From the New York Times bestselling author of the Tradd Street series comes a stunning new novel about a young single mother who discovers that the nature of friendship is never what it seems....
Recently divorced, Merilee Talbot Dunlap moves with her two children to the Atlanta suburb of Sweet Apple, Georgia. It’s not her first time starting over, but her efforts at a new beginning aren’t helped by an anonymous local blog that dishes about the scandalous events that caused her marriage to fail.
Merilee finds some measure of peace in the cottage she is renting from town matriarch Sugar Prescott. Though stubborn and irascible, Sugar sees something of herself in Merilee—something that allows her to open up about her own colorful past.
Sugar’s stories give Merilee a different perspective on the town and its wealthy school moms in their tennis whites and shiny SUVs, and even on her new friendship with Heather Blackford. Merilee is charmed by the glamorous young mother’s seemingly perfect life and finds herself drawn into Heather's world.
In a town like Sweet Apple, where sins and secrets are as likely to be found behind the walls of gated mansions as in the dark woods surrounding Merilee’s house, appearance is everything. But just how dangerous that deception can be will shock all three women....
Advance Galley Reviews
Merilee's story is fantastic!! I am never disappointed in a Karen White novel! Her books are always engrossing, moving, and beautifully written. I'm afraid I neglected my family while reading this - I could not put it down! The Night The Lights Went Out is a wonderful novel, with an awesome cast of characters. I loved, loved, loved Sugar - she is so well written, and her dialogue is perfect. I grew up in the South, and it so refreshing to read the old Southern terms and comments that Sugar makes. You will definitely not be disappointed in this wonderful novel! Buy it as soon as it is released.
This was my first experience with Karen White, but I knew that she and Beatriz Williams are friends, and Beatriz Williams was my favorite find in the last year, so I was hopeful. I was not disappointed. I loved this book from start to finish. The descriptions of Sweet Apple and its inhabitants, the pithy observations in the blog posts, the Southernisms, and the wry underscore of Sugar's story made this a true joy to read. I'll admit I have a soft spot for stories that juxtaposed in the past and the present, and oh my, Sugar's story was so, so heartbreaking. I will say that I figured out the "big twist" pretty early on; there were just a few too many breadcrumbs that kind of gave it away. So I did find myself a little frustrated with Merilee for not figuring it out sooner, but I was still oddly satisfied (i.e., smug) when the "big reveal" proved me right. There were a few twists I didn't see coming though, mainly ___'s murder and that ___ was the blog's author, both of which made my eyes widen in surprise. All told, I loved this book so much that I want to devour all of her other books immediately. I think I may have found myself another favorite author to add to my literary arsenal. (Thanks to Penguin and their First to Read program for proving the ARC!)
THE NIGHT THE LIGHTS WENT OUT by Karen White is another well-crafted novel full of Southern Charm and mystery. The story follows Sugar, a widow in her 90s, who rents her cottage out to Merilee, a thirty-something divorcee with two children. There is more to these women's pasts than meets the eye and you discover their stories as the book goes on. The story rotates in narration between Sugar and Merilee and while the characters are a lot of like, it's never confusing to keep up with who is talking. The story has a lot more mystery than I expected and characters that really make you feel for them. I did figure out most of the twists pretty early but the story was still very fast paced and well-written. I really liked the way that Sugar's retelling of events from her life was told just an elderly woman would tell them - going just far enough to get you enraptured and then catching herself before she says too much and changes topics. It reminded me of how my grandmothers told stories. White has the ability to capture multiple generations with ease and grace in her novels. This novel is no exception to that and was very enjoyable. 4 stars.
I received an ARC of this novel from First to Read.
Thanks First to Read for this ARC.
Being from Louisiana, I feel like I've encountered the people in this book. It's truly another world here in the south, and I love books like this. You'll laugh, cry, and applaud as you read this amazing novel.
This is my second Karen White book (my first being another First To Read book - Flight Patterns) and it's enough that I realize I need to go read her other stuff. It's engaging while also being easy and definitely a nice break when I've been reading a lot of non-fiction or textbooks.
I will say that I did like Flight Patterns more - which isn't to say that this one wasn't good, it just wasn't a home run. I did have an inkling about where the book was going pretty early on, and I sometimes felt Sugar was a little too stereotypical. That's not to say it ruined it for me or came close to ruining it - just knocked it down from a 5 star to a 4 star. If you've read this one and haven't checked out any of her others, I recommend Flight Patterns for sure, and again, I'll be looking at her others.
Thanks for the ARC! This is the first book I've read by Karen White and it was definitely a good page turner. I love a good thriller and the author did a good job of building suspense in the right places. I would say that it was a little predicable about half way in who the villain of the book would turn out to be but there were enough twists and turns, lies and secrets, to keep me engaged until the end.
