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March 3, 2023

Scent of Magnolia by Ashley Farley ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts


Ashley Farley writes family-based Southern fiction and her books never disappoint.  She is one of those authors that I will buy their book before I even know what it's about because based on her previous books, I know it will be good.  Trust me, this new book continues her reputation as the queen of Southern fiction.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of women's fiction novel Scent of Magnolia by Ashley Farley
March 2023; AHF Publishing; 9781956684148
ebook, print (312 pages); women's fiction

Three women who were close friends growing up return to their hometown in Alabama for the funeral of a friend from their neighborhood.  The friendship between the three of them is almost nonexistent and they have traveled vastly different lives from each other.  

Scout is a homicide detective in Seattle.  Her years-long search for her missing brother has made her career into helping runaway children.  When she returns to Alabama for the funeral, her goal is to look at any clues to find out what happened to her brother and to try to find him.  Her mother is thrilled that she's coming home but her father is more involved with his political career and fears that the negative feelings between him and his daughter will affect his run for office.

Kate is a fashion designer who lives in New York.  Her father raised her after her mother disappeared when she was a child and he is her best friend.  She's been keeping a secret from her friends for years and decided that the trip to the funeral will give her a chance to tell Scout and Mary Beth the truth.  Her relationship with Scout is estranged because Scout has always believed that Kate knows more about her brother's disappearance than she has told anyone.  

Mary Beth stayed in town and is married with a young son.  She was practically raised by Scout's parents and remains close to June, Scout's mother.  She is still a friend to Scout and Kate and acts as a peacemaker between Scout and Kate.

The main person in all three women's lives was Ford.  He disappeared when he was 18 in response to the constant bullying from his politician father.  His mother remains heartbroken over his disappearance but presents herself to the world as a perfect wife of a politician.  She is always gracious in her beautiful home despite her heartbreak.

This book has everything -- friendships that appear to be beyond fixing, a loving mother who mothers not only her real daughter but cared deeply about her two friends growing up, a mean and abusive politician father who is hiding his secrets from the world, and a missing son who ties them all together.  The story unfolds slowly with chapters in the past intermixed with chapters in current time but once all of the pieces come to light, it's a suspenseful drama with a surprise ending.

My advice for readers is to clear your calendar and turn off your phone.  Once I started, I couldn't put it down and was up until 3am to finish it.  It's another excellent book by the queen of Southern fiction.

Buy Scent of Magnolia at Amazon


Susan Roberts grew up in Michigan but loves the laid-back life at her home in the Piedmont area of North Carolina where she is two hours from the beach to the east and the mountains in the west.  She reads almost anything but her favorite genres are Southern Fiction and Historical Fiction.  







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