Travel writer Julia Sullivan lives life in fast-forward. She jet sets to Europe and the Caribbean with barely a moment to blink or sleep. But too many mishaps and missed deadlines have Julia on the verge of being fired. With a stern warning, and unemployment looming, she's offered one last chance to rescue her career. Julia embarks on an unlikely journey to the ‘Heart of Dixie’—Eufaula, Alabama—home to magnificent mansions, sweet tea, and the annual Pilgrimage. Julia arrives, soon charmed by the lovely city and her handsome host, but her stay is marred by a shocking discovery. Can Julia's story save her career, Eufaula, and the annual Pilgrimage?
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This is one of those books that shocks you, because it is so different from what the book blurb reads, but then again it isn't. I was expecting a light hearted book about a clumsy, cute woman who is sent to Alabama to write her story and then gets caught up in all the funny "goings on" in the town. That is what happens, but what doesn't come across in the blurb is how this is really a gut-wrenching, emotional read about start over.
Julia Sullivan is a travel writer and spends very brief amounts of time at home. She's disorganized and clumsy, which leads to many mishaps on her travels but also serious repercussions at work with her new editor. She has a steady boyfriend who she isn't in love with, but isn't ready to let go of just yet because they get along well. She's estranged from her father and missing her mother terribly after her death two years ago.
But Julia's world does a complete 180 when she sets foot in Eufaula, Alabama. She finds the town charming, it's busy body residents irresistible and her tour guide, Shug Jordan. In this quaint little town, she finds what's been missing in her life: a relationship with her father, putting down roots and opening yourself up to all the joys and pains in life. Without knowing it, Eufaula, Shug and his family and the friends Julia made give her everything she didn't know she wanted, but in the end truly couldn't live without.