Advance Galley Reviews
This is a wonderful story of learning to start over. I loved the way this goes from past to present through thoughts and stories. I loved the characters. This shows the gossip that can get one in trouble. It is great how Sugar and Merilee end up connecting. I received an ebook copy from Firsttoread for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
I could not stop reading Karen White's new book, "The Night the Lights went out". The story of a newly divorced woman who moved into a cottage with her 2 children belonging to 92 year old Sugar Prescott. The story of their growing friendship is interspersed with the past. Merilee also becomes caught up with the parents at her children's school. Behind the surface of this little town lies deception and danger. The interweaving of the 2 storylines is handled beautifully by White, who has created a very intriguing story in this character driven novel.
I loved this book! I definitely recommend for a good summer pool read. 4 stars of 5
Great mystery! I really enjoyed this new read by Karen White. I found the characters interesting and the plot intriguing. I look forward to reading more from this author in the future.
I hate to say it, but this book was definitely disappointing. The other books I have read by Karen White have been quite good so I was excited to get the opportunity to read the ARC copy of this book. I found most of it predictable, unbelievable, and overall, just kind of boring. It took me forever to finish because I really just didn't care. I'll probably try one of her books again since I've enjoyed them in the past, but it will probably be a while.
I really enjoyed this book. In the beginning of the book, I felt it was a slow read. As I continued to read the story got more interesting and I found that I didn't want to stop reading.
I fell in love with Sugar, she was both stubborn and loving in her own way. I thought it was great how she helped Merilee with her children.
This is the first book I have read written by Karen White. I can't wait to read another book by her.
The Night the Lights Went Out, by award winning author Karen White, is an intriguing story of karma, revenge, redemption, and a most unlikely friendship.
Merilee Talbot Dunlap is newly divorced and is moving her two young children to attend a new school after the scandal of their father and a third grade teacher. Her in-laws were so appalled by their son's behavior that they have offered to pay for their grandchildren to attend a private school. Merilee has rented a cottage from Sweet Apple matriarch Sugar Prescott to be nearer to the school and to start over on her own.
Miss Sugar, 94 and crusty, has sworn to not care for another person she could lose. She is straight talking, mincing no words, and, while respected, has few within her inner circle. But those that are have a very special place indeed. As the two women become acquainted, it is clear that they foster a tenuous trust, sharing past happenings in a way that surprises them both.
At the same time, socialite and school leader Heather Blackford takes a shine to Merilee, even calling her her "project." She is overly generous and far too kind, but Merilee is in such a low place Heather's attention lulls her into playing an unwitting role in a diabolical scheme.
As the past returns to haunt Merilee, new friends Wade Kimball and attorney Lindi Mathews stand beside her in the face of unimaginable trials. Even her ex-husband Michael, and especially Miss Sugar, come to her aid. In fact, if not for Miss Sugar, the scheme may have actually worked and the schemer gotten away with murders.
The use of foreshadowing is expertly orchestrated as you await what is to come rather like a Hitchcock thriller. But, the last 75 pages are so will take you on a page turning wild ride until the climax on a dark and stormy night. Well done, Ms. White! I do recommend this book.
Couldn't put it down. This was one of my beach reads. The characters were relatable. The plot moved quickly. I really enjoyed this book. Will look for more by this author.
I received this ARC from Penguin books. I found the plot well developed and the story line intriguing. I found the characters interesting and wanted to know more. I would probably read another book by this author.
A book about life's realities of love not traditional but real, among a community of regular people living extraordinarily.
I don't know why I initially thought this was a chick-lit book. I mean, it's not described as chick-lit (and in case you're wondering, I don't think there's anything wrong with that genre, I just don't read a lot of it). However, "The Nights the Lights Went Out" is a great mystery book that also holds awesome characters and even a little white dog who saves the day.
