A review by indywrites
Among the Fair Magnolias: Four Southern Love Stories by Shelley Gray, Dorothy Love, Elizabeth Musser


Among The Fair Magnolias

This book has 4 novellas by 4 very eloquent ladies. I had already read two of them and was glad I signed up to read and review this book for Litfuse. These four stories are all set in the turbulent times with a lot of changes happening all around. The love stories also mirror the tension, anxiety, conflicts and the reluctant acceptance of the changes.

To Mend a Dream by Tamera Alexander

Tamera has mentioned that Savannah had stayed in her thoughts after the novel To Win Her Favor and I agree! While reading it I wanted to read Savannah’s love story. Does she get her home back? Does she find what she is looking for? Who does she finally fall in love with? To Mend A Dream answers all these and some more. I found the story so engaging; in fact this is my favorite among all the four stories. The sad yet strong Savannah trying to keep her family together is so endearing. She works hard and fast, trying to keep a roof over her siblings and looking for the box left for her by her father.

Aidan is conflicted and his longing for peace, his association with the war leave him unsettled and that he is second guessing his proposal to Ms. Priscilla who turns out to be quite a task master. The poems that he remembers about Nashville bring a tear to the eye. Oh! Sweet Jesus, let me live to taste that again…..for the Peach Cobbler. The beauty of the place, the rolling greens and peace and quiet add to the charm of the book. Character with layers, plot with a questions that kept me turning the pages, I was glued to the book.

The scene when Savannah finally finds what she is looking for and finds much more than she thought possible is just the sweetest ever! Her coy, “I’m afraid we southerners don’t speak so openly of such matters……” was so sweet. A perfect ending to Savannah’s journey as she finally comes home.

An Outlaw's Heart by Shelley Gray

This story was fast, crisp and I enjoyed Russell as he was a man with hope, love and faith in his heart even though he had lost so much. He had been in the woods and a lesser man might embrace the dark side but not Russell. I think the best decision he made was to come back and see his mother that he found his long lost love made the return so special. Nora, the sweet, helpful young girl who had sent him away regretted her action for seven years and she got a chance to fix things. That she had a beau – Braedon only made it easy for her to realize the real thing.

An Outlaw's Heart is a story that celebrates ‘second chances’ and of course true love finds a way!

A Heart So True by Dorothy Love

Abigail is a woman who knows her mind and I feel it were women like her who help women come out and make progress alongside men. Dr Wade Bennet is the one who has her heart and she wants to work with him, help him. Her parents make no secret of their liking for Charles and she bows down to their demands.
That she agreed to her parents even though it broke her heart told of the sacrifices we make for those whom we love. Turbulent times and quickly changing political changes add to the confusion. Yet in the end even her father realized that knowingly one cannot thrust one’s own child into abuse.

Even I wanted to smack Charles along with Wade!! A simple, sweet and succulent love story.

Love Beyond Limits by Elizabeth Musser

This story about Emily had so much suspense that I was wondering about the truth right till the end!

Emily thought she was in love with Leroy, a freedman from her own plantation and she was being courted by her childhood friend Thomas McGinnis. That he seems forceful yet loving, calm yet haunted by memories makes him and intriguing character. Even Emily had trouble understanding him.

When the troubled times head over to Emily’s farm and things come to a head I realized the true actions of Thomas and Leroy. Love Beyond Limits was a book that brought strong passions to fore and highlighted the times when life was so easily lost. The Ku Klux Klan was indeed a dreaded plague that wreaked havoc in so many lives. The manner in which Thomas was entangled with them and the lengths he went to save his love was so heartwarming.

I always enjoy stories where the heroine is not a typical damsel in distress but tries to tackle the odds on her own. She is willing to take help but is not waiting for it. The women in the stories were just as strong, determined and proactive like the women of today.

A true representation of the Magnolias and so very apt. A must read for lovers for romance which scales impossible odds!

(I received a copy of the book from Litfuse for an honest review.)