Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Review + GIVEAWAY: Among the Fair Magnolias


Among the Fair Magnolias
By Tamera Alexander, Shelley Gray, Dorothy Love, Elizabeth Musser
Thomas Nelson, 2015


Among the Fair Magnolias is a wonderfully entertaining and moving collection of stories. It's all about historical romance and being southern fiction is a bonus for me, but these character-driven stories rise above that genre with their compelling storylines set during a turbulent time in America's history from 1860-1878. There's no way I could pick a favorite because all are well written and compelling in their own way.

Among the Fair Magnolias . . . What an evocative title for these four novellas featuring Southern women with hidden depths! As a life-long resident of Georgia, I've always known of the magnolia blossom's association with the perseverance, dignity, and strength that Southern women possess - the ingrained ability to not just endure hardships, but to rise above them. And that is exactly what you will find here. I delight in recommending this novella collection with surprising depth.


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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.

Duty, politics, physical abuse and action that held my interest are just a few elements that we see in Dorothy's story. I loved revisiting the Pawleys Island, South Carolina, setting of Carolina Gold and even seeing a few familiar faces. So glad Dorothy brought us back there. Wish there could have been a little more "together" time and relationship development for Abigail and Wade, but still very enjoyable.


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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.

Savannah Darby was a memorable secondary character in To Win Her Favor and I'm so glad Tamera was able to feature her here. This is a beautiful and poignant story packed with intricacies skillfully woven together. Everything about Savannah and Aidan is real and touching, with great chemistry between them. And the story beautifully illustrates God's quiet orchestration of our lives, expressed as they reflected on how often "He interlaced such painful parts of this earthly journey with such joyous ones, weaving them together with such skill and grace. And beauty."


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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.

This is the first story by Elizabeth Musser that I've read and let me just say that I will be searching for more immediately, for anyone who  can write such a moving and eye-opening story as this demands my attention. I loved the Georgia setting, although I learned a lot about my state's Reconstruction history that I'm not proud of. Elizabeth spins a poignant story that features themes of racial superiority and "taboo" relationships, making me realize that our world hasn't progressed all that much. And I had so much admiration for the lead characters, Emily and Thomas.


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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.

Up until now, all I have read by Shelley Gray has been Amish fiction, but it's evident that her creative storytelling ability carries over to other genres as well. Russell Champion's story evolved from Shelley's previous historical series and I simply loved this flawed character, as well as Nora and others in the town. Poignant and touching, this story beautifully conveys forgiveness, change, and that we shouldn't always define people by their past - and that you really can go home!


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        Tamera Alexander is the best-selling author of numerous books including “A Lasting Impression” and “The Inheritance.” Tamera is a two-time Christy Award winner, two-time RITA winner, and a recipient of the prestigious Library Journal Award.
        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.
        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.
        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.

Find out more about Alexander, Gray, Love, Musser at http://www.thomasnelson.com/among-the-fair-magnolias.

The post Story Spotlight on ‘Among the Fair Magnolias’ appeared first on Litfuse Publicity Group.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


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GIVEAWAY

To enter the drawing for Among the Fair Magnolias . . .

1) Please go to my Facebook page and share about this giveaway ("likes" to my FB page are not required, but very much appreciated).

2) Simply leave a comment as to why this book appeals to you.

Name and email address required for entry - leave in a safe format - [at] and [dot]. Contest ends at midnight PST on Sunday, August 30. Winner will be chosen by Random.org and contacted by e-mail.

Eligibility: US residents

46 comments:

  1. This book appeals mostly because it hosts some of my favorite authors. The cover is also lovely. I'd so enjoy adding it to my collection!
    kathrynlvoss(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. I totally agree with you, Kate. And an added bonus for me is that I discovered a new favorite author in Elizabeth Musser. I've always wanted to try her books, just never found the time. Will definitely correct that situation!

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  2. I am so glad I am linked with you and didn't miss this announcement! Would love to win. I have been watching this go back and forth between blogs and... alas, I have not read it yet. YaY for your review and offering. Thanks, Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House lanehillhouse[at]centurylink[dot]net Why? I have read all of these authors and would delight in this southern charm ~ and... an early flowering tree, even in northern states ~ very hardy! Perfume in the air as a sweet fragrance we are to be.

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    1. It's always great to see you here, Kathleen! So glad we're connected. Don't you love it when talented authors join together in creating a themed collection? You will definitely enjoy these stories. Best wishes, dear Kathleen!

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  3. These are some terrific authors, Elizabeth and Tamera are two of my favorites. Even though I'm not southern (and have never even lived there), I really enjoy reading books set in the south. Thanks for the giveaway.
    pmkellogg56[at]gmail[dot]com

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    1. Southern fiction just has a charming appeal for me, Pam, but you're right - you don't have to have a southern connection to enjoy it. I'm also drawn to New England and British settings. It's always good to see you here!

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  4. I love southern historical fiction l.bergh@sbcglobal.net.

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    1. Me too, Laurie. Southern fiction seems to have a charm all its own. Thank you for visiting today.

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  5. I have always been fascinated with history. Growing up as a kid my favorite books were the Little House on the Prairie books. These books appeal toe both because of their historical context and because of the southern setting. I am so grateful for a chance to win it!!! Thank you!
    Cspicuzza83(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. We certainly think alike, Christina! This collection has lots of southern charm, plus good character depth. I believe you'll enjoy it very much. Thank you for visiting, Christina.

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  6. I love the cover and I love historical southern romance :)
    jhoorm01atyahoodotcom

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    1. I'm right there with you, Joy! Thank you for visiting today.

