I had been looking forward to reading The Magnolia Duchess by Beth White, the third book in the Gulf Coast Chronicles series, as I had enjoyed reading each of the others in the series (The Pelican Bride and The Creole Princess). It didn’t take me long to find myself lost in the world of the Lanier family once again, as a new generation of the family faced yet another war for independence.
From the Publisher
As the War of 1812 rages across the newly formed United States, another war rages in Fiona Lanier’s heart – one that threatens to tear her family apart.
Fiona can scarcely take in the news of her brother’s capture and imprisonment by the British Navy. It is almost as unbelievable as the half-drowned British sailor who is washed ashore on the beach of Navy Cove.
Charlie Kincaid claims to have no memory of his life before being discovered by Fiona, but in a world that seems saturated with treachery, she cannot be sure he is telling the truth.
As Charlie’s memory returns in agonizing jags and crashes, he and Fiona discover that falling in love may be as inevitable as the tide. But when political allegiances collide, they’ll each have to decide where their true loyalty lies.
What I liked…
I really enjoyed the historical aspects woven throughout the plot of the story. While I’ve always enjoyed American history, I’d not previously studied this period of history (1814) in such detail or previously learned about the settling of the coastal areas around the Gulf of Mexico. This story provided me with a better understanding of some of the details that helped to make the Gulf Coast a part of the United States of America.
It’s always fun to “reconnect” with “old friends,” and several of the characters from previous titles in this series came back into the story throughout this book. I enjoyed seeing how their lives were playing out since the previous books.
What I didn’t like…
I really struggled with one of the main characters in this book – Charlie Kincaid. As I read, I found his character to be choppy and difficult to “read.” As a main character, Charlie plays a major role in the storyline woven throughout the book, and I found his reactions to circumstances and situations to be highly unpredictable – often not in sync with who he’d been portrayed to be earlier in the book. His interactions with other characters were also “off” or seemed forced after the first few chapters of the book.
One of the main relationships in the book often seemed “rushed” – the characters jumped to deeper connections without the details I felt were necessary for reaching that level of connectedness. It made for a choppy story – almost as if the author was attempting to weave too many separate pieces together in too short a story.
My final thoughts…
Altogether, I did enjoy reading The Magnolia Duchess, though I didn’t find it up to par with its predecessors in the series. I found it to be a quick read that grew my understanding of American history in regards to the end of the War of 1812 in the Gulf Coast region. If you’re looking for an informative yet enjoyable read on this time period in American history, I’d definitely recommend picking up a copy of each of the books in the Gulf Coast Chronicles series by Beth White. She has done a great job with her research and weaves the historical fact throughout the fictional story.
Disclosure: I was provided with access to a digital pre-release copy of The Magnolia Duchess by Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, in exchange for my honest review. You can purchase a copy on Amazon or from your favorite bookseller.