Sweet Magnolias Novel
Publisher: MIRA Books
Date published: May 2010
Mass Market Paperback
Reviewed by Dawn
Obtained by self-purchase
Raylene Hammond has been through a lot in her life- an abusive marriage, a miscarriage and now dealing with the aftereffects of it all. Feeling safe inside her home she shares with her best friend Sara and her children, Raylene never thought of going outside even with her ex-husband behind bars. The Sweet Magnolias have sheltered and protected her yet life has passed her by. Now Deputy Carter Rollins stirs her long buried desires and Raylene finds herself longing for a full life but can she go after what she wants while she tackles the agoraphobia that plagues her?
The final book in the wonderful Sweet Magnolias series ends with a strong story that will have you laughing, crying and then finally cheering as Raylene, Carter and all the people who make up Sweet Magnolias finally get the happily ever after they deserve. Friendship, romance and commitment make up this series and are featured strongly throughout the books. HONEYSUCKLE SUMMER is a story that has all that and more. It packs an emotional punch, no bones about it. We finally see what happened after Raylene left her ex-husband at the end of SWEET TEA AT SUNRISE and you will find yourself rooting for Raylene to get her prince charming-namely Carter. Ms. Woods delivers a strong story that calls to the readers’ heart and emotions. This is one author I highly enjoy with each book she has out. Tight writing, fast paced storyline and intriguing characters keep the reader coming back for more.
HONEYSUCKLE SUMMER delivers Raylene’s story. A new Sweet Magnolia, she escaped her abusive husband and marriage and hid out at her best friend’s place. Over time her crippling fear has had her shut in for over two years. When a chance meeting with a new deputy in town has Raylene wishing for a normal life, she finds the support of the Sweet Magnolias and friends a blessing even as she draws closer to Carter and his sisters. Making some progress, Raylene still keeps a lid on her emotions, trying not to hope too much as she goes forward two steps to fall back one as she treats her agoraphobia. When her ex comes after her after his stint in prison, will Raylene be able to have the strength to defeat the one man who destroyed her long ago to have a future with Carter?
Raylene is a character I can totally relate to. A woman, battered, broken and with a serious case of agoraphobia, she had me crying at one point because I could actually feel her fear, despair and the faint hope that lingers in her soul. Carter is the perfect person for her in my opinion. Strong, sensitive and a heart so big, he made me wish I could have him to myself. Returning characters made the story richer as they helped Raylene to readjust to a life different from the one she had in the past. Ms. Woods really makes her characters stand out in this series that it was hard to say what couple I enjoyed more.
HONEYSUCKLE SUMMER is a perfect fitting end to a series that leaves you yearning for more after the last page is read. I was sad to hear this was the last book in an amazing series. I hope Ms. Woods comes back to the friends here that we enjoy in the future. If you enjoy a strong series about friendships, romance and new beginnings then grab any of the Sweet Magnolias books. I do recommend reading them in order to get the full measure of the series though each book can be read as a stand-alone story. They are a perfect beach read on a hot summer day. I look forward to more books from this wonderful author in the future.
This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.