Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Showcase- The Lights of Sugarberry Cove by Heather Weber

Today on the blog I'm showcasing Heather Weber's latest novel featuring small town, family, falling in love and a bit of woo woo to make it all magical.

ISBN-13: 978-1250774620
Publisher: Forge Books
Release Date: 
Length: 272pp
Buy It: Amazon/ B&N/ IndieBound



The Lights of Sugarberry Cove is a charming, delightful story of family, healing, love, and small town Southern charm by USA Today bestselling author Heather Webber.

Sadie Way Scott has been avoiding her family and hometown of Sugarberry Cove, Alabama, since she nearly drowned in the lake just outside her mother’s B&B. Eight years later, Sadie is the host of a much-loved show about southern cooking and family, but despite her success, she wonders why she was saved. What is she supposed to do?

Sadie’s sister, Leala Clare, is still haunted by the guilt she feels over the night her sister almost died. Now, at a crossroads in her marriage, Leala has everything she ever thought she wanted—so why is she so unhappy?

When their mother suffers a minor heart attack just before Sugarberry Cove’s famous water lantern festival, the two sisters come home to run the inn while she recovers. It’s the last place either of them wants to be, but with a little help from the inn’s quirky guests, the sisters may come to terms with their strained relationships, accept the past, and rediscover a little lake magic.

Read an excerpt:




“Whereabouts are you from, Sadie?” Mrs. Iona Teakes asked as she deftly chopped pecans on a wooden cutting board in her sun-steeped kitchen, the summery afternoon light spilling through a bay window overlooking the Coosa River.

Across the yawning stretch of water, the main street of a small town fluttered with activity as people went about their day. Before coming to Mrs. Teakes’s charming home, I’d stopped for lunch at the local burger place, not only for something to appease my grumbling stomach but to also get a feel for the town. Its people. Its mood. Its potential. Its heartbeat.

I’d been looking for a place to call my home for so long now that I was beginning to think I’d never find it.

But Wetumpka, Alabama, had promise.

A revitalization initiative was in full swing, and the heart of the community was evident in the rebuilding that had taken place in the years since a tornado swept through uprooting trees, buildings, lives. Heart was my number one requirement when it came to a hometown.

“I was born and raised about an hour and a half north of here. In Shelby County.”

Curiosity burned in Mrs. Teakes’s watery eyes as her gaze shifted to my hair, then away again, but she was much too polite to ask any prying questions, for which I was grateful. I’d rather not talk about myself at all, but especially not about my hair and the circumstances of how it had come to be this particular color.

My mama has often said my glittering silver tresses reminded her of starlight, as though all the stars in Alabama had fallen directly onto my head, leaving me with a sparkly crown, a stunning glow. Time and again, I’d pointed out that Alabama’s famous fallen stars had been meteorites, and if they’d crashed onto my head, I’d be dead. But Mama always argued the fact that I had died the night my hair turned color, and who was to say it hadn’t been the stars that had caused my brief death?

It hadn’t been the stars. It had been a watery accident. But Mama wasn’t one for accepting small truths, favoring bold exaggerations instead.

Stars bested water, plain and simple.

I’d drowned that summer night nearly eight years ago in Lake Laurel, at just eighteen years old. But I’d been saved. Brought back to life. Brought back to a new life. To a new normal. All these years later, I hadn’t quite figured out who this new Sadie Way Scott was exactly. Or why I had been saved. No matter how far I ran away from my hometown of Sugarberry Cove, Alabama, that particular why haunted me, following my every move, because there had been a reason. I felt it, deep down, like a pulsing bubble of pressure that kept me searching, seeking.

“Is there anything I can do to help, Mrs. Teakes?” I needed a diversion from my thoughts or else I was bound to fall into a deep mudhole of self-pity. I’d already set up my cameras, three in all, to frame specific shots of the homey kitchen that breathed vintage charm, which was easy to do since it hadn’t been updated in at least sixty years, possibly more. The room was painted a cheerful blue, and the scent of vanilla floated in the air, as if being exhaled by the colorful floral wallpaper that served as a backsplash. The bulbous white fridge, covered in family photos, postcards, and old newspaper clippings, hummed loudly, its long chrome handle gleaming. The wide stove with side-by-side ovens had two storage drawers at the bottom, and I could only imagine the stories it could tell of the meals it had cooked.

But those stories would have to wait. The focus of today’s video was on a dish served cold. Several small glass bowls were lined up along the ceramic tile countertop, each filled with a different ingredient. Shredded coconut. Mandarin oranges. Sour cream. Maraschino cherries. Pineapple chunks. Mini marshmallows. Once the food prep was complete, I’d be the one asking all the questions for the sake of the video, which would be posted the following week on my YouTube channel, A Southern Hankerin’.

The videos were about more than Southern cooking. At their heart were human-interest pieces featuring people across the South willing to share a family recipe and the story behind it. Last week, I’d had an in-depth preliminary phone interview with Mrs. Teakes, and today, I’d film her while she told me how, in the late 1960s, she’d captured the heart of her late husband with her recipe for ambrosia salad.

During the interview I’d be sure to mention how the South proudly labeled some desserts as salad. To those who lived here, this came as no surprise. After all, this was the land where mac and cheese was considered a vegetable. But my audience wasn’t limited to the South. I had viewership that spanned the globe, a fact that amazed me—though it shouldn’t. People tuned in for the heartwarming, relatable stories, which were needed in the world more now than ever.

Mrs. Teakes set down her knife and flexed age-spotted hands. Intelligent brown eyes, framed in an abundance of delicate wrinkles, assessed while their softness begged for more information. “Not much left to do, only these pecans to finish chopping. Whereabouts in Shelby County?”

I fussed with a camera setting that needed no adjustment. “Sugarberry Cove.”

The river water below Mrs. Teakes’s kitchen churned with happiness, white-crested rapids pushing and pulling and racing. Farther down the river, the water calmed, gradually stretching into stillness near a bridge with five arches that created circular reflections on the water’s suddenly smooth, glassy surface.

Still waters that reminded me of what used to be my home.

“On Lake Laurel? How wonderful! I’ve been several times for the water lantern festival. A lovely little town. So enchanting. Do you still live there?”

Much like the rapids, my stomach churned as I glanced at the clock on the countertop microwave, wishing time away. My gaze shifted to a tarnished brass teakettle that rested on a stove eye, then to two teacups that dangled on hooks under a golden oak cabinet, one cup having MR. stenciled on it, the other MRS. The former looked pristine in condition, the latter well used, well loved, with its tea-darkened interior and chipped handle. Hung askew on the wall by the fridge was a framed, stained cross-stitched cloth with the words HOME IS WHERE YOUR HEART IS.

Old wounds ached at the simple words, and I turned to look out the window instead of at the phrase that haunted. Mocked.

“No, ma’am, but I still have family up that way. My older sister, her husband, and their little boy live up there. And my mother owns a bed-and-breakfast cottage on the lake and my great-uncle, who’s more like a granddaddy to me, lives and works at the cottage, too.” I bit my lip to keep from saying any more, from spilling my heart onto the cutting board next to the pecans. Why was I revealing so much?

But I knew why.

The water.

Copyright © 2021 by Heather Webber
Download the Reading Guide HERE
A Perfect book for a book club

About the author:
HEATHER WEBBER is the nationally bestselling author of more than thirty novels and has been twice nominated for an Agatha Award. She is the USA Today bestselling author of Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe and South of the Buttonwood Tree. She loves to spend time with her family, read, drink too much coffee and tea, birdwatch, crochet, watch cooking competition and home improvement shows, and bake. Heather lives in southwestern Ohio and is hard at work on her next book.