Merilee and her two children have moved to a rental cottage behind Sugar Prescott's house following her divorce from Michael. Merilee's esteem has really taken a beating as Michael had an affair with her daughter Lily's teacher, who is now pregnant. While Merilee has a job and the reader can tell there is some fire inside of her somewhere waiting to get out, she also has a lot of secrets and has a lot of reasons for hating herself. Merilee starts to make some new friends mainly through contact with the uppity parents at Lily and her son Colin's new school. A lot of people Merilee meet seem fake and what I call "status concerned" which isn't really a priority for her. But on top of that, you have to throw in the character of Sugar. Sugar is a 93/94 year old woman who has lived in the area her whole life. She really has no need for people and mainly just associates with her best friend forever, Willafaye and her grandson, Wade. Sugar and Merilee connect for some reason, even though it's obvious Sugar really doesn't want another connection in her life. They both see parts of themselves in the other one and I think it initially scares them both.
So basically the plot is a lot of character developments, several mysteries including a freshly discovered dead body and remnants of a possible murder from years gone past, a lot of "mean girl" actions, and flashbacks from Sugar's life. There's some romantic interest as well which develops through the course of the book but it's minor and I love that White didn't make it a focal point of the novel. Did I mention how awesome I found Sugar? I don't know if it's because he reminds me of the female equivalent of my 95 year old grandfather who I dearly love or if it's just her spunk and sass, but if I had to have a landlady right now, she would be the one I'd want.
Finally, who knew? There is a little stray white dog who saves the day (but I won't tell you whose day or how because you know, spoilers). Colin finally names her Dixie which is fitting in so many ways but you'll have to read to find out. I honestly think I might be recommending this book for some time to come. I didn't expect to love it so much and those are the kinds of books which tend to stick in my mind. If you are interested in a good book about friendships and family with a decent mystery subtlety thrown in, then definitely consider Karen White's newest release.
Another amazing read from Karen White - I became a fan with "The Sound of Glass". Merilee Dunlap is starting over again but this time with her two young children in Sweet Apple, GA. Friendship happen with young and old, new relationships and a past that can come back to haunt a person. Amazing characters a great story.
Thanks to Penguin First to Read for the advance e-book!
There wasn't anything particularly good or bad about this novel. It was an average story about average people doing average everyday things. Divorce, petty dramas, a gossip blog, and trips down memory lane. By the middle of this novel I was just plain tired of all of the characters. Marilee made me wonder in the beginning about what could have happened with her brother, Sugar was very reminiscent of older southern ladies I grew up with, and Colin was just adorable. But by the middle of this book I couldn't force myself to keep caring enough to finish. And once I have to force it, it's over.
I received this book as part of Penguin's First to Read program, free of charge in exchange for my honest review.
This was the first book I have read by Karen White and it won't be my last. I enjoyed her writing and how she was able to draw me into Merilee and Sugar's lives. I had figured out the plot twist about half way through but the story was so good, I wanted to keep reading it. It was refreshing to read a story that had ex spouses who didn't completely hate each other.
My only complaint was the formatting of this book. When reading it on my 1st gen Nook, the line numbers along the side were annoying. I know that this sometimes happens with advance copies of books.
Karen White is one of those authors that you can pretty much count on to tell a great tale. She has a way of writing that just moves the plot along, with not too much or too little detail. This was one of my favorites that I've read, although I think The Sound of Glass still retains top honor. There is something about a little old lady with chutzpah that gets me, and Sugar Prescott was worth the weight of this book in gold! The character of Merilee was superbly crafted. At times I wanted to shake her and tell her to wake up, but then I realized that her situation at this time in her life completely warranted her behavior. There are secrets revealed bit by bit within the novel, that serve to validate why the characters are who they are. While I did figure out what, and who, done it before the reveal, I was engrossed enough in the characters lives that I didn't feel at all cheated out of a big aha moment. Extra kudos to the blog inserts in the novel, complete with southern sayings and the meaning behind them. A great addition to the plot.
Any fans of Big Little Lies will love this take on the haves and have-nots in a private school arena (complete with a murder), with an awesome little old lady thrown in. Another winner by Ms. White.
