November is one of my busiest times of year. Usually, my family travels to Kentucky to visit for a week or so, my workplace holds a large event at the beginning of the month and at the end of the month, and Thanksgiving falls right in the middle of it all. Suffice to say, reading has been an afterthought. However, when my family came to visit me, they brought me boxes of my childhood treasures and my book collection from home. I knew I had a few books I hadn’t read stashed away. Digging through the boxes, I pulled out a small stack and dubbed Magnolia Wednesdays as the first to read.
This 400-plus page paperback kept me hooked- I didn’t want to put it down, even though I knew I had to at times. It follows main character Vivien Armstrong Gray, a journalist who rebelled against her southern belle upbringing. Fleeing the life she made in NYC with a lot of skeletons in her suitcase, Vivi finds herself sheltered in her sister’s home in Atlanta suburbia. Melanie, Vivi’s sister, knows this sudden visit is suspicious- her sister was never the family type and only made the occasional holiday appearance. Even when Melanie was in need the most after the passing of her husband J.J., Vivi couldn’t seem to handle sticking around for very long.
As Vivi learns to navigate the life of suburbia, she can’t help but let her journalistic nature get the best of her. Emerging herself in Melanie’s daily life, Vivi seeks out stories for her column and tries to find the truth behind her brother-in-law’s sudden death. While taking belly-dancing classes at her sister’s dance studio, she learns that there’s more going on in suburbia than she expected, and more complicated issues than her alias suggests every week in the paper. When things come to a head by the end of the novel, you can’t stop turning the pages.
I give this one a good recommendation for all it’s interesting plot twists and entertaining banter between characters. Though I did have a few minor issues with point of view changing abruptly and paragraph breaks inconsistently defining the direction of the story, it wasn’t something that I got hung up on long enough to distract me from the action.