Monday, November 7, 2011

Magnolia League (fiction)

Does tradition give you a secure place or trap you?
How do others' expectations drive your choices?
When is breaking an agreement the best thing to do?
Questions for our Mysterious Monday and a new paranormal series...

Snatched from her laid-back life on a West Coast commune, Alex doesn't realize at first that hoodoo spells and uneasy psychic alliances support the gorgeous looks and shopping frenzies of her new debutante "sisters" in Savannah.

Haint blue windowsills and boohags, calling on John the Conqueror and concocting mojo bags... alongside text messages and fast cars and even faster parties under the moss-draped ancient oak trees. But how much magic can the debs draw on for their beauty and popularity before paying the price?

Next book in the series is The White Glove War, currently on its way to the printers, says author Katie Crouch whose adult novels also examine love and loss in the South.

Book info: The Magnolia League / Katie Crouch. Poppy, 2011. [author's website] [publisher site]

Recommendation: Stunned by her mother’s death, Alexandria is whisked from their California commune to Savannah and the grandmother she’s never met. Her very rich, very Southern grandmother announces that Alex will be presented as a debutante at the Christmas Ball, fancy formal dress and all. Why can’t slim, elegant “Miss Lee” see that Alex would rather keep her own ample proportions, streaked dreadlocks, and vintage rock band t-shirts?

Miss Lee enlists the help of other “Magnolias” from Alex’s debutante class to get her ready for the Ball and show her around the fancy private school. Somehow, 16 years of laid-back commune life making herbal potions with her mom has not prepared Alex for the politics and pitfalls of high school with the rich kids.

But there’s more to the Magnolia League than just high-society debutante party-planning –Miss Lee and the other grandmothers look so youthful. Everyone at school, including faculty, let the Magnolia debs get away with anything. Hayes and Madison eat three lunches each and still look like models!

Ballroom dance lessons, endless shopping trips with Hayes and Madison, constant reminders from her grandmother to behave as a Magnolia should - Alex can see why her mother left soon after her own debutante ball. Thankfully, Thaddeus is interested in Alex despite her grandmother’s money and reputation.

A chance encounter with an elegant black gentleman on a charming side street leaves Alex wondering how exactly the Magnolias became the leaders of city society and why the other debs complain that they’ll never be able to leave Savannah.

Old bargains and ancient hoodoo spells, dark nights among the moss-draped oaks, graveyard parties and strange requests… Could Alex really stay in Savannah forever when her mother felt so compelled to flee? Why has Miss Lee kept her daughter’s room in the mansion untouched since her departure? Does Alex want to have it all as a Magnolia or should she risk everything for love?

Alex gets herself into some risky situations and dangerous encounters in this shiveringly good book for very mature readers, promised to be first in a series. Review copy courtesy of the publisher.

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