Friday, September 19, 2014

Magnolia Market by Judy Christie

I like reading fiction centered on southern society. It can be so structured it's like reading about a different country. And this novel is no exception. Christie gives us a frank look at the darker side of it.

Avery had married Ches Broussard six years ago, taken in by his charming and outgoing personality. It wasn't long before Avery realized her husband was charming other women. A year ago he had been killed in New Orleans, on business, he'd said, but she wondered.

On the one year anniversary of her husband's death, Avery is rudely awakened to her in-laws' true feelings about her. All the utilities cut off at her home. Her bank account closed. She hadn't realized her father-in-law was co-singer. Her in-laws wanted her out of town and would do everything they could to make it happen.

In the midst of an ice storm Avery slams her car into the front on a small market on the corner of Trumpet and Vine. The grouchy owner demands payment. So does the women who owns the car she hit too. Is this another nearly unbearable event in her troubled life, or is it an opportunity from God? Is it really true that everything happens for a purpose?

I liked this novel of southern society. Avery's in-laws are powerful people in the town of Samford and they are determined to have their way. But Avery is a tough woman. She is determined to stay in Samford and make a new life for herself. She manages to find some unlikely friends who help. She even discovers a little romance along the way.

This is a good novel of small town southern life. It graphically shows how an influential family can intimidate others and hide damaging secrets. It is also a good lesson on how God takes events that may seem so devastating to us and use them for His purpose and our eventual good.

There is another issue in the novel, that of urban development. The little market is in danger of being gobbled up and razed, making way for “modern” development. But Avery and those from the gallery across the street want to see the corner of Trumpet and Vine retain its charm.

Of course, a novel like this one includes references to southern food. It was fun to be introduced to fried pies, beignets, and chowchow. A couple of recipes are included at the end of the book, as is a Discussion Guide.

Judy Christie writes fiction with a Louisiana flavor. She and her husband live in northern Louisiana. You can find out more at www.judychristie.com.

Zondervan, 345 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
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