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  7. Shared from your Facebook page . The cover I so pretty it really draws me in . I am so excited to have all my favorite authors in one novella. What could be better than this, except for a visit to your blog, Carole ? I love following you on goodreads , Carole. It's fun to see what your reading and know how you rated the books. Thank you for the opportunity to win and read this.
    Deanne Patterson
    Cnnamongirl at aol dot com

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    1. Deanne, writing doesn't come easily, so your words really bless me. You won't see a lot of suspense on my Goodreads shelf, although I do read a little. Character-driven relationship stories are my favorite.

      It's always great to see you here and all those other places online, Deanne. Wish we lived close together.

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  8. I can't wait to read this book ! I love each of these authors books, I have read almost every book they have out. I have seen all great reviews and look forward to reading it soon.
    Thank you
    mcnuttjem0(AT)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Jackie, I had read three of them before, but Elizabeth Musser was new to me. Let's just say that I'll be reading more by her very soon! Best wishes in the drawing.

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  9. I love the historical Christian fiction!
    grandmama(underscore)brenda(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Me too, Brenda. That's what I keep coming back to after reading a different type of book. Thanks for visiting today.

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  10. I love historical romance & the synopsis of all the books sound so intriguing. The cover is beautiful, and I enjoy all of the authors.....it's an all-around win!

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    1. I don't think you'll be disappointed in the least with this collection, Alison. Good luck in the drawing!

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  11. Oops! I forgot to leave my name & email address. Alison Boss
    nj{dot}bossman{at}gmail{dot}com

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  12. I love reading about the South since I live deep in the South. The book appeals to me because it has a rich historical theme with stories that blend nicely with the era. I appreciate the chance to win. It will have a good home and be treasured forever.
    Jhdwayne@peoplepc.com
    Deana

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    1. Deana, I've always lived in the South and there's just a charm to this type of fiction. I have no hesitancy in recommending this book to you. Always good to see you here, Deana!

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  13. I have been a HUGE fan of Tamera Alexander since I discovered her several years ago. The auther authors writing for this novel are newer to me and their books are on my TBR shelf. Would love to read this. Thanks for the giveaway.

    sydneyjames68[at]gmail[dot]com

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    1. Sydney, you made it here - and you left your e-mail address this time! LOL

      After reading Tamera's latest novel, I became a huge fan of her writing, and this novella follows up on one of those secondary characters. Elizabeth Musser was a new author to me and I highly recommend her also. Best wishes in the drawing, Sydney.

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  14. I have already posted but don't see my post. For some reason my mail server, AOL is not liked by this mail server and doesn't want to be posted. I hope it get's posted this time so I can enter.
    I love reading about the historical South, so much wonderfully interesting history here. I love these authors books and this is definitely above the rest. I would love to have a chance to read this. I follow your blog by email. Thank you for the wonderful giveaway opportunity !
    Deanne Patterson
    Cnnamongirl at aol dot com

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    1. Deanne, your comment came through the first time, but neither of us knew it. I left you a comment above. Thanks for your patience!

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  15. Hello Carole! There are SO many appealing aspects of Among the Fair Magnolias. The authors are AMAZING. The cover is GORGEOUS. I love the historical theme. I live in South Texas, therefore this book is a must read for me. :)

    psalm103and138[at]gmail[dot]com

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    1. I totally agree with all you said, Caryl! And I can't remember for sure, but I think Shelley's novella takes place in Texas. It's always great to see you here - and everywhere else online!

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  16. The cover is so beautiful! I love to read novellas and the southern charm of these sounds very appealing.
    pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

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    1. Beth, I think you will be very pleased with this collection. I'm glad to see novella collections like this being published because sometimes they just hit the spot, especially when I'm going through a busy time. Great to see you here, Beth.

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  17. Deanne's post wouldn't go through, so I'm adding her comment . . .

    I love reading about the historical South, so much wonderfully interesting history here. I love these authors books and this is definitely above the rest. I would love to have a chance to read this. I follow your blog by email. Thank you for the wonderful giveaway opportunity !

    Deanne Patterson
    Cnnamongirl at aol dot com

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  18. I like the authors and the cover is lovely!

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    1. Anne, I love how in a collection like this, you sometimes discover a new author, and that was the case with Elizabeth Musser. Not new, but new to me, and I will be reading more by her very soon. Thanks for visiting.

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  19. forgot my email
    anne at rightler dot com

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  20. I love historical fiction, especially with a southern setting! This sounds like a wonderful read. glindathegood@bellsouth.net

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    1. It really is a wonderful read. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

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  21. This collection appeals to me from the description . If these stories are character driven and have compelling story lines, then I am excited to read them! I also love historical fiction and this cover is lovely! Jeanne Jeissman@hotmail.com

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    1. I'm all about character-driven stories, Jeanne, and I think this is one you will enjoy. Sometimes you get to discover a new author this way, and I was excited to read Elizabeth Musser for the first time. But all four are very good. Best wishes in the drawing, Jeanne.

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  22. This book appeal to me because it has all my favorite authors in one book,

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  23. Would love to read this collection ,some really great authors ,love them all.
    Elmamc56 (at)yahoo (dot)Com
    Thank you

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  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  25. Thank you for entering my comment for me, Carole . = - )

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  26. I love Tamera's books. She is a fabulous author of historical fiction. Thank you for a chance to win.
    leliamae54@aol.com

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  27. Thanks for your beautiful review, Carole!!

    I've had my eye on this book since I first read about it - love the time era, story lines, & authors!! Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!!

    Shared post!!

    bonnieroof60(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  28. Thanks for sharing with us at #JoyHopeLive!

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