Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Review & Giveaway: Southern Charmed by Melanie Jacobson

Heidi Reads... Southern Charmed by Melanie Jacobson

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it


Lila Mae Guidry is a Southern girl through and through. As a fourth-generation Latter-day Saint in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, she’s proud of her heritage as both a Southerner and a Saint—and she doesn’t take kindly to people who disparage either. Ten years ago, Max Archer was just that kind of jerk. As the mission president’s son, Max spent his entire three years mocking the South . . . and teenage Lila. After Max’s family moved away, Lila forgot about her sworn enemy. Almost.

When a new job brings a grown-up Max back to Baton Rouge, Lila is less than thrilled with his reappearance, especially since everyone seems intent on throwing her together with this old adversary. Yet fight as she may, Lila soon realizes resistance is futile—their connection is undeniable. Max embodies everything she wants in a man—except perhaps the most important thing—her life is rooted in the city she loves, but his dreams are bigger than Baton Rouge. With such mismatched visions of the future, Max and Lila are faced with a life-altering decision: jeopardize their aspirations or risk losing love.

My Review

What a fun book with a great sense of setting! Baton Rouge is a huge element in this book and it totally made me want to visit Louisiana and try all the food that the main characters were swooning over ;) Lila Mae is one of those women who is beautiful and independent with an inner strength... and everyone wonders why she isn't married yet. I loved that even though she struggles with difficult feelings when it seems all the young women around her are planning weddings or having babies, she is determined to trust God and be happy with the life she has. The subplot of Lila helping a bright student trapped in poverty reach above her circumstances was inspiring and showed how compassionate and thoughtful Lila is.

Max is a charming leading man, but because the story is told in first person from Lila's perspective and she initially harbors a grudge against him for being a punk as a teen, it was harder for me to move past that, even though Lila seems to pretty quickly. They begin with friendship but since the chemistry is sizzling between them from the start, the romance naturally grows in spite of Lila's misgivings about his temporary stay in Baton Rouge. I love how they relate to each other, it's very real and they don't hide their flaws from each other.  It was refreshing to see them face and work through their differences. The other subplot of Lila's sweet grieving mother touched my heart and even brought a few tears at the end.

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