Monday, July 10, 2023

Book Review: Where the Grass Grows Blue

By Sara Steven

Penny Crenshaw’s swift divorce and her husband’s new marriage to a much younger woman have been hot topics around Atlanta’s social circles. After a year of enduring the cruel gossip, Penny leaps from the frying pan into the fire by heading back to Kentucky to settle her grandmother’s estate.

Reluctantly, Penny travels to her hometown of Camden, knowing she will be stirring up all the ghosts from her turbulent childhood. But not all her problems stem from a dysfunctional family. One of Penny’s greatest sources of pain lives just down the street: Bradley Hitchens, her childhood best friend, the keeper of her darkest secrets, and the boy who shattered her heart.

As Penny struggles with sorting through her grandmother’s house and her own memories, a colorful group of friends drifts back into her life, reminding her of the unique warmth, fellowship, and romance that only the Bluegrass state can provide. Now that fate has forced Penny back, she must either let go of the scars of her past or risk losing a second chance at love. Can she learn to live an unbridled life? (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.)

What a beautiful story. Really and truly. It’s rare to read something that flows so effortlessly, yet that’s how I felt about Where the Grass Grows Blue, from start to finish. The relationships between Penny and the other characters within this novel felt incredibly realistic. No one delineated from who they are and how they were flushed out as characters, which made the dialogue and the scenery really stand out. The progression from Penny’s divorce, the trip to Kentucky, and then the fallout afterwards had been perfectly timed and spaced out, so nothing felt rushed or out of place. Perfection, from page one to the last. 

There are so many ways in which I could relate with Penny. She’s had a very rough childhood and the experiences she’s had has helped to shape who she is in the present–for better and for worse. She often questioned her strength, and given the poor relationship she had with her father, it seems life continually places similar personalities in her way, as a means in trying to get her to overcome the fears. She doesn’t see how strong she is, despite that. Not many people could survive what she went through. 

I loved the dynamic between Penny and Bradley! We get flashbacks to the past, later discovering how he had come to be her greatest love, and her greatest mistake. When the reasoning behind that was revealed, I was shocked. I didn’t see that coming at all. So, that was a nice little interesting twist thrown in for good measure. I could also better understand why it was so hard for her to forgive Bradley, because up until that moment, it seemed he really was the perfect character.

The tone to Where the Grass Grows Blue reminded me of the movie Sweet Home Alabama. The small-town feel, the close-knit groups of friends of family, the kind who would never dream of leaving the towns they’d grown up in, not for anything in the world. And of course, the proverbial prodigal “daughter” who returns home, but in this case, there was a deeper level, considering the seriousness of the subject matter involved. Adding that element really elevated everything, making this perfect story an obvious five-star read for me.

Thanks to Author Marketing Experts for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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