A review by cctblog
Among the Fair Magnolias: Four Southern Love Stories by Tamera Alexander, Shelley Gray, Dorothy Love


While I generally prefer full-length novels, sometimes I just want a quick read—something I can get through in about an hour. Novellas like those in Among the Fair Magnolias often fit the bill.

I picked up Among the Fair Magnolias after I'd finished reading a fairly intense novel, and the novellas inside were the perfect antidote to the heaviness I'd been dealing with. As is the case with most novella collections, I enjoyed some novellas more than others, but they all provided a nice diversion. 4 stars for the collection. Read on to see my thoughts on each of the novellas.

To Mend a Dream by Tamara Alexander is simply fantastic! I loved every second I spent reading it. Some novellas feel rushed, but this one didn't, yet neither did it drag. I do wish it had been longer, simply because I enjoyed the experience of reading it so much! Savannah and Aidan are so likeable, and Alexander did a fantastic job of building the chemistry between them in such a short period of time. The subplots of Savannah's search for hidden treasure and Aidan's desire to find his friend's home just add to the main "falling in love" plot. Wonderful story. 5 stars.

An Outlaw's Heart by Shelley Gray features a man searching for redemption and the woman who has loved him since childhood. While I did enjoy this novella, it felt a bit too condensed—the bad guy was revealed quickly and easily, and I felt like things with him ended a bit anticlimactically. But the romance between Russell and Nora was sweet, and I liked the way Russell gained back the trust of the town. While this wasn't the most memorable of stories, I did enjoy it while I read it. 3 stars.

A Heart So True by Dorothy Love is the one novella in this collection that I just couldn't get into. The villain was so evil, and I couldn't understand why Abigail refused to tell her parents the truth about him. I also didn't really care about Abigail and Wade's romance, perhaps because all of the falling in love happened prior to the beginning of the novella. It simply did not keep my interest. I did, however, enjoy reading about Abigail's mother. She was an intriguing character, and I'd be interested in learning more of her story. 2 stars.

Love Beyond Limits by Elizabeth Musser is, well, not at all what I was expecting—in a good way! While there is some romance, the focus of the story is the danger and opposition the freedmen faced in Georgia during Reconstruction. Along with Emily, I wanted to shout from the rooftops that all men are created equal. (This may have to do with my recent viewing of Selma, but boy does racism get me fired up right now!) This is such a well written story that pulls on your heart! I did think Emily's affections shifted a bit suddenly, but overall, this novella was great. 4-1/2 stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.