ARCs Book Reviews

ARC Review: A Lowcountry Bride by Preslaysa Williams

Thank you to Avon and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! A Lowcountry Bride goes on sale June 1, 2021.

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance, #OwnVoices
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐1/2
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: A heartwarming Avon debut of love, forgiveness, and new beginnings set in the beautiful South Carolina Lowcountry.

Maya Jackson has worked for Laura Whitcomb, Inc, a renowned New York City bridal gown brand for years and dreams of becoming Head Designer. She has the talent, she just needs a chance to showcase her unique style. Due to an illness, she’s always prioritized her career over her personal life until Maya’s father fractures his hip and she returns to Charleston, SC. While home for only a few months, she’s thrilled to find an opportunity at the local bridal gown boutique, never expecting sparks to fly with its owner…

A military veteran and widowed father, Derek Sullivan hopes to save Always a Bride from bankruptcy in order to preserve the legacy of his family. He also wants to reconnect with his estranged, twelve-year-old daughter, who is still recovering from the loss of her mother. The last thing he needs is a relationship with a beautiful, smart, complicated woman who will be leaving soon.

When Derek begins to fall for the lovely Maya, he knows there’s no future. But destiny has its own plans, and these two lonely people with big hearts discover that coming home to love is the best gift life can give.


My Review: A Lowcountry Bride is a wholesome contemporary romance that I loved reading. Stories involving weddings/bridals or fashion themes are always fun to read, which was the case for this story.

Maya is a talented designer who refuses to allow her sickle cell anemia to stop her from achieving her dreams and making what time she has left meaningful. She works tirelessly to keep her deceased mother’s dream for her alive and obtain validation for her personal Blasian-style designs. I wanted to jump into the story and tell her (maybe yell) how awesome she is and that she is enough. Her designs sound really cool; makes me wish there was art of her work. It’s hard for Maya to truly believe in herself. Putting her career first has kind of narrowed her focus, which made her stubbornly not want to consider other paths towards happiness. That is, until she meets Derek.

Derek is an ex-Navy Seal who is struggling to keep his mother’s bridal boutique – Always A Bride – financially afloat. His troubles are compounded by the rift in his relationship with his pre-teen daughter, Jamila, who he’s been at odds with ever since his wife and mother died tragically in a church mass shooting. Derek is a sweet guy and I admire how he’s been able to keep the store going for so long in an industry completely outside his wheelhouse. It’s clear how much being a single dad, running a business, and coming to terms with his wife and mother’s death are taking its toll on him.

Maya and Derek’s romance was so lovely and adorable. I love how supportive they were of one another, which made them want to be/do better. They are both family-oriented and work hard to honor the memory of their lost loved ones. Maya eagerly helps Derek to save the boutique, knowing he has a lot to lose. Derek believes in Maya and doesn’t want her to compromise who she is or stifle her creativity for someone like Laura Whitcomb (who I dislike for her off-handed racial comments). Their relationship wasn’t easy because of their priorities and where they live, wary of taking a chance of something new and beautiful. Maya has her father, career, and disease to consider and Derek must save the story for Jamila sake and fight his growing feelings for Maya. This brings the right amount of internal and external conflicts.

I liked that the story mostly takes place in historic Charleston, South Carolina. The infusion of history, family, culture, and community made the story more meaningful. Maya infuses her culture and the techniques her mother taught her into her work. Always A Bridal is one of the last remaining black owned business in the area.

I liked how the story was told and how characters overcame obstacles. I really enjoyed this tender, slow burn story and would read more books by this author. A Lowcountry Bride was a beautifully written debut!

One reply on “ARC Review: A Lowcountry Bride by Preslaysa Williams”

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