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#BookReview-->The Sweet Magnolias #5- Home in Carolina by Sherryl Woods

Anne Sullivan had always loved Tyler Townsend and it had seemed like what they had was a love that would last a lifetime but then Tyler went and betrayed Anne. When it came out that his secret lover was pregnant with his child, Anne was left heartbroken with all her dreams shattered. Now it has been years and Anne has moved on or so she prefers to think.
She is now a successful sports injury therapist and has finally come back to Serenity, her home, to stay. Tyler, on the other hand, has become a successful quarterback but he never forgot Anne. He has spent his last several years repenting and regretting his recklessness in throwing away Anne's love.

"She'd looked up to him, trusted him, talked to him...fallen in love with him.
Then he'd betrayed her. And for what? A string of casual flings that had meant nothing....
Unfortunately, it had taken too long for him to realize just how empty and meaningless all that was."

An injury gives him the perfect excuse to come back home and try to win Anne back. He is ready to face his mistakes and make amends. But a sudden appearance of his three year old son, Trevor's mother, leaves him scared of losing his son and determined to not let that happen. Dee-Dee had left her infant son on Tyler's hotel doorstep one day and never looked back to check if his father had even took him in! Now her unexpected maternal displays of affection and longing are surprising and a reason of unease for everyone especially Tyler, who is devoted to his son and ready to fight tooth and nail to keep him.

What does Dee-Dee want?
Is she truly missing her son and just wants to see him? Or is there a deeper agenda involved?
Will Anne forgive Tyler for all the heartache and broken dreams?
Is Tyler truly willing to make sacrifices and go that extra mile to win over Anne?
Will Anne be able to accept Tyler's son and make a family with him?

When I took up this book, Home in CarolinaI didn't know it was part of a series. I came to know about it only after checking about it on the internet. Although, this book can be read as a standalone but I would recommend reading it in order because several times in the book references are given to the previous story lines which would be best understood if the reader has read them.

The cover is captivating and serene and it was the cover that made me pick up this book. All the coming-back-home-to-find-closure theme attracted me.

The writing style of Sherryl is simple and crisp. She is able to engage the reader with her balance of humor, wit and serious. She expertly includes references to her previous story lines and also gives hints about her subsequent books, thus, creating an interest in the reader for the next Sweet Magnolias books.

Although, the plot was interesting but I felt the story was not executed at par with the plot. It felt it was unnecessarily long with Anne and Tyler going in circles. Sometimes it seemed like now Anne would give way to her love for Tyler and accept him but then suddenly she would retreat to her previous angry and hurt self. In the end also she was sure of never accepting a future with him but then a cozy dinner and some romantic music changed her mind leaving the reader reeling and confused. If only a dinner was needed to pacify her then Tyler should have done that before instead of waiting for so long. I just mean to say that the reasons for reconciliation and closure are not convincing and I felt unsatisfied here.

The friendships in the story are beautifully portrayed in the book be it the friendship between Anne, Raylene and Sarah or Dana Sue, Maddie and Helen. The love between Cal and Maddie, Ronnie and Dana Sue, Erik and Helen is heartwarming and touching and I thoroughly enjoyed them. This is the first book where I loved the supporting characters more than the main ones! The stories for these lovable supporting cast have either come before this book or will feature next and have made me eager to go and read the previous books in this series as well as give a shot to the subsequent books.

Home in Carolinais a light and a leisure read. I give it a 3.8 out of 5.

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