Once again, Karen White is literary gold. She has risen to the top with her new book. Everything was sheer perfection from the scenery to character development. I loved the parallels drawn between Sugar and Merrilee. As the book progressed, there was a whole lot more to Merrilee's past that was brought to the surface and led to a brilliant culmination. I would have to say that is my favorite book by this author and it is obvious that she still has so many more stories to tell.
Our pasts lurk behind us, filled with things we might not want to remember, but they'll never be forgotten. Karen White's The Night The Lights Went Out follows two women, generations apart, who each have secrets in their past that are resurfacing.
Merilee Dunlap has moved with her two children to Sweet Apple, Georgia after divorcing her husband and his infidelity. In her new home, a cottage being rented out by 93 year old Sugar Prescott, Merilee finds that starting her life over again will have its challenges, particularly with an anonymous blogger making observations and airing the hidden secrets of residents, but in making new friends with the moms at her children's new school, she's not in it alone. As Sugar finds herself connecting with Merilee, against her initial wishes, she tells stories of Sweet Apple when she was young, allowing Merilee to see the town and the women she's becoming friends with in a new light.
The development of the friendship and story sharing between Merilee and Sugar seemed natural and worked quite well to build their characters and move the story forward. I enjoyed the southern words of wisdom that were provided in the blog entries, as they helped to provide some levity to the otherwise relatively heavy stories being shared. The narrative was an incredibly slow burn, with the culmination as a rapid flash; however, there were plenty of details that were practically bashed upside the head of the reader to point to the culprits, removing a thrill at finally "finding out" who was behind everything.
Overall, I'd give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Thank you for the ARC copy of this book. I have read a many of Karen White's books before and enjoyed them all. This book was fantastic and is probably one of my favorite by this author! I loved the characters and their stories. Great book!
Thank you to Penguin's First to Read Program for providing me with an ARC copy of the book .
This is southern storytelling at its best. It is a story of friendships, secrets , revenge and even a little romance with a healthy dose of old-fashioned southern advice tossed in for some spice. I found it to be an enjoyable read even though there were times when I wanted to knock some common sense in- or naivete out -of Merilee. The evolution of Merilee's and Sugar's friendship through storytelling was pitch perfect and the gradual telling of their secrets kept me interested throughout. I liked that the story kept growing in history and complexity. The use of the blog was ingenious, in my opinion, even if you might guess anonymous' identity fairly early on. In order not to supply any spoilers, I will just say that I felt there were a few flaws in the one storyline that bothered me slightly but I still thoroughly enjoyed the tale. I have enjoyed many of Karen White's novels and I feel that this can be included as one of her best.
I would like to thank First to Read, and Berkley Books for an ARC of "The Night the Lights Went Out" by Karen White, for my honest review. The genres of this book are women's fiction and mystery. I always enjoy Karen White's novels, and I think this is my favorite. I find that the author's descriptions of the characters and life in Georgia are intriguing and colorful.
Merilee, a new divorcee moves with her two young children into a cottage in Georgia that is owned by Sugar Prescott. Sugar is in her nineties and is one of the towns most senior and knowledgeable residents. Sugar appears to be very cold to most neighbors, with the exception of a few. For some reason, Sugar's defenses are down and she seems to connect with Merilee and her children.
Healther is another character, portrayed as wealthy, beautiful, organized with beautiful children and a handsome husband. Heather befriends Merilee and insists on sharing her life with her.
All of these characters have major secrets.Some things are not what they seem. Also, there is a town blog that is written by an anonymous neighbor, who seems to know everything and everyone.
I love the way Karen White writes about friendship. What is a true friend? The characters are complex, and life is complicated. We also get to see the timeline and characters in Sugars' life,which also was complicated. There is life and death.
The author writes about friendship,family, betrayal,revenge,loyalty, love and hope. I would highly recommend this novel as an entertaining and gripping read.
Karen White has done it again. Another good book about the South. The characters are likeable (mostly) and there is a little of everything in the storyline...a damsel in distress, secrets, more secrets, mystery, murder, friendships and last but not least romance.
Everyone needs to meet and know a Sugar. She is a wise sage with a big heart, but she doesn't want you to know that.
This book was an easy read and even though there are tense moments, it will hold your interest without harm. I enjoyed the "Southernisms". When I am in my 90's I hope to have red hair, too.
On a quiet afternoon, take this book with a glass of sweet tea and sit outside on the porch to read. Enjoy!
An easy read with engaging characters and an interesting plot. I won't go into much detail, as I feel that it would veer too far into spoiler territory, which I personally hate. The main character took a little while for me to like, but once she settled into life in the small, affluent neighborhood, she really began to grow on me.
As I read it in about a day, I would suggest this as a good 'beach' book: easily read over a few afternoons in the warm sunshine. Enough tense moments and questions asked to keep you interested and entertained, but nothing so troubling as to disturb your sleep.