by Karen White
Narrator: Carolyn Cook, Susan Larkin, Tiffany Morgan
Length: 15 hours and 18 minutes
Genres: Women's Fiction, Suspense
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Narration: 5 cups
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....
Slated for my 2017 top ten audio list, THE NIGHT THE LIGHTS WENT OUT delivered an addictive, heart-warming, and suspenseful tale that kept me listening. Grab a cup of coffee and let me take you to the quiet town of Sweet Apple, Georgia where gossip and southern hospitality go hand in hand.
The tale begins as Merilee Talbot Dunlap, and her two children move to the Atlanta suburb of Sweet Apple, Georgia. Merilee has recently divorced her cheating husband. With an unsupportive family, she finds herself starting over. She and the children are renting a home from the cantankerous town matriarch Sugar Prescott. The two slowly form a friendship that was genuine and filled me with warmth. I grew to love Sugar and Merilee as we watched events unfold.
The story began slowly and pulled me in with its descriptive prose, but when Heather Blackford befriends Merilee, it began to have a darker undertone and surprised me. To my delight, this apple of a tale had a suspenseful thriller beneath its juicy layers. As things unravel in the present, we soon learn the past holds the key. You know Heather, you’ve spied her in town with her little posse of friends. She’s all sugar and sweet, but you know she’ll taste bitter.
The mounting tension and frustration as this suspenseful thread unfolded had me sitting on edge as I listen to the narrations of Carolyn Cook, Susan Larkin, Tiffany Morgan. Each nailed the characters personalities. They breathed life into them through accents, tone, and pacing. I am glad they chose three narrators, although I am sure any one of these narrators could have handled the telling.
White unfolds the tale brilliantly and shares the perspectives of Merilee and Sugar. Sugar’s tales are mostly from the past, and it was effortlessly done. I absolutely love when an author can weave the past and present giving us not one story but two and creating something memorable with them. We are also treated to entries from a local anonymous blogger who shares daily life and southern ways. Foreshadowing and events from the past along with Merilee’s vulnerability provided believability and chills.
Secondary characters, townsfolk, and a love interest all added to the tale as did Merilee’s children. White’s writing style is beautiful. Its’ the kind of story that you slip into and lose track of time. I was transported to Sweet Apple and could feel the breeze, smell the tall grass, and tasted Merilee’s sweet tea.
You’re going to want to grab a copy or audio of THE NIGHT THE LIGHTS WENT OUT as its a must read this summer! It is a read whose characters will stay with you long after the leaves begin to fall.
[bctt tweet=”This summer’s beach listen- The Night the Lights Went Out by Karen White #audio” username=”kimbacaffeinate”]
I haven’t read Karen White but this looks like a good one to try on audio. Glad you (and others) enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you, Martha, I plan to grab more from this author.
I was on the fence about this one and wasn’t sure I’d like it. Seeing that it’s going to make your 2017 Top 10, I definitely need to listen!!
Ooo I look forward to seeing what you think Darlene!
I was sold from the start! But then you mentioned a darker tone, and I got even more excited. When I see you making it as 2017 fav, then I know I have to have it. Sounds fab!
Hehe..you should have seen my face when I realized it was going to have a thriller aspect to it. I was giddy with delight.
This one is on my list Kim, I used to be her exclusive reviewer at RT until they changed editors and the new editor changed things around. I actually got to meet her at a library event last week! She was awesome! Great review, maybe I’ll put in for a audile edition.
That is so cool Debbie. This was my first, but it certainly won’t be my last.
You sold me! Just got it from Audible. Sounds so very good! Hope you are feeling better!
Wahoo! I look forward to your thoughts
The Bibliophile Babe
Okay, I think I need this!
So glad you enjoyed this one. Haven’t read anything from the author yet, but I think I already have an idea what book to start. Great review !
LOL, I hope you enjoy it, Vanessa. This was my first by her 🙂
She’s a new author for me. Sounds like a good book.
This was my first by White and I cannot wait to try more 🙂
This sounds great. I’m glad the author was able to weave past and present well. I also like that it includes a bit of a thriller. 🙂
I was so delighted to see the suspense/thriller aspect it was a nice bonus.
I’ve enjoyed some Karen White stories before and I love how this one sounds. Anything with suspense and I’m all in. 🙂 ~Aleen
I am so glad to have tried her.
Never read anything written by this author. I like the sound of this story, it looks like something I would enjoy.
This was my first by her Nadene but it won’t be my last.
I love the sound of this one! Karen White is an author I really want to read and I like that there’s a suspense story tucked into this one!
Yep, me too and I am so glad the cover spoke to me because this was brilly.
Tyler H. Jolley
Dang Kimba, first the synopsis grabbed me, then your review strapped me in. This sounds soooo good.
It really was Tyler!
Seeing the name, “Sugar,” reminds me of Marilyn Monroe’s character in the movie “Some Like It Hot.” This novel feels like a good beach read. Thanks for the post!
It is a perfect beach read, and I loved the added suspense. I love Monroe.
Neat that a southern charmer turned out to be an equally suspenseful mystery, too. Sounds great!
Right. I was so pleased!
Dang it! I kept waffling on getting a copy of this. Now I am going to have to see if I can get it from my library! Thanks for the helpful review and for adding to my pile.
I hope the library has it and that you enjoy it as much as I did Heidi.
Not one I would normally read, but 5 stars? May have to rethink that. As soon as I saw the cover I thought of Rosie the Riveter. 🙂
I could see you enjoying the suspense/thriller aspect Sherry.
wow a 5-star huh? I’ve seen so many good reviews but have been unsure because I’m not into southern contemporaries too much but do make it sound like the perfect summer read indeed 🙂
The suspense really made this different 🙂
Sounds great, and I have heard a lot of good things about this author so I really need to try her work.
This was my first go with White but it won’t be my last 🙂
I have to read this one sooner rather than later, never mind any review books clamoring for attention. I downloaded this one a couple of weeks ago, but it’s been long enough! I love the sound of these characters and the underlying suspense.
Sweet Apple sounds like the kind of town you want to visit…but maybe wouldn’t want to live there. Thanks for sharing.
I look forward to your thoughts on it Laurel
Fantastic review, Kim! I’m off to find this one.
Acts sugar and sweet but tastes bitter, I like that Kim! This sounds fun and it is completely new to me so yay for something new. I think I will like this one too. I hope my library will have it.
Ooo I hope they do, if not you need to request it!
I haven’t read anything by Karen but this looks like a good read. Glad you enjoyed it 🙂
This was my first, and I really like her style.
I am so happy that you enjoyed this book! I loved it and Karen White is one of my favorite authors!
Wahoo!! I will be reading/listening to more she is a terrific storyteller.
It’s nice to have a story like that. It was a new one to me
This was new to me too Melliane
I should try this one 🙂
Yes. It was wonderful.