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'Save the Date' by Mary Kay Andrews: A romance with mystery and heart

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Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews

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Mary Kay Andrews has done it again -- she has written a novel set in the South with a compelling heroine and a fascinating setting and plot. Cara, the protagonist, lives in Savannah, and the reader will almost need a fan and lots of iced tea to stay cool while reading about the heat.

The heat comes from several sources: the steamy Savannah summer heat; the heat ignited by the spark that smolders when Cara and Jack meet; and, literally, the heat Cara feels when the air conditioning in her shop-cum-apartment breaks.

Mary Kay Andrews loves to write about Southern Society (yes, in capital letters) -- the families and the men and women who have lived in a town (in the South) for generations upon generations. In this case, Cara is the interloper, coming from Ohio.

When Cara moved to Savannah from Ohio with her husband (now an "ex"), she struggled to fit in. The neighbors snubbed and ignored her. It's only when she takes over a florist shop that Cara finally is able to feel a part of Savannah. Her business is growing, and she and her dog, Poppy, live over the shop.

When a rival florist moves into town, it seems he's determined to put Cara out of business. However, Cara has made friends in town, and she's not going down easily.

Cara is stubborn, principled and unique -- from the vintage dresses she loves to wear to the lengths she will go to in order to make her clients happy. Andrews has researched her flowers, and the reader will be able to picture (and almost smell the aroma of) the multitude of flowers that go into bouquets and wedding arrangements.

The book is both heart-warming and humorous. It's also a peek into the world of wedding planning, and that's a fascinating look at brides, mother-of-the-brides and all the work that goes into making the wedding day unforgettable. It's also filled with that special something that makes Mary Kay Andrews' books unique -- a touch of mystery, a heavy dose of romance, some fun and plenty of Southern women.

If you liked "Ladies' Night," "Spring Fever" and "Summer Rental," you'll love "Save the Date."

Please note: This review is based on the final hardcover book provided by the publisher, St. Martin's Press, for review purposes.

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