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The Sweetest September

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A mistake that's meant to be…  All John Beauchamp wants is a simple life. He's happy running his Louisiana sugar cane plantation and doesn't want more than that. Then Shelby Mackey breezes in, announcing that she's pregnant. Their one crazy night of passion has changed everything. Except Shelby insists John doesn't have to be involved - she'll raise the baby herself. Bu A mistake that's meant to be…  All John Beauchamp wants is a simple life. He's happy running his Louisiana sugar cane plantation and doesn't want more than that. Then Shelby Mackey breezes in, announcing that she's pregnant. Their one crazy night of passion has changed everything. Except Shelby insists John doesn't have to be involved - she'll raise the baby herself. But John can't let her go that easily. Even without the baby, Shelby is a breath of fresh air. Her call-it-as-she-sees-it attitude intrigues and attracts him. So when Shelby agrees to stay temporarily, John's determined to make that stay permanent - and as sweet as can be.


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A mistake that's meant to be…  All John Beauchamp wants is a simple life. He's happy running his Louisiana sugar cane plantation and doesn't want more than that. Then Shelby Mackey breezes in, announcing that she's pregnant. Their one crazy night of passion has changed everything. Except Shelby insists John doesn't have to be involved - she'll raise the baby herself. Bu A mistake that's meant to be…  All John Beauchamp wants is a simple life. He's happy running his Louisiana sugar cane plantation and doesn't want more than that. Then Shelby Mackey breezes in, announcing that she's pregnant. Their one crazy night of passion has changed everything. Except Shelby insists John doesn't have to be involved - she'll raise the baby herself. But John can't let her go that easily. Even without the baby, Shelby is a breath of fresh air. Her call-it-as-she-sees-it attitude intrigues and attracts him. So when Shelby agrees to stay temporarily, John's determined to make that stay permanent - and as sweet as can be.

30 review for The Sweetest September

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jacob Proffitt

    I'm having a really hard time reviewing this, as I do sometimes with books I really loved. There's too much I want to say and almost all of it a string of superlatives. I loved both protagonists. I loved the story. It was all evocative and engaging and . . . yeah, I'll pause now and see if I can't come at this sideways a bit. The Harlequin "super romance " line is for meatier stories where one or both protagonists face some serious challenge or other. It can devolve into issue books and I kind of I'm having a really hard time reviewing this, as I do sometimes with books I really loved. There's too much I want to say and almost all of it a string of superlatives. I loved both protagonists. I loved the story. It was all evocative and engaging and . . . yeah, I'll pause now and see if I can't come at this sideways a bit. The Harlequin "super romance " line is for meatier stories where one or both protagonists face some serious challenge or other. It can devolve into issue books and I kind of hate those. But there are some authors who invest that background with heart and love and honesty and so make those stories particularly moving to me without tripping the "issue" feel. Sarah Mayberry comes immediately to mind as one such. I think Liz Talley may be the second. At least this is a supremely good indicator in that direction. I know I'll be hunting down Talley's other super romance novels to check them out. I connected strongly with both Shelby and John from the start. His struggle with grief and her sense of self-worth in face of family and peer negativity drew me in as they struggle to figure out how to handle the curve ball chance has thrown them. I loved seeing them developing a caring relationship and friendship before becoming actually intimate. I loved the support John was able to give Shelby and the trust she developed in him. But more than any other element, I loved the exploration of love itself as they work out their relationship. Neither is sure of what they have even as both become sincerely invested in the wellbeing of the other. And I'll leave it with that. The story gripped me from the start and kept me up way later then I had planned as I gulped it down in one sitting, burying the five-star needle in the process. A note about religion and faith: This book is an example of why I cringe when people talk about how faithful Christians shouldn't write "smut" (meaning books with explicit sex in them). I don't know the status of Liz Talley in whatever church she may or may not attend, but this book treats faith and religion with a respect and gravity you seldom get in a novel aimed at a mainstream audience. Many of the characters in this book are overtly religious in the way truly faithful people often are—i.e. quietly inviting the guidance of their faith and religion into their lives and living it the best they can, even as they fail and try to do better. John's father is the best example of this as a pastor in his church. He had great fatherly advice and without being didactic or foolish or demanding or any of the other things that people often attach to religious leaders in books. I think this kind of inviting but humble depiction does more to invite others to share the faith and joy of religious community than all the preaching and scolding ever does. A note about Steamy: This book had a single explicit sex scene, so on the low end of my steam tolerance. The story starts in the aftermath of another sex scene and there are bits here and there of physical intimacy. All of which served the story well and were extremely well-integrated into the story. Incredibly well-done, I think.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lyuda

