Review: 'Dear Carolina' by Kristy Woodson Harvey (2015)
One baby girl.
Two strong Southern women.
And the most difficult decision they’ll ever make.
Frances “Khaki” Mason has it all: a thriving interior design career, a loving husband and son, homes in North Carolina and Manhattan—everything except the second child she has always wanted. Jodi, her husband’s nineteen-year-old cousin, is fresh out of rehab, pregnant, and alone. Although the two women couldn’t seem more different, they forge a lifelong connection as Khaki reaches out to Jodi, encouraging her to have her baby. But as Jodi struggles to be the mother she knows her daughter deserves, she will ask Khaki the ultimate favor…
Written to baby Carolina, by both her birth mother and her adoptive one, this is a story that proves that life circumstances shape us but don’t define us—and that families aren’t born, they’re made…
Over the past two years or so I've picked up numerous women's fiction reads focussing on different aspects of giving away children/adoption/custody battles. It appears to be quite a popular topic, which is understandable since it's not only an emotional and often heartbreaking one, but also a realistic and relatable one in this day and age. When I was contacted by author Kristy Woodson Harvey about reviewing her debut novel 'Dear Carolina', I was straight away intrigued by the blurb and had the feeling the novel would be a gripping and emotional read. To celebrate 'Dear Carolina's' release this week, you're in with a chance of winning a $1,000 Shop Design Chic Shopping Spree (www.shopdesignchic.com) To enter: Send proof of purchase of 'Dear Carolina' (photos are fine!) to readdearcarolina@gmail. Every book is an extra entry, so be sure to enter this exciting giveaway if you decide to get a copy of the book!
Frances Mason, also known as Khaki, seems to have the perfect life: a successful career as an interior designer, two beautiful homes, and a loving family with her gorgeous husband and cute son. However, she can't help but still crave the second child she always dreamed of having. Jodi, Frances' husband's cousin, is nineteen years old and finds herself in a tough position; just out of rehab after having battled alcoholism and dumped by her boyfriend when he found out she was pregnant. How can she start a new life for herself without a job, a decent home, and a baby on the way? It seems like Frances and Jodi can help each other out, but will Jodi really be able to give her new-born baby to someone else? And can Frances set aside the idea of having another child of her own and instead take on someone else's...?
'Dear Carolina' is a gripping story, told from the perspective of two fascinating but incredibly different women. On the one hand there's Jodi, who is young and naive and has suffered a lot in her life; on the other hand we have Frances/Khaki, who is a confident and strong woman who seems to have build a perfect life for herself but is still longing for another child to love and nurture. The story is told from both of these women's point of view as they are writing letters to Carolina, and both their stories were really captivating and emotional to read. Kristy Woodson Harvey really managed to make the characters and their struggles come to life and their story held me in its grip until the very last page.
The novel is mainly set in Kinston, North Caroline and clearly written in a true Southern voice. While I did have to get used to this a bit in the beginning (especially Jodi's chapters), eventually it definitely grew on me and added something distinctive to the novel and the author's writing style. This book is a convincing and touching story about family, love, and making choices, and undoubtedly a read many women's fiction fans will enjoy. 'Dear Carolina' is a convincing, sweet and emotional debut novel and a promising start to Kristy Woodson Harvey's writing career. I already look forward to picking up more of her work in the future and am curious to see what she will treat us to next!