Authors: Tamera Alexander, Shelley Gray, Dorothy Love, Elizabeth Musser
Review by Grace Olson
Taken from Book Look Bloggers’ website description of Among the Fair Magnolias:
Four Southern women are at a turning point in history . . . and in their own hearts.
To Mend a Dream by Tamera Alexander
The Civil War cost Savannah Darby everything-her family and her home. When Aidan Bedford, an attorney from Boston, buys the Darby estate, he hires Savannah to redecorate. Can she find a mysterious treasure before her job is finished?
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 that she is 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.
Of all four of these authors, I’d previously read novels by a grand total of…one. But reading about the Old South before, after, and during the Civil War has always been fascinating for me. I think it’s because of how transitional the time was, how it took great courage to stand true to what you believed in, and the complex paradoxes people faced. Not everything was black and white. Gray abounded during this time. These four authors did a superb job of providing four intriguing, unique stories that didn’t feel rushed, despite the shorter wordcounts. Yet they all still provided what I love about this time period.
I enjoyed To Mend a Dream more than I did the novel where Savannah Darby first made an appearance, To Win Her Favor (you can read my thoughts on that book here). I liked Savannah as a character. She was hardworking, courageous, and struggled with her prejudice and the difficulties of working in a house in which she was previously mistress. A great wrap up to her story.
An Outlaw’s Heart is actually placed last in the collection, not second, just so there’s no confusion. This was a great ending to this collection, a true Western with a noble, yet flawed hero and an utterly villainous bad guy. 😉 It didn’t take me nearly as long as Nora to fall (again?) for Russell. A truly fun story.
Shudder, Charles. That’s partly what I remember from A Heart So True. Poor Abigail had to face whether to live up to her family’s heavy expectations, or follow the longing of her heart that clearly was leading in the right direction.
I honestly wasn’t sure which way the story, Love Beyond Limits, would go. Elizabeth Musser kept me—and Emily!—guessing. The Ku Klux Klan, that infamous group of the reconstruction period (and somewhat beyond) has a part in this book. I really enjoyed reading about Emily and how she tried to follow her convictions, yet at times found herself judging others unfairly.
Among the Fair Magnolias fufilled all it promised to be: Four sweet love stories, set during turbulent times, with choices demanded of the heros and heroines. I would definitely recommend this collection, especially to those who enjoy this historical time period. Or if you’re simply wanting to read something from your favorite author as well as discover someone new, this is a great collection in which to do so.
About the Authors
Biographies from Book Look Bloggers’ website:
Tamera Alexander is the best-selling author of numerous books including A Lasting Impression and The Inheritance. Her richly-drawn characters and thought-provoking plots have earned her devoted readers worldwide. Tamera is a two-time Christy Award winner, two-time RITA winner, and a recipient of the prestigious Library Journal Award. Tamera and her husband recently returned to her Southern roots and now make their home in Nashville. Visit her website at http://www.tameraalexander.com Facebook: tamera.alexander Twitter: @tameraalexander
A native of west Tennessee, 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. Facebook: dorothylovebooks Twitter: @WriterDorothy
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. 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 website at http://www.shelleyshepardgray.com Facebook: ShelleyShepardGray Twitter: @ShelleySGray
Elizabeth Musser, a native of Atlanta, Georgia now living in France, is a novelist who writes what she calls ‘entertainment with a soul.’ Elizabeth attended The Westminster Schools in Atlanta and Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee where she majored in French and English literature, graduated magna cum laude and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa honor society.
I was given a review copy of Among the Fair Magnolias from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my review. The opinions expressed are my own.