Series: Sweet Magnolias #11
Published by Harlequin on 6/29/2014
Source: the publisher
Also in this series: Midnight Promises, Where Azaleas Bloom, Catching Fireflies
Also by this author: Midnight Promises, Where Azaleas Bloom, Catching Fireflies, A Seaside Christmas, Home to Seaview Key, The Christmas Bouquet, Dogwood Hill, Willow Brook Road
#1 New York Times bestselling author Sherryl Woods draws readers back into the world of strong friendships and heartfelt emotions in Serenity, South Carolina
Determined to build a new life for her family after her divorce, Adelia Hernandez has bought a home in the historic Swan Point neighborhood of Serenity. Promoted to manager of Main Street's most fashionable boutique, she feels revitalized and ready for a fresh start as a single mom. But barely into this new independent phase, she crosses paths with the sexiest man to hit Serenity in years.
Gabe Franklin, back in town to make amends for past mistakes, has no intention of settling down, but Adelia's proving irresistible. Cheered on by their friends, "the Sweet Magnolias," Gabe is bringing long-absent passion and laughter into Adelia's life. To his surprise—and hers—sometimes a rolling stone is just what it takes to build the rock-solid foundation of a family.
I always enjoy visiting Serenity, South Carolina, and hanging out with the Sweet Magnolias. They make a mean margarita, but that’s not what attracts me. What I really love is how these women look out for each other — and their husbands do the same. And they’re always willing to widen the circle to encompass one more friend.
“Wait,” you’re saying, “I thought this was a romance!” You’re right, it is. And the focus is certainly on Adelia and Gabe and the attraction slowly simmering between them. But Sherryl Woods’s romances almost never take place in a vacuum. When things get tough, within the relationship or from something outside it, the heroine and hero don’t have to struggle with it on their own. If you’re in a new romance in Serenity, the Sweet Magnolias will have your back. They’ll gather you up for a margarita night, and before you know it, you’re spilling out your fears or pain to a circle of women who know how to listen – and when to ask the right questions. If the relationship is falling apart, they’ll hold you up. If you’re letting your fears get in the way, they’ll make sure you know it, and push you to decide what you really want.
In their own way, the Sweet Magnolias’ husbands do the same thing for the hero: call him on it when he’s hiding his feelings from himself, back him up when he needs support, ask the right questions to help him figure things out. They’re guys, though, so it’s usually through male-bonding rituals: playing basketball, building things, grilling in the back yard.
It was fun to watch Adelia and Gabe’s relationship grow in the midst of this combination of support and well-intentioned meddling. The gossip that springs up in the town about their relationship poses some problems for both of them. For Gabe it brings up bad memories of his growing-up years in Serenity. For Adelia, it complicates her relationship with her sisters and her vindictive ex-husband. She’s also afraid of letting her kids get attached to someone who, by his own admission, isn’t a long-term kind of guy — though Gabe is terrific with her children, to his own surprise. Gabe has his own fears and past to deal with before he’s ready to make a commitment, and I loved how a few of the “guys” helped him see things more clearly. The ex-husband poses an increasing threat to their relationship, and I loved how the Sweet Magnolias rallied behind Adelia to deal with him.
The presence of the children and Adelia’s and Gabe’s concerns about them keep this a “sweet” romance, but that doesn’t mean there’s no chemistry between Gabe and Adelia — just restraint, a difference I appreciate. I really enjoyed this visit with Adelia, Gabe, and their friends. It was a relaxing, heartwarming read, and a nice break from some of the more action-packed books I’ve been reading lately.
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The Sweet Magnolia books in order:
1. Stealing Home
2. A Slice of Heaven
3. Feels Like Family
4. Welcome to Serenity
5. Home in Carolina
6. Sweet Tea at Sunrise
7. Honeysuckle Summer
8. Midnight Promises (review)
9. Catching Fireflies (review)
10. Where Azaleas Bloom (review)
11. Swan Point (review)
Click here for my review of Sherryl Woods’ Chesapeake Shores series featuring the O’Brien family.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- COYER Summer Vacation 2014