The second book in Heather Webber’s magical realism collection takes us to Buttonwood, Alabama… and introduces us to a tree that gives advice and a family raised in The Rabbit Hole.
Author: Heather Webber
Release Date: July 21, 2020
Review Copy: NetGalley*
Blue Bishop has a knack for finding lost things. While growing up in charming small-town Buttonwood, Alabama, she’s happened across lost wallets, jewelry, pets, her wandering neighbor, and sometimes, trouble. No one is more surprised than Blue, however, when she comes across an abandoned newborn baby in the woods, just south of a very special buttonwood tree.
Sarah Grace Landreneau Fulton is at a crossroads. She has always tried so hard to do the right thing, but her own mother would disown her if she ever learned half of Sarah Grace’s secrets.
The unexpected discovery of the newborn baby girl will alter Blue’s and Sarah Grace’s lives forever. Both women must fight for what they truly want in life and for who they love. In doing so, they uncover long-held secrets that reveal exactly who they really are—and what they’re willing to sacrifice in the name of family.
I had just finished reading MIDNIGHT AT THE BLACKBIRD CAFÉ, and was having a bit of a “book hangover” when I started this one. (I loved that book!) What I really wanted was something with the same magical flow, hopefully a little bit lighter, and every bit as engaging.
What I Loved:
I love Heather Webber’s way of creating family. Close-knit, or estranged, or oops!surprise… she just knows how to put people in each other’s hearts. Sometimes it may take a while, but when it happens, it’s for good. And along the way, she puts them in our hearts, too. That’s exactly what happens when Blue Bishop finds a baby at the foot of the Buttonwood Tree, and begins her journey into a family history, and future, that she could have never imagined.
Blue’s ability to find things and deliver them to the people who need them most is a comforting character trait to magical realism lovers. It’s not necessarily unique to the genre, but it’s always a fun addition to the story. Other characters in the town have their own quirks and abilities… all lending themselves to enriching the story, without being obvious or overpowering.
The ensemble in this book is just incredible. The friends “going to bat” for Blue, and those folk who’s prejudices show… they’re all adding layers to the story of the town. I’m especially fond of Marlo, myself, and I think you’ll all love her, too. There are several characters in this book with unanswered questions or misunderstandings in their past. Things that have caused pain for years. Heather’s way of unravelling those threads, and sewing up the seams is just, well… magical. By the end, the secrets have all come out, and the healing has begun, but there’s a whole crazy rollercoaster on the way!
I did find the romances in this story so very sweet, and absolutely right in the scheme of things. When it was all said and done, the loves lost… and loves found… were really the foundation of this story. I loved how they seemed to come full circle and lay the groundwork for what’s to come.
What I Didn’t Love:
Not Heather’s fault, or the story’s fault… but I was really hoping for something a little lighter. This book was AMAZING for the story it told, but it was sometimes intense and a bit weighty. I loved it, but I would have liked to laugh a little more. Unfortunately for me, that just wouldn’t have done this story justice.
Another absolute triumph for Heather Webber, in my opinion. She created a place I’d love to visit, and characters I’d love to watch a movie in the park with. (It’s a thing… read the book… <3) If family drama, self-discovery, and a few helpful nudges from the local wishing tree is your thing, then you’ll absolutely love SOUTH OF THE BUTTONWOOD TREE.