Sugar Beth Carey was once the undeniably spoiled princess of Parrish, Mississippi’s wealthiest families. She ruled her small kingdom with arrogance and lies and then left with plans to never return. But after three marriages and all the baggage they entail, Sugar Beth is somewhat tattered and torn; she’s also in need of cold, hard cash. So she returns to Parrish, not with the intention of staying, but to look for a valuable painting left to her by an aunt so that she can recoup and start life over once again. Life has tried its best to hold Sugar Beth down, but she’s still fighting and holding her own—she’s also still beautiful and sassy as ever.
However, the welcome mat is certainly not out for Sugar Beth. Her former girlfriends, the Seawillows, are all still mad at her for running out on them when she left for college and they never heard from her again. Winnie Davis, Sugar Beth’s half-sister, had nothing growing up except the one thing Sugar Beth wanted and could not have, and Sugar Beth had everything Winnie wanted, including Ryan Galantine. Ryan was Sugar Beth’s boyfriend, but Winnie dreamed of being with him and she was happy to pick up the pieces when Sugar Beth left town. Now she is married to Ryan and they have a teenage daughter named Gigi. But even now, Winnie is worried that Ryan might still be interested in Sugar Beth. The Seawillows are out to make trouble for Sugar Beth, and Winnie has big plans to humiliate Sugar Beth in a most public way.
Colin Byrne now owns the beautiful mansion that Sugar Beth grew up in while Sugar Beth lives in the property’s carriage house, which she also inherited from her aunt. Colin is seeking revenge because fifteen years ago Sugar Beth told her mother that Mr. Byrne, one of her high school teachers newly arrived from England, had made a pass at her, thereby ruining his career before it even got started. But Colin is now a famous writer and very rich, while impoverished Sugar Beth can barely afford to feed her dog. Colin offers her a job as a housekeeper in the home she grew up in and puts his plans in motion to exact his revenge.
Somewhere along the way though, Sugar Beth and Colin take a good long look at each other and recognize how much the other has changed. And they each like what they see. Yes, Sugar Beth did come back to town seeking money, but her motivation surprises everyone, especially Colin. And Sugar Beth learns that Colin is not the cold fish she always though him to be.
I loved Ain’t She Sweet?, but then I am one of Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ biggest fans. She never lets me down. Her books are always filled with wonderful dialogue; laugh out loud humor, and a great appreciation of family and friends, along with life’s struggles. You will love Sugar Beth Carey and by the end of the novel, you will love Parrish, Mississippi and the people who live there. They’re not really so unforgiving after all.