cover image The Secret to a Southern Wedding

The Secret to a Southern Wedding

Synithia Williams. Canary Street, $18.99 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-335-43053-3

Williams (the Heart and Soul series) launches her Peachtree Cove series with a pitch-perfect small-town romance focused on forgiveness, second chances, and new beginnings. Successful big-city obstetrician Imani Kemp has no desire to return to Peachtree Cove, Ga., where, as a child, she witnessed her father’s mistress shoot her mother, Linda (who survived). In the aftermath, the small-town gossip mill put Imani and Linda, now divorced, through the wringer. Then Linda, who still lives in Peachtree Cove, announces she’s getting married in a month to a man she just met, and Imani reluctantly returns home, determined to stop the wedding. She’s prepared to face her demons—but she’s unprepared for the attraction she feels to her soon-to-be stepbrother, bartender Cyril Dash. Peachtree Cove has been a haven for Cyril and his widowed father, Preston, in the years since Cyril’s mother’s murder. Cyril has also witnessed firsthand how happy Linda and Preston make each other, so as Imani works to split them up, he works to keep them together. Along the way, their mutual attraction grows into an emotional connection they cannot deny. It’s a joy to watch Imani’s walls fall down, and readers will swoon over sensitive Cyril. The older couple are equally endearing, and the charm of Peachtree Cove only enhances the proceedings. Readers will eagerly look forward to revisiting this quaint community. Agent: Tricia Skinner, Fuse Literary. (Aug.)