    Ok, I'm not sure how the book ended up on my TBR shelf. I'm still very puzzled by it. This was one-stand, surprise baby variety reading. I’ve read quite a few books with this trope and some of them were better than the others. This one would fall under the other category for me: predictable, full of clichés, preachy with suspend believe moments. The only reason it's two stars is the writing was decent. Ok, I'm not sure how the book ended up on my TBR shelf. I'm still very puzzled by it. This was one-stand, surprise baby variety reading. I’ve read quite a few books with this trope and some of them were better than the others. This one would fall under the other category for me: predictable, full of clichés, preachy with suspend believe moments. The only reason it's two stars is the writing was decent.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kate Vale

    Shelby Mackey is reprised here, having made a previous appearance in THE ROAD TO BAYOU BRIDGE. In this story, she decides to tell the man with whom she had a drunken one-night stand that she is pregnant. Not because she wants anything from him; only that she decides her life needs to change and that honesty must be part of it. When she finds the man whose last name she didn't even know, he doesn't react as she expected. Widower John Beauchamp farms a sugar cane plantation for his former in-laws. Shelby Mackey is reprised here, having made a previous appearance in THE ROAD TO BAYOU BRIDGE. In this story, she decides to tell the man with whom she had a drunken one-night stand that she is pregnant. Not because she wants anything from him; only that she decides her life needs to change and that honesty must be part of it. When she finds the man whose last name she didn't even know, he doesn't react as she expected. Widower John Beauchamp farms a sugar cane plantation for his former in-laws. He's convinced his baby was meant to be and insists on taking Shelby in when he learns she doesn't really want to go home to Seattle to the family she is sure never wanted her. While John is welcoming, and his large family mostly so, his late wife's mother is not, and she controls the purse strings, or at least the deed to the house and property where John lives. She sets out to get Shelby to leave. How dare her live in her daughter's house, shacking up with her former son-in-law? John has no intention of sending Shelby away, but when the bitter woman tacks an eviction notice on the door, Shelby takes matters into her own hands and goes back to Seattle, determined not to place John in a position where he has to choose between her and the plantation. What will he do after a come to Jesus talk with his minister father? And what will Shelby agree to when John confronts her with an ultimatum she never expected but had always wanted?

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sheila Jackson

    The Sweetest September will keep you reading from beginning to end. John Beauchamp and Shelby Mackey are the unlikeliest of couples brought together by loneliness. A hole-in-the-wall grocery store/bait stand/bar in Magnolia Bend, Louisiana is where they unleashed their physical needs over a sink in a dirty bathroom. A night of recklessness changed their lives forever when Shelby comes all the way from Washington State to tell John that she’s pregnant. I don’t want to reveal John’s reaction after The Sweetest September will keep you reading from beginning to end. John Beauchamp and Shelby Mackey are the unlikeliest of couples brought together by loneliness. A hole-in-the-wall grocery store/bait stand/bar in Magnolia Bend, Louisiana is where they unleashed their physical needs over a sink in a dirty bathroom. A night of recklessness changed their lives forever when Shelby comes all the way from Washington State to tell John that she’s pregnant. I don’t want to reveal John’s reaction after hearing that he’s going to be a father by a woman he only knows from a filthy bathroom. But every woman needs an upstanding man like John Beauchamp in her life.

