“The Sweet Smell of Magnolias and Memories” is the first book I have read by Celeste Fletcher McHale. If it is a true sample of her other books, it will definitely not be the last one.
A contemporary love story, the novel is populated with well-defined and likeable characters, the kind of people for whom you want all the best. Situations throughout the story are true-to-life and easy to identify with. I particularly like the way Jacey and Colin’s relationship developed and how Jacey was emotionally healed as she found faith in Christ.
“The Sweet Smell of Magnolias and Memories” is the story of two people who met and fell in love quickly during a tremendously traumatic emergency then lost touch for over a year. Meeting unexpectedly once again, both Jacey and Colin must get to know each other under “normal” conditions and Jacey is convinced she was mistaken in her feelings for Colin. This story is filled with drama, humor, romance, and numerous twists that kept me happily reading. I look forward to reading more by this author.
I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book that was provided by Amazon Vine. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
“There’s no time,” Colin said. “You have to go. Find me, call me . . .”
Jacey and Colin shared the three most intense days of their lives together, waiting for help as Mississippi floodwaters surrounded them. Jacey knew Colin was the love of her life—until her rescue boat went under water, along with Colin’s last name and pieces of Jacey’s memory.
The last thing she remembered was being submerged in water. Again.
As Jacey walks down the aisle as the maid of honor in her friend’s wedding a year later, the last person she expects to see is Colin. The biggest surprise, though, is that the man of her dreams is not wearing jeans and flip-flops as he did when he held her through those long nights of the flood. He’s the preacher.
As Jacey’s memories come flooding back, it’s almost more than she can take. The fate of the young family trapped with them haunts her. The unwavering honesty—and support—of her best friend Georgia forces her to take a fresh look at herself. She’s spent her life afraid of love. But this flood is opening Jacey’s heart in the most unexpected ways.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Celeste Fletcher McHale lives on her family farm in Central Louisiana where she enjoys raising a variety of animals. Her hobbies include writing, football, baseball, and spending much time with her grandchildren.
I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the previous books in the Mary Ellis Secrets of the South series so I was thrilled to have the chance to review “Sunset in Old Savannah”. As a lifetime southern gal, I love reading books about my part of the world, especially mysteries and suspense so this book was especially welcome.
Readers who got to know Michael and Elizabeth in the previous novel “Magnolia Moonlight” should be familiar with the tension between the two of them and might well wonder how an assignment working together in Savannah will turn out. What begins as routine surveillance turns into a murder mystery that Michael and Elizabeth just can’t ignore. What fun to follow them on their investigation as one secret after another is revealed. And could their animosity possibly change into affection?
The plot of “Magnolia Moonlight” moves along at a steady clip with plenty of twists and surprises that kept me guessing nearly until the end. Strong characters and excellent dialogue kept things moving right along. A secondary mystery involving a newly introduced character added depth to the story and left me anticipating the next book in the series (I hope!).
I love this series so much that I would be happy if it continues for several more volumes. I don’t think I could possibly grow bored with it. I hope you’re listening Mary Ellis!
I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book that was provided by Harvest House. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
In Savannah, Everyone Has Something to Hide
When socialite Evelyn Doyle hires investigative partners and best friends Michael Preston and Elizabeth Kirby to do some routine surveillance on her wayward husband, the detective duo find themselves embroiled in a mystery that leaves them in this beautiful, historic city longer than they had expected.
Evelyn’s husband turns up dead, leaving her as the police chief’s prime target. The investigation reveals a hodgepodge of potential murderers, including a scheming business partner, a resentful mistress, and a ne’er-do-well brother. It’s up to Mike and Beth to follow the trail of secrets that reaches further than the branches of the moss-draped oaks of Savannah.
As praise of the agency gets around town, business is growing for Price Investigations. When Mike and Beth hire Kaitlyn Webb, Savannah’s newest transplant, their workload eases, but will the ghosts of her past threaten everyone’s safety before a killer can be put behind bars? And can Mike and Beth find love as their friendship and faith are put to the test?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mary Ellis is the bestselling author of many books, including A Widow’s Hope, An Amish Family Reunion, and Living in Harmony. She and her husband live in central Ohio, where they try to live a simpler style of life.
As a lifetime southerner, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about some of our history in Beth White’s Gulf Coast Chronicles. For some reason, that history was severely neglected during my school years. “The Magnolia Duchess” takes the reader to the southern coast during the War of 1812, particularly during the Battle of New Orleans. I couldn’t help but recall that beloved song by Johnny Horton from my childhood –
“We fired our guns and the British kept a-comin’
There wasn’t nigh as many as there was a while ago
We fired once more and they begin to runnin’
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico”
Sorry, couldn’t help myself. What self-respecting southern child (or grownup for that matter) wouldn’t love a rousing song with lyrics like that? After reading Beth White’s account of the battle, the song made so much more sense.
Back to the book. I have loved reading about the Lanier family and their life on the Gulf Coast. As the female protagonist, Fiona was a strong young woman driven by compassion whose first response was to care for others whether friend or foe. I liked how conflicted she was about keeping Charlie’s identity secret from her family and how she tried to do the right thing despite how it affected herself. I liked Charlie a lot too. I had to admire his determination to fulfill his commitments but at the same time I was frustrated by his decisions.
Once again, Beth White captured my imagination and interest to the point I had difficulty taking care of everyday chores. I hate to see this series end but am in hopes the author will see fit to provide her readers with more southern fiction.
A copy of this book was provided for review by
Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
As the War of 1812 rages across the newly formed United States, another war rages in Fiona Lanier’s heart–one that threatens to tear her family apart.
