In the most turbulent decade of our nation's history, four Southern women---destinies forged by birth, hearts steeled by war---face near 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 new owner, Aidan Bedford, a Boston attorney and former Union soldier, seeks to redecorate the house for his fiancée, Savannah jumps at the opportunity. But the clock is ticking. 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, one of the heart.
An Outlaw's Heart by Shelley Gray
When Russell Stark returns to Fort Worth, he's determined to begin a new life. But when he arrives at his mother's homestead, he discovers she's very ill, and the woman he loved is still as beautiful and sweet as he remembered. With time running out, Russell must come to terms with both his future and his past.
A Heart So True by Dorothy Love
Abigail knows all too well what is expected of her: to marry her distant cousin Charles and take her place in society. But her heart belongs to another. A terrible incident forces Abby to choose between love and duty.
Love Beyond Limits by Elizabeth Musser
Emily has a secret: She's in love with one of the freedmen on her family's plantation. Meanwhile, another man declares his love for her. Emily realizes some things are not as they seem and secrets must be kept in order to keep those she loves safe.
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.
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Dorothy Love 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. website, Twitter, Facebook
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 best seller list. website, Twitter, Facebook
Elizabeth Musser, a native of Atlanta, Georgia, now living in France, is a novelist who writes what she calls 'entertainment with a soul.' For over 25 years, Elizabeth and her husband, Paul, have been involved in mission work with International Teams. website, Twitter, Facebook
Four best-selling novelists bring tales of four Southern women who face near impossible choices on their journeys in life and in love during the most turbulent decade of our nation’s history in Among the Fair Magnolias. Don't miss this collection of stories from Tamera Alexander, Shelley Gray, Dorothy Love, and Elizabeth Musser.
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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. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase an item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."