The night the lights went out

Karen White

Book - 2017

"From the New York Times bestselling author of Flight Patterns 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..."--

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New York : Berkley 2017.
First edition
Physical Description
406 pages ; 24 cm
Main Author
Karen White (author)
Review by Booklist Review

Merilee Talbot Dunlap is starting over on the other side of Sweet Apple, Georgia, with her two kids and a rented cottage, while her ex-husband sets up house with his newly pregnant girlfriend. Sugar Prescott is 93 years old and does not suffer the modern fools around her, but she feels drawn to her new tenant despite herself. As Merilee navigates the new world of private-school committees and her daughter's sudden interest in cheerleading, an anonymous blogger seems to trail her every move. Meanwhile, Sugar reveals pieces of the past that led to her family first acquiring, then selling off the land that the gated communities and Pilates studios of Sweet Apple sit on. But Merilee's problems go deeper than those of the recently divorced, and soon her past catches up to her in a climax that is over-the-top but will nonetheless leave the reader cheering. Part Liane Moriarty (for the gentle skewering of wealthy suburbia), part Kate Morton (for the connections between secrets of the present and the past), and part Mary Kay Andrews (charming and very Southern), White's latest should find a wide readership.--Maguire, Susan Copyright 2017 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Library Journal Review

Newly divorced Merilee Dunlap and her children move to an Atlanta suburb to find a new school district after her husband has an affair with their teacher. In this small enclave, she finds both older residents who remember what the town used to be like, and newer, wealthy residents who play tennis, helicopter parent, and follow the dictates of queen bee Heather-who unexpectedly takes a shine to Merilee. Potential romance also appears when she meets local contractor Wade Kimball. But not everyone is who they seem to be. Secrets from the past arise for all three of the women at the center of this story as revenge is served cold. The narration moves between past and present effectively, slowly revealing the events that have led up to this moment. With well-developed characters, a strong sense of place, a suspenseful plot, and plenty of Southern axioms sprinkled in, this is a warm and engaging novel by prolific author White ("Tradd Street" series; Flight Patterns; A Long Time Gone). VERDICT Recommended for readers who enjoy the stories of Beatriz Williams, Kim Boykin, and Mary Alice Monroe. [See Prepub Alert, 10/31/16.]-Melanie -Kindrachuk, Stratford P.L., Ont. © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

Secrets, scandals, and SUVs follow a single mother in White's (The Guests on South Battery, 2017, etc.) latest Southern mystery.After her husband has an affair, Merilee Talbot Dunlap moves her 10-year-old daughter, Lily, and her 8-year-old son, Colin, to a charming cottage behind a farmhouse in Sweet Apple, Georgia, for a fresh start. Her new landlady, Sugar Prescott, is "two years older than dirt and just as mean"at least according to Heather Blackford, the class mother at Lily's new school. (But it's hard to trust the judgment of a woman who puts $20 Sephora gift cards in the goodie bags she buys for the kids' first day of school.) Merilee struggles to fit in with Heather and the other housewives of Sweet Apple, whose gleaming smiles are more menacing than friendlybut whose friendship is irresistible. Merilee and Sugar form a surprising bond, telling their stories in alternating chapters, while the anonymous author of a local gossip blog fills in the rest of the details with wicked precision. The generational differences between Merilee and Sugar, from parenting styles to use of technology, lend tension even where camaraderie abounds. When a body turns up in Sweet Apple, it brings with it the memory of Merilee's brother, David, whose death hovers over her like a dark cloud (along with another secret that Merilee thought she had buried for good), making Merilee a target for the blame and scorn of her neighbors. The surprise is not in learning that Merilee's perfect new friends are not as perfect as they pretend to be but in the way that grief and guilt are passed around like a rejected potluck dish in the wake of a terrible tragedy. An atmospheric and entertaining look at the friends who keep your secretsand the friends who keep you guessing until it's too late. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.