Psalm 27:1

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Among the Fair Magnolias Book Review

 Four Southern Love Stories

SUMMARY:  During the most turbulent decade of our nation's history, four Southern women - their destinies forged by birth and heritage - face nearly impossible choices on their journeys in life . . . and in love.

To Mend a Dream by Tamera Alexander
Savannah Darby would do almost anything to revisit her family home.  so when the new owner Aidan Bedford seeks to redecorate the house for his fiancee, Savannah jumps at the opportunity.  But can she find the box her father supposedly hid there during the war before her assignment is completed?  And before she sees yet another battle lost on the home front - this time, a battle of the heart.

An Outlaw's Heart by Shelley Gray
Seven years ago Russell Champion was betrayed by the two most important women in his life.  Now Russell returns home, but is it too late to make amends with his mother and find closure with his true love?

A Heart So True by Dorothy Love
Abigail Clayton hopes to reconcile with Dr. Wade Bennett and become his wife.  But her father insists she marry her distant cousin Charles Kittridge so the plantations of the two families will be joined.  With her wedding looming, Abby must choose between duty to her family and the yearnings of her own heart.

Love Beyond Limits by Elizabeth Musser
Emily Derracott loves her childhood friend Thomas McGinnis, but she cannot marry a man who doesn't share her strong convictions about the freedmen.  Besides, she harbors a secret love for someone else.  But the prospect of becoming his wife is not only improbable - it is completely impossible.

REVIEW:  This book consists of four novellas, all set in the 19th century: one before the Civil War' two a few years after the Civil War; and the other towards the end of the century.  They are completely separate and are each interesting in their own way.  Check it out for yourself and see what you think.

     To Mend a Dream was probably my favorite of the four.  I liked how the story flowed.  It didn't feel rushed and the timing of everything worked.  My favorite part was how everything worked out in the end.  It is also set in Nashville, one of my favorite cities to visit.

     An Outlaw's Heart was probably my least favorite.  :-(  I had a hard time getting into the story.  I like the concept of this novella and how Russell was able to see his mom.  I also liked how events worked themselves out in the end.  But, the whole thing covered just two days, maybe a week at the most, and just felt rushed.

     A Heart So True was set in Coastal South Carolina just before the Civil War.  I liked this story and how the events worked out.  Part of me was frustrated with Abigail and Wade not coming out early on and telling each other how they felt but I wonder if it was just because of the societal constraints of the time period and the "freedom" we have now.  I like how Abigail stood up to her father in regards to who she wanted to marry and how she wasn't afraid to spend the day with Wade even though his mother protested. 

     Love Beyond Limits is set in Georgia not long after the end of the Civil War when the Klu Klux Klan was terrorizing the countryside and anyone who believed differently from them.  This story is different from any I've read before.  It takes into account the lives of the former slaves, how they fared in the south after the War and how they are trying to adjust to freedom, getting an education and life in general.  Emily's family lives and works alongside of their former slaves and she teaches at the Freedman's school located on the family plantation.  Her relationship with Thomas left me scratching my head.  I understand not wanting to marry someone because their beliefs are different from yours but that bit of information is not widely told in the book.  To me, it seemed like I needed to read between the lines.  I did like how everything worked out by the end of the story, especially the part about Thomas and some misunderstandings that came into play.

This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group and Thomas Nelson Publishers 
for review without compensation.

Tamera Alexander is a USA Today best-selling author whose richly drawn characters and thought-provoking plots have earned her devoted readers worldwide, as well as multiple industry awards.  After living in Colorado for seventeen years, Tamera has returned to her Southern roots.  She and her husband make their home in Nashville, where they enjoy life with their two adult children, who live nearby, and Jack, a precious - and precocious - silky terrier.  And all of this just a stone's throw away from the beloved Southern mansions about which she writes.  Visit her at; on Facebook: tamera.alexander; Twitter: @tameraalexander; and Pinterest: tameraauthor. 

Shelley Gray is the author of The Heart of a Hero series.  Her Amish novel (written as Shelley Shepard Gray) The Protector recently made the New York Times bestseller list.  A native of Texas, she earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in Colorado and taught school for ten years.  She and her husband have two children and live in southern Ohio.  Visit her at; on Facebook: ShelleyShepardGray; and on Twitter: @ShelleySGray.

Dorothy Love, a native of West Tennessee, makes her home in the Texas Hill Country with her husband and their golden retriever.  An award-winning author of numerous young adult novels, Dorothy made her adult debut with the Hickory Ridge novels.  Visit her at; on Facebook: dorothylovebooks; and Twitter: @WriterDorothy.

Elizabeth Musser writes "Entertainment with a soul" from her writing chalet - toolshed - outside Lyon, France.  Elizabeth's highly acclaimed, bestselling novel The Swan House was named one of Amazon's Top Christian Books of the Year and one of Georgia's Top Ten Novels of the Past 100 Years (Georgia BackRoads, 2009).  All of Elizabeth's novels have been translated into multiple languages.  Two Destinites, the final novel in the Secrets of the Cross trilogy, was a finalist for the 2013 Christy Award.  For over twenty-five years, Elizabeth and her husband, Paul, have been involved in missions work with International Teams.  The Mussers have two sons, a daughter-in-law, and three grandchildren.  Visit her at; on Facebook: Elizabeth-Musser; and on Twitter: @LizzieSwanHouse.

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