Book: Under the Magnolias
Rating: 5/5 Stars
I purchased this book on a whim and am I ever glad I did! The cover intrigued me and I didn’t read the summary at all prior to picking it up. Before I jump into why I loved this book here is the summary from Goodreads:
Austin Foster is barely a teenager when her mama dies giving birth to twins, leaving her to pick up the pieces while holding her six siblings together and doing her best to stop her daddy from retreating into his personal darkness.
Scratching out a living on the family’s tobacco farm is as tough as it gets. When a few random acts of kindness help to ease the Fosters’ hardships, Austin finds herself relying upon some of Magnolia’s most colorful citizens for friendship and more. But it’s next to impossible to hide the truth about the goings-on at Nolia Farms, and Austin’s desperate attempts to save face all but break her.
Just when it seems she might have something more waiting for her―with the son of a wealthy local family who she’s crushed on for years―her father makes a choice that will crack wide-open the family’s secrets and lead to a public reckoning. There are consequences for loving a boy like Vance Cumberland, but there is also freedom in the truth.
T. I. Lowe’s gritty yet tender and uplifting tale reminds us that a great story can break your heart . . . then heal it in the best possible way.
First off, there is a trigger warning with some mental health issues that this book raises. It is a constant theme throughout the book and greatly affects Austin and her family. I just wanted to make sure I put that out there as it is quite heavy.
Okay, on to the reasons I loved this, and there are SO many but I am going to limit it to 3. The first thing I adored about this was the sense of family and commitment to family. Though this caused issues at parts in Austin’s life, her primary focus was always her family. To me that was beautiful as someone from a big family as well. I loved loved loved the familial bonds in this book!
I also really loved the simple & sweet love story between Vance and Austin. I loved how real this felt, with the ebs and flows of not just growing apart but also growing together. I loved watching them grow as teenagers and adults and how much they truly loved each other through it all. I absolutely adored how patient Vance’s love for Austin was and how even when she gave up on them he did not. It was beautiful.
Finally, I loved the emphasis on mental health. I thought that Lowe did an amazing job of portraying how how this mental health affected the family and how them living with it became a norm and it took people outside of that norm to stand up and help them. The sense of community from their friends outside of the family and how they loved Austin and her siblings was amazing! This community made the book feel so real!
If you are looking for a moving book with a heart wrenching romance this is it. This book spoke to my heart in so many ways and I absolutely fell head over heals for it! Do yourself a favor and pick this one up today!