Book Review of Magnolia Nights (Magnolia, Bk 1)

Magnolia Nights (Magnolia, Bk 1)
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I ordered this book because of two big mentions in the summary: Charleston and ghosts. It had so much potential! From the first couple of chapters, I had the feeling that I'd missed something....was this really the second in the series? On the back of the book, it distinctly says "a new novel..." so it must be the first, right? There just seemed to be something missing. I felt like I should know more about Ellie, or why she ended up in Charleston. That information does eventually come, but it takes a good while. Somehow the romance in this book was completely off. Maybe I'm just too out-of-touch with the dating scene. The writing of those romantic scenes made me roll my eyes. Do people actually say things like "making crazy love to each other"?

The ghost-story aspect of Magnolia Nights was barely there. There are figurative ghosts that pull on Ellie's memory, but otherwise don't go into this expecting a paranormal paradise. The old house Ellie inherited was charming, though, with its piazza and iconic magnolia tree. I loved the mentions of Charleston landmarks, such as The Battery and various restaurants.

There are some good parts of Magnolia Nights, though. I like a good family mystery, and it was fun to learn what happened behind the scenes through old journal entries. Anytime someone goes hunting in a creepy attic, I want to know what's up there! I liked trying to figure out what happened with the evil grandmother (who reminded me of Flowers in the Attic.) The final chapters of the story were disappointing, though, and felt like they were an awkward extended scene that didn't exactly fit with the rest of the story. I don't plan to read the second book.