Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Palmetto Moon by Kim Boykin (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Pump Up Your Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Palmetto Moon by Author Kim Boykin!

Author Guest Post

The Story Behind Palmetto Moon

If I could wish ANYTHING for you, other than unlimited good health and happiness, it would be to experience that ethereal place I write from. It’s a place I learned to trust implicitly a long time ago.

With Palmetto Moon, I wrote about Round O, South Carolina as if I knew it like the back of my hand. I’d never been there before and had only driven through Walterboro, another town in the book, on the way to Edisto Island over thirty years ago. So, before I turned the Palmetto Moon manuscript into my editor, last summer, I decided I should visit to make sure I got the places right.

I was pleasantly surprised and then shocked at one of those ethereal moments. Dana and Bonita Cheney, the nice couple from the Colleton County Historical Society who showed me around Walterboro, offered to show me Round O. To be honest, with the majority of the story taking place there, and having never been there, I was more than a little nervous.

I’d sent Dana and Bonita a synopsis of Palmetto Moon, that mentioned Miss Mamie’s Boarding House. When we got to Round O, which really is a crossroads community (for those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a crossroads with a few houses, maybe a church, a little store,) Dana asked me if I’d like to see Miss Mamie’s Boarding House.

There on the corner was a dilapidated two-story clapboard home that very well could have been Vada’s home in 1947. I was amazed. Then he asked me if I wanted to see what it looked like in 1947. He eased down the road about 100 feet and there was the EXACT house I’d pictured when I was writing the book. I know this picture is a little cockeyed but I was completely stunned.

A few weeks later, I approached Dick Elliott, the owner of Maverick Southern Kitchens, and nationally renowned SNOB in Charleston about contributing recipes for the book. I wanted to use them in lieu of Reader Questions. Turns out the executive chef’s name at SNOB is Frank Lee, and my hero’s name is Frank Darling. Coincidence? Maybe, but I’m tagging it as a gift from the ether.

About The Author

Kim Boykin was raised in her South Carolina home with two girly sisters and great parents. She had a happy, boring childhood, which sucks if you’re a writer because you have to create your own crazy. PLUS after you’re published and you’re being interviewed, it’s very appealing when the author actually lived in Crazy Town or somewhere in the general vicinity.

Almost everything she learned about writing, she learned from her grandpa, an oral storyteller, who was a master teacher of pacing and sensory detail. He held court under an old mimosa tree on the family farm, and people used to come from all around to hear him tell stories about growing up in rural Georgia and share his unique take on the world.

As a stay-at-home mom, Kim started writing, grabbing snip-its of time in the car rider line or on the bleachers at swim practice. After her kids left the nest, she started submitting her work, sold her first novel at 53, and has been writing like crazy ever since.

Thanks to the lessons she learned under that mimosa tree, her books are well reviewed and, according to RT Book Reviews, feel like they’re being told across a kitchen table. She is the author of The Wisdom of Hair from Berkley, Steal Me, Cowboy and Sweet Home Carolina from Tule, and Palmetto Moon, also from Berkley 8/5/14. While her heart is always in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, she lives in Charlotte and has a heart for hairstylist, librarians, and book junkies like herself.


Book Review

Palmetto Moon by Kim Boykin
Book 1: Lowcountry Series
Publisher: Berkley / Penguin Group
Publication Date: August 5, 2014
Format: Paperback - 320 pages   
              Kindle - 1456 KB
              Nook - 2 MB
ISBN: 978-0425272107
Genre: Southern Women's Fiction / Historical Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: Palmetto Moon

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Pump Up Your Book Tours. 

Book Description:

June, 1947. Charleston is poised to celebrate the biggest wedding in high-society history, the joining of two of the oldest families in the city. Except the bride is nowhere to be found…

Unlike the rest of the debs she grew up with, Vada Hadley doesn’t see marrying Justin McLeod as a blessing—she sees it as a life sentence. So when she finds herself one day away from a wedding she doesn’t want, she’s left with no choice but to run away from the future her parents have so carefully planned for her.

In Round O, South Carolina, Vada finds independence in the unexpected friendships she forms at the boarding house where she stays, and a quiet yet fulfilling courtship with the local diner owner, Frank Darling. For the first time in her life, she finally feels like she’s where she’s meant to be. But when her dear friend Darby hunts her down, needing help, Vada will have to confront the life she gave up—and decide where her heart truly belongs.

