Literary Insights

Literary Insights: A Book Lovers Review

Monday, July 27, 2015

Among the Fair Magnolias: Four Southern Love Stories by Tamera Alexander, Dorothy Love, Shelley Gray, and Elizabeth Musser

Among The Fair Magnolias is a new book containing four novellas telling tales about women during the tumultuous times of the Civil War. In the most turbulent decade of our nation's history; four Southern women whom, destinies forged by birth and hearts steeled by war, face near impossible choices on their journeys in life and in love.  This collection of novella's all deal with the time period just before or after the American Civil War. Each of the stories deal with loss and how trusting God gives strength through trials.  
To Mend a Dream by Tamera Alexander
          Savannah lost more during the war than she thought possible, family and her home and everything in it.  Savannah has been left with her younger brother and sister to raise on her own. 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 fiancĂ©e, 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, the battle for her heart. A sweet story of trusting God and finding love and peace in the bargain.

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. Also 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.
Russell ran away from home as a seventeen year old boy; now he has returned seven years later to find everything changed! His mother is near death and Nora, the girl he still loves, has taken up with a man that Russell has a bad feeling about. This is a sweet and amusing story about second chances to do what is right.

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, although her heart belongs to another. A terrible incident forces Abby to choose between love and duty.
 Abigail Clayton, who is caught between her father's strong wish that she marry her cousin Charles Kittridge and her own heart's desire for Dr. Wade Bennett. Will you be surprised to discover which direction wins Abigail's heart in the end? Did not really like this story as much as the others – the main character was portrayed a bit to childish and spoiled, I had to go back to see how old she was. Other than the main character, which was annoying, the overall story concluded with lessons learned and resolved satisfactorily.

Love Beyond Limits by Elizabeth Musser
           The story of Emily Derracott, living in Wilkes County, Georgia, during the early days of the beatings and murders of the Ku Klux Klan. 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. Will she follow after her feelings of a forbidden love for Washington's brother, Leroy, or will she follow her parent's wishes for her to marry her childhood friend, Thomas McGinnis, who she suspects is part of the Klan? Keep reading to see where the Lord leads Emily with all the questions she has about her changing world. Another story that seemed to portray a spoiled child woman who doesn’t think but in the end comes to her senses.

All of these authors succeeded in creating stories that can transport you to another time. One advantage about novella collections is being able to sample the writing of several authors, especially those you may not be familiar with. Although I liked some stories more than the others, it is still an enjoyable read for last lazy days of summer. Each novella includes a delicious Southern recipe that's inherent to each author's story and that will suit your book club meetings. Overall this is a nice collection of sweet, historical romances with a solid thread of faith throughout. I recommend this collection of novellas, especially if you haven't sampled these authors' work before.

 I received a copy of book from BookLook Blogging for Books program for my review. 

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