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By Lisa Greer
Way back, when I had just started working and could buy as many books as I wanted, I would visit a used bookstore and immediately go to the gothic romance/suspense section. Most of the books were old and had been read by many. I would take them by shelves, loading up bags of them and then bringing them back to start on another shelf! Well, Lisa Greer, in Magnolian, took me back to those wonderful gothic stories--romance with big old houses, lots of family members and inhouse servants--and ghosts. And, of course, a mystery to solve in the suspense novels. So, of course, I read Magnolian through in one sitting, stopping only to sleep a few hours and get back to it. It was almost comforting to curl up and once again enjoy the "flavor" of a gothic... I don't think I can describe that flavor--you just feel and know it!
Thank you Lisa Greer for giving me the opportunity to read my favorite genre! I certainly didn't realize that gothic was still alive and well! Only one thing was different and so cool...Lisa's book is as up-to-date as Twitter and Facebook and even refers to our current president! In fact, the ghost looks a little like him!
Lillian Mullins was devastated by her father's illness and early death. She had lost her mother when she was very young and losing her father left her alone, living in Pittsburgh. She had dropped out of college to spend as much time as possible with him, but two things happened almost immediately.
She met Donovan at her father's funeral; both had been earlier interested, but had never had a chance to pursue a relationship so they began to see each other.
However, she also heard from her grandmother who invited her to her family's home. Even though she had just gotten to know Donovan, she felt she needed to get away, and also spend time with her remaining family. It had been years since she had spent time at Magnolian...
Seeing her grandmother again was wonderful, though her aunt was not too friendly and her first impression of an older cousin was not impressive. Two servants remained from her past visits. And then there was Will, her third cousin... Let's just say that Lillian, who he promptly started calling Lily, immediately started to fight her attraction to him...
As she was shown to her room the first night, she saw that a portrait of her mother had been added to the wall. It looked to be of a time when she was still living there at Magnolian, perhaps in her late teens. It was later as she was exploring the grounds that she first heard the singing. His voice sounded like a nightingale, haunting, sad. And then Lillian found her mother's journal and learned that she had been in love long before she had met her father. His name was Samson and he had been Percy's son. Percy was one of the servants still living with the family. But Samson had disappeared nearly 20 years before.
Now he was back and he came whenever Lillian was alone, even to her bedroom...
Lillian was not afraid, although she had never believed in ghosts...but she knew that Samson undoubtedly came because she looked so much like her mother. She realized that Samson was still at Magnolian and must be found. But her efforts brought attacks on her own life! Somebody didn't want Lillian digging into the past and, especially, trying to find out about Samson...
Greer adds a delightful emphasis on the nightingale through excerpts from works of earlier writers at the beginning of each chapter. Readers quickly enter the heartbreaking tale of a love that would not be accepted by any others. We, too, sense Samson's song as he roams Magnolian, singing, waiting...year after year...
Needless to say, I loved Magnolian. It is a classical gothic drama that meets today's world in just the right ways; i.e., without the loss of that "flavor." And this was one whodunit I didn't solve...cool! Are there any other gothic romance/suspense lovers out there? Make this a must-read!