Fiona can scarcely take in the news of her brother’s capture and imprisonment by the British Navy. It is almost as unbelievable as the half-drowned British sailor who is washed ashore on the beach of Navy Cove.
Charlie Kincaid claims to have no memory of his life before being discovered by Fiona, but in a world that seems saturated with treachery, she cannot be sure he is telling the truth.
As Charlie’s memory returns in agonizing jags and crashes, he and Fiona discover that falling in love may be as inevitable as the tide. But when political allegiances collide, they’ll each have to decide where their true loyalty lies.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Beth White‘s day job is teaching music at an inner-city high school in historic Mobile, Alabama. A native Mississippian, she writes historical romance with a Southern drawl and is the author of The Pelican Bride and The Creole Princess. Her novels have won the American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award, the RT Book Club Reviewers’ Choice Award, and the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award. Learn more at www.bethwhite.net.
I was unfamiliar with the author when I accepted the offer to review “White” and was unsure of what to expect. When I opened its cover I found an intriguing story that dealt with some issues that I rarely find in my reading.
The plot was fresh and character driven with hints of the possibility of future suspense and maybe even romance. I liked the honesty of the primary character Jennifer who readily admitted her distance from the Lord and struggled with bitterness about the way she had been raised. I also liked those brief nudges from the Holy Spirit that were scattered throughout the narrative. The description of the restoration process was interesting and I found the history of the former residents to be fascinating.
I was a bit disappointed that I did not find the suspense promised on the back cover but am in hopes that will develop more fully in the next installment of the series. My curiosity has been aroused and I need to find out what happens and what might develop (or not) between Jennifer and Michael.
A copy of this book was provided for review by Celebrate Lit Publicity Group.
GUEST POST FROM DENISE WEIMER:
When I speak to book clubs or people ask me why I started writing historical fiction, I tell them that as I grew up, my parents took me to numerous historical sites. I wondered who lived in an old house or town and what their lives were like. What treasures, what secrets, might I find if I could dig down to the bones of an old mansion? My active imagination kicked in, and I started scribbling stories in spiral bound notebooks. I knew from age eleven I wanted to be a writer, though for a time I considered historical preservation as a career. I found the perfect marriage of those desires in The Restoration Trilogy, my new series with Canterbury House Publishing.
The restoration my parents did on their own historic house and apothecary shop inspired White, Widow and Witch. While looking for a residence in a country community, Mom and Dad purchased a property they later learned belonged to a line of regionally famous doctors tracing back to Revolutionary War days. Watching them piece together stories from the past with the help of local historians nudged me to depart from the historical settings of my past novels (Redeeming Grace and The Georgia Gold Series) in favor of modern romantic suspense. Readers follow Jennifer Rushmore, a recent historic preservation graduate, and Michael Johnson, a brooding bachelor who has inherited property from ancestors he knows little about, as they restore a doctor’s house, apothecary shop and log cabin. During the restoration of each, they uncover a story from a different century (1920, 1870 and 1790) containing a lesson of “heart healing” they need to apply in the present.
Most of us have been through hardships in our lives that God would use to refine our characters or expose and heal pain from our pasts. Sometimes we’re tempted to just slap another coat of paint over a crack or build a cheap façade over a weakness. God knows that full restoration takes effort, time and expense, so He never goes to work without our permission. However, He is the only one who can bring us to wholeness.
Jennifer accepts the assignment in the eclectic community of Hermon while waiting for her dream job in Savannah, never imagining God might have other plans. Country neighbors determined to become friends, a handsome but secretive employer with conflicting ideas about how to conduct the restoration, and strange accidents hinting that someone doesn’t want them working on the property strip away Jennifer’s personal defenses. She comes to learn that when a person is open to the work of the Master Renovator, one can find blessings in the unlikeliest of places.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
When Jennifer Rushmore accepts a brooding bachelor’s job offer to act as coordinator for the restoration of his family’s historic doctor’s house (White), apothecary (Widow) and log cabin (Witch) in a rural Georgia community, little does she know it’s her own heart that will undergo the greatest renovation. Three stories. Three centuries. Three lessons on the healing of the heart. And one buried mystery that threatens their redemption.
White: As historic preservationist Jennifer and brooding bachelor Michael restore his ancestors’ historic doctor’s residence in a rural Georgia community, they uncover the 1920s-era prejudice and secrets that caused Michael’s branch to fall off the family tree. Recent graduate Jennifer is determined to fulfill her first professional position with integrity even if her employer lacks a proper appreciation of history. Far more challenging—and sinister—than the social landscape of Hermon are the strange accidents hinting that someone doesn’t want them on the Dunham property. Yet Michael’s and Jennifer’s own pasts pose the biggest obstacles to laying a fresh foundation of family and community.
About the Author
In addition to The Restoration Trilogy, native Georgian Denise Weimer is the author of numerous magazine articles about her home state, romantic novella Redeeming Grace, The Georgia Gold Series (Sautee Shadows, The Gray Divide, The Crimson Bloom, and Bright as Gold). Bright as Gold won the 2015 John Esten Cooke Award for authentic Southern literature. She holds a journalism degree with a minor in history from Asbury University, is a wife and swim mom of two daughters, and always pauses for coffee, chocolate and old houses.
In honor of the White Celebration Tour, Denise is giving away a print copy of WHITE: Book One of The Restoration Trilogy, a $15 Starbucks card to representing the coffee-loving modern heroine, and a vintage hat to represent the historical heroine.
Click to enter: https://promosimple.com/ps/96a4
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