Ten years ago, Julie Portland accidentally killed her best friend, Reba. What’s worse is she got away with it. Consumed by guilt, she left the small town of Lawrence Mill, Mississippi, and swore nothing would ever drag her back. Now, raising her daughter and struggling to make ends meet in Manhattan, Julie still can’t forget the ghost of a girl with golden hair and a dangerous secret.
When August, Reba’s first love, begs Julie to come home to find the diary that Reba kept all those years ago, Julie’s past comes creeping back to haunt her. That diary could expose the shameful memories Julie has been running from, but it could also unearth the hidden truths that Reba left buried…and reveal that Julie isn’t the only one who feels responsible for Reba’s death.
Secrets of Southern Girls by Haley Harrigan started out strong but the ending left me feeling a little deflated. Julie Portland moved to New York City right out of high school, leaving memories of her past behind her. Unfortunately, hiding from her memories was much harder than she thought.
Julie’s husband left her before their child was even born because she couldn’t get over the events of her life in her small hometown in Mississippi. Five years later, with the support of her good friend Brighton, multiple jobs to pay the bills, and her daughter Beck, she begins to get a handle on life. Enter, August.
August is from Julie’s past, so when he contacts her she avoids him. But, when he knocks at her door, she knows she can no longer hide. August wants to go back to Mississippi to get answers, and he wants Julie to go back with him. She refuses at first until she learns about the diary. Reba, the only person who ties August and Julie together had a diary and intended to give it to August the night she died.
The story is told through the perspectives of Julie, August and Reba and transitions between the present and past. I liked the story telling but was disappointed that it was wrapped up so quickly with explanation verses description (I wanted to see the ending, instead, I was told the ending).