The Night the Lights Went Out by Karen White was a great read that was hard to put down. I really enjoyed getting to experience the life of Merilee, her two children and Sugar. Merilee and Sugar each are living with secrets that they haven't shared with anyone, that is until they started gaining trust in each other. By sharing their secrets to us, it helped me see how depending on the person you can live with such secrets and pain until you meet the person you feel you can confide in and they will understand what you are going through. From this story it showed me that no matter if you were living in the past or in the present the secrets and pain that one feels is the same. By sharing these secrets it helped them get through the storm making each of them a stronger person along the way. Thank you First to Read for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this book. I can't wait to read more books by Karen White.
What an awesome read. I can't remember being so captivated by a book and it's characters like I was with this book in a very long time. I loved everything about it, the people in its pages, the awesome Georgia setting and oh the fabulous mystery to solve, which I didn't figure out until the final pages. Perfection!
I loved getting acquainted with Merilee and her two little children. And of course my favorite character was Sugar. She was grumpy goodness and I loved every minute of her. The back and forth between Sugar and Merilee was so good, the way they slowly came to know each other and share themselves, it was so tender and so so delicious. As they told each other their stories and their secrets, I was so happy to be there with them, this young divorcee and her 90 year old landlady, as they discovered true friendship and what that really means. It was a very lovely look at what loving and caring for someone truly means. I loved that theme in this book.
I adored the mystery part of this story, too. There was a little Mean Girls, meets Big Little Lies and some Gossip Girl thrown in too. It was shivery goodness. And the closing pages were fabulous, hold on to your seats it's about to get rough, and I loved every minute of it.
Oh and last but not least, there was Wade. Ya, he was delicious too.
I highly recommend this one to anyone who loves a good story about love, trust, secrets and friendship, with a big heap of thrilling mystery thrown in. It was an awesome read.
this was a delightful read and I couldn't put the book down. As a Georgia girl, I loved the setting and had to say it was a very accurate description. If you are looking for a unique writing style and a story about female friendship and secrets this is the book for you!
Thank you First to Read-Penguin for this arc.
I will start off with my likes, then my dislikes, and finally; my personal thoughts.
This is a story about Merilee and Sugar. Merilee is the younger woman and Sugar is the older women. Both have secrets they want to bury or they have something to hide from each other.
What didn't I like about this novel?
1. Certain scenes seemed far-fectched. It could of done without a particular scene that didn't need to be there.
2. I didn't care for Merilee's character. She was able to figure out who the blogger was, but she couldn't smell a setup a mile away.
3. The had had's drive me crazy as of late. And there are wonky word choices.
4. It switches back in time and present time. Past is Sugar's version of events and the present is Merilee's version of events. The third point of view and first point of view did kick me out of the story a few times.
5. And it had a predictable plot. I solved it halfway through the book.
What did I like about the novel?
1. I loved Sugar's character. It was a nice change to have a tough older woman. I loved her witty sarcasm. She could be anyone's grandmother.
2. I enjoyed the ending.
3. There were a few phrases that I won't forget. "You're either the bug or the windshield." And another about life in general. It knocked the air out of my lungs.
4. I loved the suspense and action.
5. I enjoyed the kids in this novel. It showed how the kids were glued to technology at first, and then it showed the kids didn't depend on technology at the end of the story.
6. I loved the southern appeal and many of those sayings are true.
What are my personal thoughts?
This is fair warning to those who may be sensitive. There is a rape scene in the book. I feel that the author could have done without the rape scene, but that's neither here or there. I did rank this at 3.5 stars, but I have to round it up to a four. Sugar saved the story for me.
A slow-paced semi-thriller that takes place in the South. More of an ode to female friendship than thriller.
Sugar, who is in her 90s, rents out her cottage to Merilee, a newly divorced woman.
Both women have huge secrets that they must trust each other with so that they don't ruin their lives.
This book is unputdownable. Seriously, I finished it about 25 days ahead of schedule. For the past week I've wanted to do nothing but read this book, to the detriment of the other books I'm currently working on.
Marilee is a 36 year old divorced mother of two trying to start a new life on the other side of her small town in Georgia. Sugar is her cantankerous 93 year old landlady. They both have a lot in common. And when secrets from the past come back to haunt Merilee and someone vicious decides to make use of them, Merilee and Sugar's friendship helps them through the storm.