Book Excerpt:

Charleston, SC

June 20, 1947

“Murrah?” Rosa Lee’s eyes go wide and she shakes her head at me like I’ve forgotten the rules, but I haven’t. Since before I was born, my parents forbade the servants to speak their native tongue in our house. Offenders were given one warning; a second offense brought immediate dismissal. I say the Gullah word again, drawing it out softly. “Why are you crying?” The hands that helped bring me into the world motion for me to lower my voice.

Rosa Lee’s husband, Desmond, told me my first word was murrah. It was what I called Rosa Lee, until Mother made me call her by name. “My own murrah.” The forbidden words bring more tears. I press my face into the soft curve of her neck and breathe in the Ivory soap Mother insists all the servants use, mingled with Rosa Lee’s own scent—vanilla and lemongrass.

She holds me at arm’s length, trembling, and I know I’ve done it again.

“You got to tell them,” she pleads. “Make them see you can’t go through with this.”

I point to the door that leads to the elegant dining room where my parents are eating their breakfast. “I have told them. Mother refuses to listen, and I’ve begged Father. He says I have to do this.” She looks away. Her body rocks, sobbing violently on the inside. “Rosa Lee, please don’t cry. I can’t bear it.” She shakes her head and swipes at the tears that stain the sleeve of her freshly pressed uniform. “I won’t do it again. I promise.”

“When you’re asleep, your heart takes over. You got no control, and it’s gonna kill you.”

She’s right. Since I graduated and moved home from college two weeks ago, I’ve been sleepwalking like I did when I was a child, but these outings don’t land me snuggled up in the servant’s quarters, between Desmond and Rosa Lee. Most of the time, I wake up and return to bed without incident, but last week Desmond found me trying to leave the house. He said I was babbling about sleeping in the bay, which might not have been so disturbing if I hadn’t been wearing five layers of heavy clothing. I knew what he thought I was trying to do to myself and told him not to worry.

Since then, Rosa Lee has insisted on sleeping on the stiff brocade chaise in my bedroom. Of course, my parents don’t know she’s there or that she’s so afraid I’ll walk to the bay or step off the balcony in my sleep, she’s tethered my ankle to the bedpost with three yards of satin rope she begged from Mrs. O’Doul.

“Maybe it will be different after the wedding.” I love her enough to lie to her. “Father says I’m a Hadley and once it’s over with, I’ll fall in line the way I was born to.”

“But what if Desmond hadn’t caught you?” She threads her fingers in mine and kisses the back of my hand. A part of me wishes her intuition hadn’t sent Desmond to check on me, that he hadn’t found me. “And what are you gonna do when we’re not there?”

“Don’t say that.” My knees buckle, and I melt into a puddle at her feet. Justin has made it clear he’s happy with his staff and has no plans to add “two ancient servants.” But living under his roof and not having Rosa Lee and Desmond with me is unthinkable, another high price of being the last Hadley descendant.

“You think it’s not going to get worse after you’re married? Who do you think’s gonna be there to save you? Mr. Justin?” She hisses the last word. “You think long and hard before the sun comes up tomorrow, because I’m afraid down to my bones that you won’t be alive to see it.”

She collects herself and heads into the dining room to check on my parents. They won’t look into her beautiful brown face and see she’s been crying any more than they see this wedding is killing me, or at least the idea of being yoked to Justin McLeod is. Not because he’s eight years older than me and, other than our station in life, we have nothing in common, and not because of his good qualities, although no one can find more than two: He is a heart-stoppingly beautiful man and the sole heir of the largest fortune in Charleston.

For over a hundred years, Justin’s family and mine have built ships. And while two world wars made us rich, a prolonged peace threatens to weaken our family fortunes considerably. Somewhere in all that, my father convinced Justin a Hadley-McLeod union would position them to take over the world, at least the shipping world. And Father is certain nothing short of a blood union will keep Justin in the partnership.

Rosa Lee pushes through the swinging door and pours the coffee down the drain, her signal that breakfast is over and my parents are no longer close by. I smile, trying to reassure her I’m okay, that I’m going to be okay. She shakes her head and starts to wash one of the breakfast plates in slow motion, barely breathing. I hate those things, and after tomorrow, I’ll own twenty-four place settings of them, part of my dowry. I don’t give a damn about thousand-dollar plates, but I do care for Rosa Lee.

“I can do this.” I say from behind her. My voice sounds sure, steady. “I will do this.”

My Book Review:

Palmetto Moon is a captivating tale about a young wealthy Southern woman who embarks on a journey of self-discovery and independence.

