Steel Within Silk – Book Review : AMONG THE FAIR MAGNOLIAS

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.)

About the book: 

Among the Fair Magnolias

(Thomas Nelson, July 2015)

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.
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About the authors:
Tamera Alexander is the best-selling author of numerous books including A Lasting Impressionand 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. 

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

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