Avery Broussard was savoring her long-dormant optimism. It was the first anniversary of her husband’s death, and she was finally going to buy the dress boutique from her former mother-in-law. After a year of saving, the deal was nearly done. Avery was about to get her life back. But every deal in Samford, Louisiana, can change at the whim of a Broussard. After being unceremoniously ejected from the very boutique she planned to buy—the boutique she herself had rescued from ruin—she becomes a woman without a future . . . suddenly at war with her late husband’s family. When carpenter T. J. Aillet begins working for the Broussards doing manual labor, he overhears enough to know that Avery is being victimized. Soon enough, T. J. is lassoed into the squabble by his family connections, his good heart . . . and the undeniable attraction he feels toward Avery. But the Aillets are no strangers to Samford society—and T. J. knows what happens when you cross the Broussards. Could these two misfits ever make a start together? Or will the pressures of Samford society pull them apart before they even get a chance to try?
Sissy: I liked this novel from the start but I really liked it about a third of the way through when I figured out all the dynamics and the back story. This is a case where it would have been beneficial to read book one in the series (Sweet Olive), but not mandatory. I connected with the character of Avery right off the bat and immediately despised her in-laws, especially Evangeline, aka Satan’s mistress.
Bubby: That’s an apt description of Evangeline. I have a hard time imagining hating my son’s wife, especially when she’s done nothing wrong, as badly as Evangeline hates Avery. I can only surmise that Evangeline’s own personal life is so horrible that she’s just turned into a bitter shrew.
Sissy: I think there are actually people who feel superior to others because of money and status and cannot bring themselves to accept it when their child marries “beneath them.” Everything to them is about improving their social status and being connected to the “right” people. I want to scream and try to get them to see things differently and when that doesn’t work spit in their general direction. Fortunately for Avery she has something inside of her that won’t give up and wants to fight, and she never loses sight of her own intelligence and ability. Also she is led to some people who truly help her and fill a hole in her tender heart. Enter T.J. and Kathleen.
Bubby: One of my favorite aspects of Magnolia Market is the character development. It is done so well by author Judy Christie. Avery finds strength within herself and becomes an independent business woman and her sidekick Kathleen opens and softens her heart. And T.J….he’s yummy! I will admit that during the first few chapters of the story I was so frustrated with Avery’s situation that I almost couldn’t breathe. I had to put the book down and walk away. Thankfully everything works out well in the end, and even though Avery could have been vindictive, she chose the more noble path. Not sure I’m that good of a person.
Sissy: Me neither. The emotions aroused in me by the familia nastia were much more violent (no stabbing, but possibly poking with sharp pins) than noble. There are so many interesting people to meet within the pages of Magnolia Market. How you get to know Bill, Martha, and Kathleen is quite entertaining. The characters are flawed and endearing–they don’t always do the best thing but manage to redeem themselves all the same. Except for most of the Broussards. They can go and die in a hole. Avery’s brother-in-law Ross is one I’m confused about. Hopefully in another book we’ll find out what’s truly going on inside him. I was so engaged in this book–it was one of those where I didn’t want it to end and then wanted to know the completion of everyone’s life story. One can only hope that book three of the Trumpet and Vine series will appear soon!
Bubby: Stupid Broussards! I really must go back and read Sweet Olive, as well as the Green series and the Wreath Willis series. Magnolia Market ended with a kiss and the phrase “God’s compassions never fail.” Perfect!
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