Monday, June 29, 2015

Magnolia Wednesdays

Magnolia Wednesdays
by Wendy Wax

Genre: Women's Fiction

Synopsis:  At forty-one, Vivien Armstrong Gray has spent most of her life fighting to make it in investigative journalism, only to have it crumble after a bullet lodges in her backside during an expose.  As if the humiliation of being the butt of everyone's jokes isn't enough, Vivi learns that she's pregnant, jobless, and very hormonal.  Maybe that explains why she actually says "yes" to a dreadful job covering suburban living back home in Georgia, a column she can only bear to write incognito.

Leaving her tiny apartment in New York, she reluctantly heads south to experience the suburban soccer mom existence through her widowed sister's eyes.  Surrounded by minivans and bake sales, she has lots of material for the column.  Her sister's ballroom dance studio becomes her undercover spot where she learns about the local life while posting as an extra dance partner.  But Vivi's little stunt starts throwing her for a loop as friendships develop, and a real relationship with her sister blossoms.  As she digs up her long-buried roots, and begins to secretly investigate her brother-in-law's death, she starts to wonder if life inside the picket fence is so bad after all...
from the back of the book

Review:  The book started off slowly for me but definitely picked up momentum once you figure out how all the characters are connected and what their individual stories are.  I was really drawn into Vivien's sister's, Melanie's, life with her two teenage children and how Vivien fit into their lives.  I wasn't as interested in the side character's stories, Ruth and Angie.  I got tired of reading about Angie's insecurities about her former life as a fat girl and I just wanted her to come clean with her fiance.  I understood Ruth's issues with her husband but I thought the husband was awfully obtuse and I got tired of reading about him.  I thought Vivien was an immature, selfish forty-one year old but luckily she changed throughout the book due to her interactions with all the characters in the book and really did help out her sister.  Her propensity for investigating did cause problems and I didn't feel that the investigation of her brother-in-law needed to be as dramatic as it was because it made me think that something really awful had happened.  That part of the plot made the story seem more like a mystery and less like a women's fiction book.  I feel like the author ran out of pages and had to throw the ending together in a hurry so everything needed to be tied up nicely.  The secret of Vivien's brother-in-law came out in such an odd way that didn't seem realistic.  Overall, I did like reading the book and thought it was a decent story.

Rating: 3 stars

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