No one told him he had a son.
Actor Dylan Conner is furious. Not only has he been left out of his child’s life, the baby boy has been given another man’s last name. Determined to be a better father than the sorry guy who’d left him and his mother, Dylan fights to ensure a significant place in his son’s life. Unfortunately, his bad-boy reputation overshadows his good intentions. Only one woman in this small town sees beyond his Hollywood image. And he’s falling for her. Too bad she’s the custody mediator.
After her scandalous divorce in the small town of Oxford, Mississippi, attorney Cassie Brooks has no intentions of practicing law again. The humiliating experience left a bitter taste for love, marriage, and her profession.
Now friends need Cassie’s help in a custody negotiation, and her role demands she remain objective. She never expected to be drawn to Dylan Conner—the actor who everyone warns is bad news. Not only is the mediation at stake, but so is her heart.
I recently read Leaving Oxford, the first book in Janet Ferguson's Southern Hearts series, and I really enjoyed it. It felt realistic and featured memorable main and supporting characters, and when I finished it, I couldn't wait to continue the series with Going Up South. What I didn't anticipate was how much I would absolutely love Going Up South.
Going Up South is the story of Hollywood star Dylan Conner and recent divorcee Cassie Brooks. Both make appearances in Leaving Oxford—Dylan in a fairly sizeable role, and Cassie in a couple quick scenes. I do think it's pretty important to read Leaving Oxford prior to Going Up South, simply because it gives a good look into Dylan's past and sets up the battle for his son.
In Leaving Oxford, Dylan is a self-absorbed womanizer. He seems like a nice guy, but he clearly has problems. So I was surprised at just how much I grew to like him as Going Up South went on. I could understand his hurt and anger when he learned that Jill (best friend to Sarah Beth, Leaving Oxford's main character) had kept his son from him. I couldn't stand how poorly Sarah Beth's and Jill's husbands treated him. (Had these events taken place in Leaving Oxford, I totally would have been in the husbands' camp.) Basically, I went from seeing Dylan as an annoying bad boy in Leaving Oxford to really, really liking him—and much of that had to do with how he interacted with Cassie.
Cassie Brooks has to be one of my favorite fictional characters in recent memory. A strong woman who learned to fend for herself following her husband's betrayal, Cassie gets involved in Dylan and Jill's custody mediation because she wants to help save Jill from a custody battle that Dylan would have a good shot at winning, due to his fame and fortune. She's surprised when she finds herself falling for Dylan, and I greatly enjoyed watching their relationship develop. Cassie has a very strong faith, and it's largely due to her influence that Dylan finds his way back to the God of his childhood.
One thing I really appreciated about Going Up South was the focus on the book of James in the Bible. Reading so much about it in this book caused me to want to read it again, and I'm amazed at all the practical wisdom it contains—about taming the tongue, caring for the poor, and many other things. (I shouldn't be surprised; it is God's Word, after all. But I tend to get stuck in a rut of studying my certain favorite books and skipping others—so I'm glad that Ferguson's book prompted me to read James again!)
I loved practically everything about Going Up South! While I do wish that Cassie's ex had factored into it just a bit more so that I could have really understood the pain Cassie and her son went through, which was referenced a few times but not really explained, I can't complain too much. Going Up South is a great novel, featuring a solid plot and a sigh-inducing romance. I can't wait to continue the series with Tackling the Fields! 4-1/2 stars.
Follow the tour stops to see what others are saying:
July 7: A Reader’s Brain
July 7: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations
July 8: Bigreadersite
July 8: inklings and notions
July 9: A Greater Yes
July 9: Reviewing Novels Online
July 10: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner
July 11: Pause for Tales
July 12: Cindy’s Book Reviews
July 13: Daysong Reflections
July 14: Blogging With Carol
July 15: His Grace is Sufficient
July 16: Karen’s Krayons
July 17: Christian Chick’s Thoughts
July 17: Quiet Quilter
July 18: Cassandra M’s Place
July 18: A Bakers Perspective
July 19: Texas Book-aholic
July 20: Book Bites, Bee Stings, and Butterfly Kisses
To celebrate her tour, Janet is giving away some fantastic prizes including a $50 Amazon gift card! Click here to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/9e33