I can’t claim the title of this review as my own. The cover of The Night the Lights Went Out features a pull quote from a review stating, “If Big Little Lies met To Kill a Mockingbird.” As much as I love Karen White’s books, I instantly thought, “Yeah, right.” I’m pleased to say I was wrong. This book is pure entertainment. I couldn’t put it down. I get the reticence to compare a beach-y read to a literary classic, but let’s roll with it this time, because the story-line really does match with this near-perfect summary.
After newly divorced Merilee moves to a quiet house with her two children, she meets a cast of characters who dredge up old memories that she’d long to keep hidden. Some seem trustworthy while others are questionable. Sugar, the town’s matriarch and Merilee’s new landlord, is among the former, and the two women forge a bond that will ultimately save both of their lives.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – It’s all about character development. Of that, Karen White is a pro. I was immersed in the southern charms of Sweet Apple, Georgia, and my heartbeat quickened as I ventured through the twists and turns of Merilee’s present-day life and Sugar’s past. I figured out the plot twist before it occurred, but that didn’t make it any less satisfying. White’s villain is worthy of loathing, and, like a parent soothing her anxious child, I had to assure my racing heart that it was just a book.