  5. 5 out of 5

    MK

    Good book. Loss and Love. Learning to feel again. Shelby Mackey and John Beauchamp made a mistake one night that lead to something else. Both needing to forgot something painful. Now looking at something that will bind them together forever what will they do? John lost his wife and now is staring down at a women who he cares a lot about. He isn't sure what he'll do, but she makes him smile and laugh. Shelby is lost and really is overhelmed with everything that's happened between her and John. Th Good book. Loss and Love. Learning to feel again. Shelby Mackey and John Beauchamp made a mistake one night that lead to something else. Both needing to forgot something painful. Now looking at something that will bind them together forever what will they do? John lost his wife and now is staring down at a women who he cares a lot about. He isn't sure what he'll do, but she makes him smile and laugh. Shelby is lost and really is overhelmed with everything that's happened between her and John. The only thing she does know is she came to do the right thing and tell him. Then go home to Seattle. What comes out of his mouth is not what she expected. Touching book. It's ok to love two people in different ways.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I first met Shelby in The Road to Bayou Bridge, as the girl that Darby almost married when he was still (unknowingly) married to someone else. This is Shelby's story, which picks up just after her breakup with Darby. Brokenhearted and mad at herself for yet another poor pick in the man department, she stops at a combination grocery/bait shop/bar and has a few drinks. There she encounters a man indulging in his own attempts at forgetting his pain. It is the first anniversary of the death of John' I first met Shelby in The Road to Bayou Bridge, as the girl that Darby almost married when he was still (unknowingly) married to someone else. This is Shelby's story, which picks up just after her breakup with Darby. Brokenhearted and mad at herself for yet another poor pick in the man department, she stops at a combination grocery/bait shop/bar and has a few drinks. There she encounters a man indulging in his own attempts at forgetting his pain. It is the first anniversary of the death of John's wife, and he's trying to drown his sorrow. In their inebriated state, they find themselves having a stand-up encounter in the bar restroom, and regretting it almost instantly. Two months later, Shelby has returned to Louisiana to tell John she's pregnant. I liked that Shelby was determined to do the right thing and tell John about the baby, even though she planned to raise it by herself. She didn't expect John to want to be involved. When a possible crisis with the pregnancy threw her plans to leave right away into chaos, John invited her to stay for a week to rest and recover. He also looked at it as a chance to change her mind about leaving. I liked Shelby a lot. She never acts like a victim but has a positive attitude about her plans for the future. She doesn't have a whole lot of self-esteem, thanks to her treatment by her ultra-successful parents and siblings, and what she sees as her poor judgment in men. She's determined not to be a burden on John, but she is ultimately willing to listen to what he wants. She is also down-to-earth and honest, and I really enjoyed her interactions with the people she met. Being from Seattle, rural Louisiana is a whole different world for her, but she fits in unexpectedly well. I liked John, too, though there were certainly times I wanted to shake him - hard. I ached for his grief and guilt over Rebecca's death. His self-blame was a little overdone; I thought since it was in no way his fault. His grief was deep, and he had cut himself off from really living, spending most of his waking hours working. His encounter with Shelby was one more rock in the pack of guilt that he was lugging around. But when she told him about the baby, it lit a small spark of hope and light in him that he didn't want to lose. I enjoyed the development of their relationship. Though still strongly attracted to each other, Shelby and John are determined to keep their hands to themselves. John because he still feels that it's betraying Rebecca, and Shelby, well, she's just tired of John apologizing every time he kisses her. I loved that John invited Shelby to stay with him so that they could get to know each other, even though he knew it would cause talk. They developed a pretty good friendship along the way. Shelby realizes fairly quickly that has fallen hard for John but doesn't know how he feels. John is confused by his feelings for Shelby. She is so different than Rebecca, and what he feels for Shelby isn't anything like what he felt for Rebecca. How can it be love? Unfortunately, Shelby overhears a discussion John has with his dad, and coming on top of a threat to John's livelihood, Shelby believes it is best for her to leave. An enlightening conversation with his sister and John realizes what he has to do. I loved his big moment at the end. It was sweet and romantic with a hint of vulnerability. I loved the family dynamics of the book. First, I ached for Shelby and her feelings of never belonging or being wanted in her own family. I thought her sister was especially obnoxious. Shelby's mom seemed pretty oblivious, but she redeemed herself quite well in the end. I loved John's family. They were loud, fun, friendly and accepting, and Shelby felt at home with them immediately. His sister, Abigail was a tad overprotective and suspicious, but in the end, she was one of Shelby's biggest supporters. I loved his dad, a preacher who was the quiet, thoughtful kind rather than in your face hellfire and brimstone. The one family member who was completely unlikable was Rebecca's mother, Carla. I understood that she was grieving, but her whole attitude toward Shelby was awful. The things she said were uncalled for, and her threats to John were unforgivable. I loved Shelby's plan to deal with them. Though Carla redeemed herself a little at the end, I'm not sure I would have been as forgiving to her. Though the depth of pain and loss was heartwrenching at times, there was also some fantastic humor to add some relief. Young Birdie and her "birdwatching" was hilarious. I also loved some of the turns-of-phrase that came out in some of the conversations. The small town attitudes and events added extra layers to the issues that Shelby and John had to deal with, but overall it was a wonderful setting.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Gerry Bates