Author Kim Boykin transports the reader back to the Post WWII time period of June 1947 in South Carolina's Lowcountry of Charleston and Round O, where they follow twenty year old Vada Hadley's escape from an archaic arranged marriage on a journey towards self-independence and seeking her own path in life.

On the eve of her old money arranged marriage to a man she didn't love, Vada escapes from her family's Charleston home with the help of her beloved servants Rosa Lee and Desmond, and embarks on a journey of self-discovery fifty miles away in the little crossroads rural town of Round O. Vada's journey to start her life the way she envisioned is filled with innocence, life lessons, determination, new friends, and an unexpected romance.

Palmetto Moon is a delightful Lowcountry tale filled with plenty of Southern charm that easily draws the reader into the engaging story of a young woman's quest to live life on her own means back in a time when a woman's station in life was very different.

As a fan of Southern Fiction and Lowcountry tales in particular, I found myself captivated and drawn into Vada's story by the author's rich description of the setting and the Southern way of life during that time period. Filled with endearing and quirky characters, drama, suspense, a sweet innocent romance, and intriguing twists and turns, I couldn't help but get swept away and lose myself in the story as it unfolded. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I absolutely loved the mouthwatering recipes that are included at the end of the book!


Virtual Book Tour

Tour Schedule:

Monday, August 4
Character Interview at The Literary Nook

Tuesday, August 5
Guest Blogging at The Book Faery Reviews

Wednesday, August 6
Interview at Beyond the Books

Thursday, August 7
First Chapter Reveal at Beyond the Books

Friday, August 8
Interview at Blogcritics

Monday, August 11
Guest Blogging at The Story Behind the Book

Tuesday, August 12
Interview at As the Pages Turn

Thursday, August 14
Guest Blogging at What Is That Book About

Monday, August 18
First Chapter Reveal at Read My First Chapter

Tuesday, August 19
Book Featured at Bound 2 Escape

Wednesday, August 20
Book Review at Cheryl’s Book Nook

Thursday, August 21
Book Featured at Confessions of a Reader

Monday, August 25
Book Review at The Road to Here

Tuesday, August 26
Interview at The Writer’s Life

Friday, August 29
Interview at Examiner

Monday, September 2
Guest Blogging at The Writer’s Life

Tuesday, September 3
Book Featured at CBY Book Club

Wednesday, September 4
Book Review at Southeast by Midwest

Monday, September 8
Book Review at Book Reviews and More by Kathy

Tuesday, September 9
Book Review at My Book Addiction Reviews
Guest Blogging at My Book Addiction and More

Wednesday, September 10
Book Review at Book by Book

Thursday, September 11
Guest Blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner

Monday, September 15
Book Review & Guest Blogging at Jersey Girl Book Reviews

Tuesday, September 16
Book Review at Reading Reality

Wednesday, September 17
Book Review & Guest Blogging at Not Everyone’s Mama

Thursday, September 18
Book Review at Deal Sharing Aunt

Monday, September 22
First Chapter Reveal at As the Page Turns

Tuesday, September 23
Book Review at Book Club Sisters

Wednesday, September 24
Book Review at Book Reviews by Dee

Thursday, September 25
Book Review at My Devotional Thoughts

Friday, September 26
Book Review at My Book Retreat

Monday, October 6
Interview at PUYB Virtual Book Club

Tuesday, October 7
Book Review at Becky on Books

Wednesday, October 8
Book Featured at Maureen’s Musings

Thursday, October 9
Book Review at Acting Balanced

Monday, October 13
Interview at The Book Rack

Tuesday, October 14
Book Review at Kaisy Daisy’s Corner

Wednesday, October 15
Guest Blogging at Acting Balanced
Book Review at Bottles and Books Reviews

Thursday, October 16
Interview at Booklover Sue
Book Review at Mary’s Cup of Tea

Monday, October 20
Book Review & Guest Blogging at StoreyBook Reviews

Tuesday, October 21
Book Review at I’d Rather Be At The Beach

Wednesday, October 22
Book Review & Guest Blogging at Chick With Books

Thursday, October 23
Book Review at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Monday, October 27
Book Review at A Book Geek
Book Review at Written Love

Tuesday, October 28
Book Review at Melina’s Book Blog

Wednesday, October 29
Book Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Thursday, October 30
Book Review at Celtic Lady’s Reviews

Friday, October 31
Book Tour Highlights at PUYB Virtual Book Club

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