Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Among the Fair Magnolias

Hello!  I wanted to tell you about a new book site called The Book Club Network (  An author mentioned it on Facebook.  You should check it out when you get an opportunity.  I want to apologize in advance for the long review, but the book does contain four books (in my defense)!

Among the Fair Magnolias:  Four Southern Love Stories is a sweet Christian romance.  It contains four short stories written by four Christian fiction authors (Tamara Alexander, Shelley Gray, Elizabeth Musser, Dorothy Love).  All of the stories are set in the South from 1860 to 1878. 

The first story is A Heart So True by Dorothy Love.  Abigail Clayton (Abby) and her family are going to Osprey Cottage on Pawley’s Island (in South Carolina) for the summer (to escape the heat).  Abby is looking forward to seeing Dr. Wade Bennett.  Abby is hoping he will propose this summer.  Abby’s father has different ideas.  He wants his daughter to marry Charles Kittridge.  Kittridge’s plantation is next to the Clayton’s and it would merge their lands.  Mr. Clayton feels he would provide a better life for his daughter (even though she does not care for him at all).  Will Abby get to marry for love?

To Mend a Dream by Tamara Alexander is set in Nashville, Tennessee during 1870.  Savannah Darby is raising her younger sister and brother since the death of her parents and older brothers.  Savannah lost the family farm, Darby Farm a year ago.  Savannah earns a living working at Miss Hattie’s Dress and Drapery Shop.  Their newest commission is from Priscilla Sinclair, the fiancé to Aidan Bedford.  Aidan is a lawyer and the newest owner of Darby Farm.  Savannah needs money for new braces for her brother, Andrew (who has a club foot) and this job will provide her with a good commission as well as a chance to search.  She recently found a letter from her father (to her mother) about a treasure stored in a box in a safe place.  This will be her chance to snoop around.  Aidan and Savannah are pulled to each other from their first meeting, but they must ignore their feelings for each other (since Aidan is engaged).  Aidan is not so sure about his engagement to Priscilla.  They have nothing in common any longer and are growing further apart.  Will duty or true love triumph?

Emily Derracott has always had republican leanings and is anti-slavery in Elizabeth Musser’s Love Beyond Limits.  It is 1868 in Wilkes County, Georgia.  The war is over and slavery has ended.  Most of the men in the area are democrats (they liked slavery) and do not like that freedman are getting the vote.  Emily is vocal in her support of the freeman and women’s rights and teaches at the local school teaching them reading, writing, and arithmetic.  Unfortunately for Emily, she has fallen for the pastor, Leroy.   There is no way that they can ever be together.  Her parents wish her to marry Thomas McGinnis (they grew up together and he loves her very much) who is a staunch democrat and against the freedman’s rights.  The Klu Klux Klan has been active in the area and one day they came to the Derracott plantation (which has been converted to sharecropping).  They set fire to many buildings and hang one man.  It is rumored that Thomas is a part of the Klan.  Emily sets out to find out the truth.  Maybe she feels more for Thomas than she thinks?

Russell Andrew Champion is returning to Texas in 1878 in An Outlaw’s Heart by Shelley Gray.  His mother threw him out of the house when he was fifteen years old (of course, he had just killed his stepfather).  Emmitt Johnson, Russell’s stepfather, was a nasty and abusive man.  He abused his wife and stepson.  Russell has returned home to check on his former love, Nora Hudson.  Russell wants to make sure that she is happy (or maybe he wants to see if she is still free).  Nora is free but is seeing the traveling pastor from San Antonio.  Russell does not get a good feeling about this gentleman and sets out to get information on him.  This is Russell’s chance to make peace with his mother (she is very ill) as well as get a second chance with the love of his life.

All four stories are pleasant and sincere.  Among the Fair Magnolias was a pleasant diversion on a stormy afternoon.  I give Among the Fair Magnolias 4 out of 5 stars.  All of the stories are well-written.  My favorite was the one from Tamara Alexander.  It had great detail as well as the mystery. 

I received a complimentary copy of Among the Fair Magnolias from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  The review and opinions expressed are my own.

I finished The Watchmaker of Filigree Street around 3 a.m. (it got better towards the end).  I am now reading Maggie's Turn by Deanna Lynn Sletten.  If you enjoy reading cozy mysteries, Peg Cochran is giving away an ARC of Berried Secrets on Facebook. You just have to share her Facebook posting.  Have an enjoyable afternoon and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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