    This was an emotional roller coaster. This story was was intense at times I had to take a break to catch my breath, but I couldn't stop for long. I read it in one day. I love John and Shelby and how the dilemmas they gave were resolve. Carla's grief was so intense and the end for her was redemptive. Can't wait to start the next in the series. This was an emotional roller coaster. This story was was intense at times I had to take a break to catch my breath, but I couldn't stop for long. I read it in one day. I love John and Shelby and how the dilemmas they gave were resolve. Carla's grief was so intense and the end for her was redemptive. Can't wait to start the next in the series.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Minda

    A beautiful love story If you are looking for a love story where boy meets girl, life happens, and feelings are getting real, this is a book for you. Beautifully written love story of two lost people trying to find their way.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Catarina Szelsky †

    what a great story. i loved the heroine

  10. 5 out of 5

    JOCA

    I ended up skimming through this book. The pacing was slow, it had a random secondary character's POV, and I didn't feel any chemistry between the hero and heroine. I ended up skimming through this book. The pacing was slow, it had a random secondary character's POV, and I didn't feel any chemistry between the hero and heroine.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sheryl C. Nash

    *ARC courtesy of Netgalley and Harlequin*

  12. 4 out of 5

    Phyllis Saunders

    5 Stars 5 stars for The Sweetest September a wonderful read about finding love and the wonder of second chances in life.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Gwen

    SWEET; HAPPILY EVER AFTER

  14. 4 out of 5

    HoardingBooks

    Very enjoyable! Loved this book. On to more by this author. Great twist on the one night stand trope. Characters believable. Great read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Hsiau Wei

    Shelby met John at a bar when both nursing their own heartache. Selby got dump by her fiancé who went back to his wife while it is the first anniversary on the passing of his wife for John. They ended up together for the night. Both thought their liaison will end then but John was surprise when he found Selby at his doorstep and telling him that she is pregnant with his child. Shelby only wanted to do the right thing to tell him about the baby. She have no intention to get money out of him. More Shelby met John at a bar when both nursing their own heartache. Selby got dump by her fiancé who went back to his wife while it is the first anniversary on the passing of his wife for John. They ended up together for the night. Both thought their liaison will end then but John was surprise when he found Selby at his doorstep and telling him that she is pregnant with his child. Shelby only wanted to do the right thing to tell him about the baby. She have no intention to get money out of him. Moreover, they stayed in a different state. But there is no way that John will let go of his responsibility and convinced Shelby to stay in town while they get to know each other. Being in a small town, with Shelby turning and subsequently staying together becomes the talk of the town. Soon, John found himself at a crossroad. To let Shelby go or to make their relationship a happy ending one. It is a story of love loss, forgiveness and faith between two person and where they learn to love again. I like the way the author’s ability to narrate the story and she does it so well that make this book entertaining. The main characters have their flaws and I love the way they overcome each of the flaws to find their happily ever after in the end. Overall, it is a sweet read for me with likeable characters and good story plot.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    I received a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review Two drunk broken-hearted strangers just want to feel good for a little bit. Shelby, a rich girl from Seattle, has been dumped by her fiance... who fell back in love with the wife he thought he was divorced from. John, a local farmer of the sleepy LA town, is suffering through the one year anniversary of his wife's death. They end up having protected sex in the bar's restroom, so John is surprised to find Shelby in town, I received a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review Two drunk broken-hearted strangers just want to feel good for a little bit. Shelby, a rich girl from Seattle, has been dumped by her fiance... who fell back in love with the wife he thought he was divorced from. John, a local farmer of the sleepy LA town, is suffering through the one year anniversary of his wife's death. They end up having protected sex in the bar's restroom, so John is surprised to find Shelby in town, at his farm & telling him she is pregnant with his child. Shelby only wanted to do the right thing and let him know he was going to be a father, she didn't need his money and lived in a different state. Still grieving, John feels ashamed at what he has done to his wife's memory. He also doesn't want to be absent in his child's life, so he talks Shelby into staying in town for awhile so they can get to know each other. Gossip runs rampant through the small town over their living arrangements. One in particular is furious and wants her gone. John is soon forced to choose between his home/livelihood and the woman that is carrying his child and makes him feel alive again. Love, loss, family dynamics and forgiveness!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Adrienne

