjoy following characters from one book to the next, so even if a book CAN stand alone I generally want to read the previous books just to spend more time with everyone.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!

  3. Thank you so much for your flattering review and for being part of the tour. I'm glad you enjoyed the Sweeney Sisters. I'll work on that dialogue in the future. ;-)