The Summer of New Beginnings
#1 Magnolia Grove
by Bette Lee Crosby
Narrated by Shannon McMannus, and Eric Dove
Formats available: Paperback, Electronic, Audio
Pub Date: 3.27.18 | 8 hours 8 minutes
REVIEWER: Sophia Rose
Book was borrowed through Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited Program
One family learns that love is the greatest miracle of all—from USA Today bestselling author Bette Lee Crosby.
Aspiring journalist Meghan Briggs has always been the responsible one in the family. So when her father passes away unexpectedly, leaving behind his at-risk business, she steps up to save his legacy—even if that means putting her own dreams on hold.
Tracy couldn’t be more different from her sister. She’s always been the rebellious type, without much direction in life. But in the wake of her latest romantic disaster, she finds herself moving back home as a single mother.
As Tracy experiences the difficulties of new motherhood, Meghan faces her own struggle: trying not to fall for the stray puppy she rescued. This is no time for attachments—not to the adorable “Sox,” whose owner is bound to turn up any day, and certainly not to the handsome new vet in town. But as the summer unfolds, she discovers that, like Sox, she may need rescuing, too.
As both sisters navigate unexpected challenges and exciting new relationships, they’ll find that putting the past to rest can make way for beautiful new beginnings.
A story of healing from grief, family, a lost dog, love, and a little bit of magic one summer was a gently-paced, sparkling tale that warmed my heart and left me wanting to return back to Magnolia Grove as soon as I can.
The Summer of New Beginnings is only my second book by the author, but like the first one, I found it a lovely, sunny reading experience even if the author allowed sadness and loss to touch characters’ lives. Like the first book, the laid back writing style was cozy and engaging. It pulls the reader in emotionally. Sad events like the lost of Meghan and Tracy’s daddy right when they are finishing high school left a gaping hole.
The story begins when settled and oh-so responsible Meghan rescues a stray dog and grows attached so that she is afraid to even look for the original owners. This taking a chance and opening her heart leads her back to her love of journaling and animals like before her dad died and she got burdened to take care of her dad’s business.
Meghan’s older sister, Tracy returns home with a baby boy and a whole lot of new perspective after ignoring the concern from her mom and sister and leaving with her bad boy boyfriend who refused to make a commitment. She’s a single mama now and she’s ready to see her family for the treasure it is. I loved how the widowed mom and the sisters faced all their life’s trials together and grew past their grief to be a family again.
The story of Tracy’s fears about her little boy being not quite right and all of them pulling together to get him the medical attention he needed even while her ex-boyfriend continues to be an irritant full of threats was well done. I learned a great deal about diagnosis, testing, and treatment for hearing loss, but mostly the author brought out about how a parent goes through learning about their child’s special needs, coming to grips with it, needing lots of support (like what Tracy got from Meghan, her mom, and an old friend who is hearing impaired), and then moving forward to take action.
And, of course Meghan starts to come out of the circle pattern she’s been content in when her sister returns, but also when a certain handsome and kind animal vet takes an interest. It was a sweet and gentle romance.
Through the story, there is an element of magical realism in relation to Meghan and Tracy’s dad that I thought was a cute touch. Did he come back to help his family heal and steer them to find their joy again? Possibly.
I enjoyed the book using the Kindle Unlimited option. This one offered both ebook and audio so I ended up switching back and forth, but mostly in audio edition. I’ve enjoyed the main narrator, Shannon McMannus in one other book and I felt she was definitely the right fit for this story style. She voiced the three women and a host of surrounding characters- mostly male- well. She caught the emotion and pace, but also that comfy small town southern feeling just right. I will definitely be watching for more of her narration work.
All in all, I found this gently-paced small town story of family and love was just the thing and recommend it to those who want a light women’s fiction or sweet contemporary romance.