    THE SWEETEST SEPTEMBER ----------------------------- First, let me say that I am a sucker for a Southern story. If the Southern story is set in Louisiana, all the better, because Louisiana is a fun state full of interesting people and truly majestic scenery. Yet, in the interest of full disclosure, I assign a one-star rating (i.e.--"did not like..." ...enough to finish) to all novels that I either do not finish or refuse to finish. The Sweetest September represents a "refuse-to-finish." The writin THE SWEETEST SEPTEMBER ----------------------------- First, let me say that I am a sucker for a Southern story. If the Southern story is set in Louisiana, all the better, because Louisiana is a fun state full of interesting people and truly majestic scenery. Yet, in the interest of full disclosure, I assign a one-star rating (i.e.--"did not like..." ...enough to finish) to all novels that I either do not finish or refuse to finish. The Sweetest September represents a "refuse-to-finish." The writing is good, the dialog mostly realistic, and the plot strong; however, the book is full of language that I would prefer not to read. (As a side note, I also thought that the book contained some minor details that truly did not further the story.) I understand that each "line" of Harlequin books has its own level of detail and its own style of writing, so I suppose the "super romance" stories may not be the best choice for my tastes. On the positive side, based on what I have read of this novel alone, I would say that Liz Talley is a very strong writer, and I think many readers will really enjoy her novels.

  18. 4 out of 5

    J.

    I never expected one of the most uplifting stories of loss, healing, longing, faith and romance to start with a quickie in a bar bathroom. Two grief-stricken people make one of the worst mistakes possible, a human mistake, but one these two extremely likable people must deal with as it changes their lives forever. Talley's ability to weave Southern culture, faith and a sexy romance makes this book a true page turner and keeper. John Beauchamp is one of the most decent, tortured heroes in recent I never expected one of the most uplifting stories of loss, healing, longing, faith and romance to start with a quickie in a bar bathroom. Two grief-stricken people make one of the worst mistakes possible, a human mistake, but one these two extremely likable people must deal with as it changes their lives forever. Talley's ability to weave Southern culture, faith and a sexy romance makes this book a true page turner and keeper. John Beauchamp is one of the most decent, tortured heroes in recent memory. Shelby Mackey, a self-described Playboy bunny type who knows she needs to change the trajectory of her life, is just as decent and likable a heroine. I admired John's pastor dad who is a real person (not a religious stereotype), appreciated Talley's sense of humor and wanted to join the Beauchamp family. Guess I will just have to make do with reading the next book in this new series.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I loved this book. Shelby made mistakes in her past and had heartache, but she stayed strong. She never played the victim, and I loved that about her. John was grieving the death of his wife and just going through the motions. He numbed his pain with constant work in the fields. He needed a reason to really live again, and Shelby gave that to him. This story was a little gritty at times and sweet at others. The people felt real to me, and I could see the story unfold in my head. I have not read I loved this book. Shelby made mistakes in her past and had heartache, but she stayed strong. She never played the victim, and I loved that about her. John was grieving the death of his wife and just going through the motions. He numbed his pain with constant work in the fields. He needed a reason to really live again, and Shelby gave that to him. This story was a little gritty at times and sweet at others. The people felt real to me, and I could see the story unfold in my head. I have not read the book where Shelby was introduced, but now I feel like I should because I want to know what happened to bring Shelby to this point in her life. Liz Talley is becoming one of my new favorite authors.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Figueroa