It's one part mystery, with some suspense thrown in, a dash of romance, and a whole lot of women kicking ass. No damsels in distress here. Even the dog who helps ensure the happy ending is female.
I received a free digital galley of this book through Penguin's First to Read program. And to be honest I did the "guarantee my copy" option because it's Karen White and I love Karen White and I knew it was going to be really good, but it was even better than expected.
Just like false friends, this book draws you in with the feeling that it is mostly about those little secrets that people have and try to keep to themselves. It is much more. You think you are reading the story of Merrilee, a new divorcee who is trying to get back her confidence in the wake of her husband's betrayal. You think you are reading the story of Sugar, the last member of a big family who isn't used to sharing her life with anyone. Slowly through the course of the book the reader watches as Merrilee and Sugar become friends and reveal the little corners of their histories to each other. You think that is the book you are reading. But no, Ms. White seems to forget she is writing a sweet little book about friendship and making connections. The mysteries in this book aren't just about Merrilee's brother and Sugar's husband. She provides plenty of foreshadowing and as things unfold I knew where the story was headed next but it was still a wonderful and exciting journey!
Welcome to Sweet Apple, Georgia, home to great southern ways, iced tea, mean girls, an interesting blog and secrets. This is what Merilee finds in her new town where she rents a home from Sugar Prescott.
Sugar is a great character. Old south, old school and plenty of stories hidden in her life. In Merilee, she finds a bit of herself and becomes a friend to her and wise source.
Merilee is a sweet person. Trusting, mom of two, recently divorced and a secret or two of her own. It's a good thing Sugar takes a liking a her.
Lots of secrets unfold and you may think you know the things going on but do you really know them all? The end could provide a surprise.
I very much enjoyed this book, the second one I've read by Karen White. I encourage others to read and enjoy as I did.
I just started reading Karen White's books a couple of years ago. Those that I have read have been enjoyable, always heavy on the family drama and mystery with a bit of romance thrown in. With this newest book Karen White has firmly planted herself of my list of must read authors. The Night the Lights Went Out was a fantastic book. I couldn't get enough and found myself devouring it whenever I had the chance. I flew right through and loved the chapters that included Sugar's memories the most. If you are a Karen White fan I have no doubt you will love this one!
*Thank you to First to Read for a free digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
This is he first novel by Karen White I've read and it won't be my last. It pulled me in from the first chapter and I had a hard time putting it down to finally go to sleep at night. The story involves several characters, but the meat of the novel is about two women, many years apart in age, their secrets and their friendship as it builds throughout the story.
I loved Merilee but Sugar is my favorite character. She truly made the novel so exciting and her story was both heartbreaking and beautiful. I always enjoyed reading about Sugar and life.
While I figured out the a large part of the story early on, Karen White kept the story so enthralling I had to continue reading especially to find out the secrets of both Merilee and Sugar. The Night the Lights Went Out is just a fantastic read. You won't be disappointed, nor will you be able to put it down. Thank you to Penguin First to Read for the ARC!
This is the first book I read by Karen White, and it did not disappoint. The first half of the book was enjoyable, although a bit slow, but by the second half I coundn't put it down. I did figure out a major part of the plot twist early on, but that did not detract from the book's engrossing ending. Everyone should have someone like Sugar in their life. Even though she tries to distance herself from others, she was so kindhearted and to those she let into her life. And the chapters about her in her youth were a great deviation from the maim plot line. I loved this book and would highly recommend it.
I enjoyed The Night The Lights Went Out, by Karen White... but I can't say that I was completely enthralled. I think if someone was a slow reader, or only had time to read a chapter or two at a time, they would not be pulled into the story enough to continue reading it. I did like getting to know all of the characters, and found Merilee & Sugar to be quirky and interesting. However- I figured out who was behind the all of Merilee's problems in Chapter 29 (it's fairly obvious)—and then had 7 or 8 chapters left where I just wanted to shake some sense into her- Open Your Eyes!! White is a good writer, I just wish she would have used her talents to create a smarter protagonist. One who knew better than to use 1111 as her password (for everything) and share it with everyone she met, and could set up her own fb account (and check it occasionally, too).
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.