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  • Sweet, compassionate romance

    A Lowcountry Bride is a sweet, compassionate romance, set in South Carolina. The heroine, Maya, whose heritage is Afro-Asian, learned dressmaking from her deceased Filipino mom. She now works in NYC as a junior bridal gown designer in a famous design house, trying to fulfill her mom's dream for her to be the head designer, even though it means swallowing her own creative impulses to fit her unique designs incorporating splashes of color and intricate Filipin0 stitching into the fashion house's spare, simple bridal aesthetic. She also hides the fact that she suffers from sickle-cell anemia, with increasingly painful crisis incidents, and a significantly shortened life expectancy. When Maya's dad breaks his hip and she takes a leave of absence and returns to Charleston to help him, it triggers her to branch out with her career in an entirely different direction than she'd envisioned. She then must decide whether to continue on this new path, and pursue a new love, with Derek, the owner of a local bridal boutique, or go back to NYC, where her employer finally seems willing to acknowledge all of her hard work and her designs. I admired both Maya and Derek, who were the kind of people that just kept going, no matter how many times bad things happened to them. There were also lots of interesting cultural references and details that I rarely see in romance, since this was set in Charleston's African American community. This was a story that was more about hopefulness and the importance of family than about tragedy or struggle in spite of all of the heavier elements. It's definitely not a light, easy romance but it's a rewarding read. Also, I don't typically pay much attention to covers, but I have to say, this one is just stunning. My thanks to Netgalley for an advance copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions in this review are my own.

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  • Joyful

    Designer Maya takes a leave of absence from a design firm in New York after her father in Charleston breaks his hip. While she nurses him back to health, she takes a job at a bridal salon to supplement her income. She and the owner, Derek, are instantly smitten. But Maya won't be hanging around, and Derek's got his hands full trying to save the shop from bankruptcy and preserve his mother's legacy for his daughter. Is there any hope for their burgeoning romance. I adored Maya and Derek, both individually and together. They're both full of compassion, with powerful inner strength despite the tragedies they've experienced. I loved how the novel addresses Maya's sickle cell anemia without being maudlin. While this book doesn't shy away from painful subjects. it's ultimately a joyful experience. And the sweet Southern charm captured my heart. Charleston is one of my favorite towns, and it was nice to get to visit it through the pages of this book. Thanks, NetGalley, for the ARC I received. This is my honest and voluntary review.

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