    This is a book about love loss forgiveness and getting back out there again. Both characters have their own set of trouble with love and with one reckless night and a mistable they are able to find love with each other. I loved reading this sweet book. I loved watching the connection between the main characters grow. I loved that there was a bit of drama to keep things interesting. I loved how it ended. I loved that there was more then one point of view so it helped me understand each character This is a book about love loss forgiveness and getting back out there again. Both characters have their own set of trouble with love and with one reckless night and a mistable they are able to find love with each other. I loved reading this sweet book. I loved watching the connection between the main characters grow. I loved that there was a bit of drama to keep things interesting. I loved how it ended. I loved that there was more then one point of view so it helped me understand each character more. I overall thought that this is was a really great book and would recommend you lovely readers to check it out.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Claire McEwen

    I love layered, imperfect characters and Liz Talley writes them so well. The hero and heroine of this book make a big mistake and have to live with the consequences, and they do it, and find joy in it, while doing all the realistic questioning and doubting that anyone of us might do. They were characters I could relate to, so I bought right into their story and enjoyed it thoroughly. Her secondary characters stand out as well, so much that I felt like I was in Magnolia Bend with them! Can't wait I love layered, imperfect characters and Liz Talley writes them so well. The hero and heroine of this book make a big mistake and have to live with the consequences, and they do it, and find joy in it, while doing all the realistic questioning and doubting that anyone of us might do. They were characters I could relate to, so I bought right into their story and enjoyed it thoroughly. Her secondary characters stand out as well, so much that I felt like I was in Magnolia Bend with them! Can't wait for the next one! Highly recommended!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Catherine Wright (Cat's Guilty Pleasure)

    John and Shelby both have their own issues with love and after one hot passionate night their lives will change forever. This is a book about loss and finding love you never thought you could have. I did enjoy this book. I also loved have dual point of views, I really like that in a book. The author did a great job with this story. I was given a copy by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Wise

    Loved loved loved! The characters are brilliantly developed and totally "real." Dialogue is a huge thing for me in books, and this one is utterly perfect - funny, sweet, sexy, and honest! Highly recommended! Loved loved loved! The characters are brilliantly developed and totally "real." Dialogue is a huge thing for me in books, and this one is utterly perfect - funny, sweet, sexy, and honest! Highly recommended!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Harlequin Books

    "Talley uses her skill to create authentic characters whose emotions and activities ring true" (RT Book Reviews). 4 1/2 stars Miniseries: Home in Magnolia Bend "Talley uses her skill to create authentic characters whose emotions and activities ring true" (RT Book Reviews). 4 1/2 stars Miniseries: Home in Magnolia Bend

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nan Dixon

    What a fabulous book! I am still wiping the tears from my eyes. The letters in the book were fantastic. It is obvious why this book was a RITA finalist. Well done!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Havens

    The Sweetest September This book has an easy to follow plot and interesting characters. I recommend this book to lovers lovers of contemporary, romance novels.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Anna Johnson

    Fantastic book. I immediately fell in love with farmer John Beauchamp. Liz Talley has once again done a fabulous job sharing a beautiful love story with the readers.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Burnham

    I was hooked from the opening paragraph! Can't wait to read more Liz Talley books. I was hooked from the opening paragraph! Can't wait to read more Liz Talley books.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Laura Hannaway

    This was a really sweet story and I loved the characters. The plot progression felt right as these two lost people healed and found one another, and the ending was absolutely perfect!!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jessie

    a good depiction of a widower story.

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