A gritty tale of family tragedies and dysfunction, this touching story crafted by T.I. Lowe is sad and horrific but wrapped in pages of love and joy. The main character and narrator, Austin, relates her teen years in the 1980s during which she is surrogate mother to a varied flock of siblings and tries to keep her father from unraveling after her mother’s death. The cast of seemingly quirky characters—family and members of the First Riffraff Church of Magnolia, touch the heart when Lowe masterfully reveals their depths. Most of all, I loved that despite the despair the reader is left with hope.
About the Book
This night not only marked the end to the drought, but also the end to the long-held secret we’d kept hidden under the magnolias.
Magnolia, South Carolina, 1980
Austin Foster is barely a teenager when her mama dies giving birth to twins, leaving her to pick up the pieces while holding her six siblings together and doing her best to stop her daddy from retreating into his personal darkness.
Scratching out a living on the family’s tobacco farm is as tough as it gets. When a few random acts of kindness help to ease the Fosters’ hardships, Austin finds herself relying upon some of Magnolia’s most colorful citizens for friendship and more. But it’s next to impossible to hide the truth about the goings-on at Nolia Farms, and Austin’s desperate attempts to save face all but break her.
Just when it seems she might have something more waiting for her—with the son of a wealthy local family who she’s crushed on for years—her father makes a choice that will crack wide-open the family’s secrets and lead to a public reckoning. There are consequences for loving a boy like Vance Cumberland, but there is also freedom in the truth.
T. I. Lowe’s gritty yet tender and uplifting tale reminds us that a great story can break your heart . . . then heal it in the best possible way.
Have you read this book yet? What did you think of it?