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Thursday 23 August 2012

Magnolia House by Pauline Barclay

This was a lovely, snuggly novel. And Pauline illustrates how a novel can be a page-turner without having to be action-packed. Magnolia House was, however, absolutely bursting at the seams with emotions—from those that come with the grief of death to those that come with the joy of birth and everything in between. All poignantly and skilfully intertwined in this very enjoyable book.

Having signed over half her house to her son, Ben, widowed Jane Leonard suddenly finds herself with no option but to sell her beloved Magnolia House—her home for many years—when Ben’s wife insists on claiming the value of his share.  It’s a home where Jane has experienced love and happiness and, sadly, more than a human being’s fair share of tragedy.  Her efforts to put prospective buyers off comes to an abrupt end when Sally and Steve Bingley fall in love with the property and are determined to be undeterred by Jane’s tactics in order to pursue their desire to open their very own B&B in this perfect house.

Misunderstandings, coincidences, kindness, and fate all play an important role in the future of the wonderful cast of characters: some pathetic ones, some tragic ones, some infuriating ones, some amusing ones—all varied and very credible. It’s said that anyone on the planet can be connected to any other person through a chain of six people, and Pauline brings this into play in this book—albeit in the same little village!

I love Pauline’s style. This is a delightful book that’s wonderfully easy and effortless to read, straightforward, yet expressive and heartfelt. It brings a smile to your face and not just because of the sometimes gentle humour. I liked that the ending was not in the slightest bit predictable; Pauline instils a clever and compelling element of ‘I wonder how this is going to end’ right to the very end.

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