Updated: Jul 25
I would love to thank Forge Books for providing me with an advanced review copy of this darling read. This book came out on July 20, 2020. When I first saw the title of the book, I thought, aw how cute! It sounded like it would be a magical and sweet read and I was intrigued. Also I liked how the title of the book rolls off your tongue ‘South of the Buttonwood Tree’, so much fun to say right?!. It reminded me of a book I read many moons ago titled - The Cherry Tree Cafe by Heidi Swain and I loved how sweet that book was. Let’s see if this book gave me the same feels
South of the Buttonwood Tree follows two women: Blue Bishop & Sarah Grace. They both grow up in a small charming town named Buttonwood, Alabama. Blue Bishop has always had a knack for finding lost things and during her time growing up in Buttonwood, she’s come across lost wallets, jewelry, pets, her wandering neighbor and sometimes trouble itself. One day, Blue comes across an abandoned newborn baby in the woods, just south of a very special Buttonwood tree and even Blue herself, is at a loss of words on this special find.
Sarah Grace has always tried very hard to do the right thing her entire life. She is at a crossroads in her life, and her own mother would completely disown her if she ever found out the secrets that Sarah Grace buries inside.
The unexpected discovery of the newborn baby girl will alter both Blue and Sarah’s lives forever. Both women possess the same struggles and must fight for what they truly want in their lives and who they love as well. In doing so, they both uncover long held secrets that expose who they truly are and what they are willing to sacrifice in the name of family.
This was a really sweet story. Let’s talk about what I liked about South of the Buttonwood Tree.
I do have to say that I did enjoy reading this book, it made you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It was quite a comforting read. I also always enjoy books that are based in the south, and this book is truly based in the deep south. Alabama is as south as you can get. In Buttonwood, they are all very much about that small town southern living and southern charm which was quite cute. The story was mainly told from two perspectives, Sarah and Blue. Both equally good characters, I loved Blue’s character much more though. She had loads of character and charm. The rest of the time we sort of got to know the people of Buttonwood which was nice. I loved the quirky little touches on the story, you kind of wanted to be friends with everyone in the book and I enjoyed that aspect of it. Everyone was all up in everyone’s business in this book, but I guess that’s what it actually is like in these small towns! I did like that about the story. It was gossipy and fun. Heather Webber definitely paints quite a vivid picture of Buttonwood and the people of Buttonwood which made the story feel enjoyable and vibrant.
Magical realism is a definite staple in this book, Webber takes us on a journey of folklore surrounding the mysterious Buttonwood tree. Also, you do have this whole other spiritual side to the book which was interesting, I actually feel like if you are the sort of person who is into crystals, and spiritual living then you would very much enjoy reading this book.
The only aspects that I didn’t gel with so much was the writing itself, it wasn’t riveting or magnetic, but it was simply written which makes the book extremely easy to read. I found myself re-reading a lot of sentences, I guess because I wasn't into the story sometimes and I also at times found the book to be borderline cheesy. Like in a very wholesome ‘Full House (the TV show)’ and vanilla way. It’s weird I sort of didn’t mind it as much the more I read the book. The story definitely got better towards the middle and the end, and I enjoyed the little twists and turns that Webber had up her sleeve. I enjoyed the touch of magical realism in this book, it was just enough and not overpowering at all. It made me wish that I had some of these magical powers for my own use.
Heather Webber has written more than thirty novels! Crazy. Her other most popular book is titled Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe. These titles are super cute.
All in all this was a vivid, feel good, hug in a mug, lazy sunny summer day kind of read. This book is about families, past lovers and relationships, dealing with the consequences of your actions, as well as how keeping big secrets can truly carry a heavy weight on your shoulders. It’s a fun book for anyone who likes to bake, like myself! It was a warm and fuzzy read, a good one for when you want a lovely book to warm your heart.
My song pick to complement this sweet read - South of the Buttonwood Tree is: ‘The Way I am’ by Ingrid Michaeleson
Genre: Contemporary Fiction | Magical Realism | Romance
Publication Date: July 21, 2020
Reviewed by Chrissy Books