Thank you to Emma of @damppebblesblogtours for my spot today reviewing The Southern Belles by Katie Simpkins.
Not Just Any Old Riches to Rags Story.
Heiresses, Evelyn, Georgia and Olivia Belle, nicknames The Southern Belles by the tabloid press, have everything they’ve ever wanted. Then, suddenly, on Evelyn’s 30th birthday, their father dies in a tragic road traffic accident, leaving a massive hole in his business’ finances. With the world’s media, and the National Crime Agency looking on, their family home, cars and all other assets are sold at auction, leaving the sisters penniless, homeless and jobless.
Shunned by their celebrity friends, the Belle sisters must learn to fend for themselves for the first time in their lives. Evelyn, the eldest, knows how dire their situation is, and asks their father’s solicitor, who has kindly paid for their first two months’ rent on a rat- infested bedsit in Brighton, to look into their father’s case, while they hunt for jobs to make ends meet, which inadvertently leads to them meeting new guys, falling in love, and learning along the way that the world doesn’t owe them a favour, and that money doesn’t buy you happiness.
This was a delightful, charming, enchanting read, I read it over two afternoons and loved the antics of Evelyn, Georgia and Olivia Belle, or more known to society as the Southern Belles. As they go from riches to rags.
Set in Brighton in 2019, the story is told by a character known as nana, as she reads a book called Southern Belles to her grand daughter Grace, it’s Christmas Eve and Grace is ill in bed with the flu. She asks nana to read to her.
The book tells the story of Evelyn the oldest, of the sisters, after their mother had died, Evelyn had taken on the role of mother, being the eldest of the sisters, she is the shyest and seems the least confident, Georgia is the feisty one, always ready to raise her fists to defend one of her sisters, but she is also intelligent, loves the limelight, then Olivia who doesn’t seem to be the brightest, but her and Georgie are very close.
The story begins where the girls who have led a financially sheltered life, their father was rich, they have been seen around the world, forever having their photos taken by the paparazzi, until one day their father is gone, killed in a car crash, he has also been accused of abuse of money, and everything the girls have except for their clothes is taken away from them, their home, all they have is £2000. As well as a rented bedsit to live in, 2 months rent paid for by their solicitor. This is such a culture shock to these girls, who have never worked, always had money. I didn’t expect to like them but they are such great characters each and every one of them. I love their relationships with each other, their protectiveness.
Whilst in a coffee shop weighing up their options, an old friend spots them, I say friend she was until she wasn’t, because of something she did. Of course she sees her chance to get revenge, knowing these girls have nothing now, except for each other, her vendetta begins, and grows throughout the story as she blames Evie for everything, not taking any responsibility for her own actions.
The girls each get jobs, the only one who seems to have a clue what she is doing is Georgie, the other two slower learners. Having never worked, they have no idea of life without money, until now. But as we meet more and more characters, the story develops, with romance, dilemmas, and some funny moments. A shock revelation regarding their late father. The girls stick together whilst starting their new adventures in life.
A thoroughly enjoyable read, that had me in tears at the end. Well written, well plotted, and entertaining. I look forward to the next book in The Brighton Belles series.
I loved this story and give it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.
ABOUT KATIE SIMPKINS:
Katie Simpkins is the pseudonym for 42 year old dental technician Duncan Brockwell, from a town near Brighton, called Burgess Hill. Duncan works at Elite Dental Studios in his hometown during the day, and writes in his spare time. He is the author of The Southern Belles, his debut novel. Since writing The Belles, he has completed a further four novels, the first sequel to the Belles, The Varndean Vixens, two crime dramas, Blood Bunker and Blood Lust, a horror novel, Hellingly, set in an abandoned mental asylum, and is currently writing his first action / adventure called Trailblazer, set in the American Midwest in 1976, about an aging country singer who is being pursued by the mob, the FBI and a nutty sheriff, while on tour with his band and getting to know his estranged daughter, Nancy. He is also attempting to write a comedy TV series script for The Southern Belles for a producer at Voyage Media.