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June 9, 2023

My Magnolia Summer by Victoria Benton Frank ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

Victoria Benton Frank, daughter of the beloved late writer Dorothea Benton Frank, spirits us away to summer in the South Carolina Lowcountry with a tale of family bonds that is spicy and heartfelt.

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

book cover of southern fiction novel My Magnolia Summer by Victoria Benton Frank
June 2023; William Morrow; 978-0063286153
audio, ebook, print (352 pages); southern fiction

When popular Southern author Dorothea Benton Frank died in 2019, her readers knew that we would miss her southern Lowcountry stories with quirky characters and feel-good endings.  I wasn't sure that her daughter would be able to step into her mother's shoes.  I was wrong to have any doubts.  My Magnolia Summer is a perfect Lowcountry book to read on your trip to the beach and if you can't get to the beach, the book will make you feel like you've just vacationed there.

Magnolia - known as Maggie - is a chef in New York City.  Even though she misses her South Carolina home and family, she knows that if she keeps working long hours for little pay, she'll be promoted to a higher place in the kitchen and eventually be able to open her own restaurant.  Her life is unsettled - the main chef is cruel and uncaring and her on-again/off-again boyfriend doesn't promise much of a future.  When her beloved grandmother and her mother are in a car accident, she heads home immediately.  When she gets there, she finds that her mother wasn't injured but her grandmother is in a medically induced coma.  She also finds out that the family restaurant run by her grandmother has been changed - and not for the better.  Instead of French cooking and homemade pastries, it now offers fried fish and cheap entrees from cans. Her alcoholic mother and her new boyfriend have made the changes.  Her mother and sister both believe that Maggie thinks she's better than they are because she works in a restaurant in New York and there isn't much apparent love between the three of them but Maggie agrees to stay on Sullivan's Island long enough to work with her sister to get the family restaurant back into being a popular place for home-cooked southern meals.  Will the two sisters be successful with their plans for the restaurant and will Maggie accept the offer for a promotion at a new restaurant in New York and leave her family again?

My Magnolia Summer is a delightful book about family and the love between three generations of strong women.  There are some tears, a good helping of romance and some laugh-out-loud moments.  Be sure to toss it in your beach bag when you head to the beach!

“If you were to cut me open, you’d find the water of the Atlantic instead of blood, driftwood instead of bones, and seashells instead of everything else.”  (Maggie at the beginning of My Magnolia Summer)

Buy My Magnolia Summer 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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