By Carmen Glover
National bestselling author Rochelle Alers returns to the literary scene with Magnolia Drive ($8,Grand Central Publishing), the latest edition of her Cavanaugh Island novels. This time, Alers tells the tale of Francine Tanner and Keaton Grace, another strikingly attractive couple, who find each other and love amidst the laid back tranquility of the Carolinas. In a tale that moves along smoothly with luscious, descriptive language, Alers arouses all the senses as the characters come alive in vibrant fashion.
The novel tracks Francine as she returns to her parents’ home to live while she works in her mother’s establishment after becoming disenchanted with her chosen career path. Keaton visits the town to scope out business ventures as he navigates the professional landscape while trying to tame his mounting desire to become a more intrinsic part of Francine’s life Francine, for her part, tries hard to convince herself, family and friends that she is content with her life as it is and has little interest in encouraging a relationship with Keaton.
Magnolia Drive seamlessly weaves in updates on characters who populated the previous three novels, as would be expected in stories that reflect a small town and its residents. The quaint setting described in Magnolia Drive elicits yearning for an escape from the hustle and bustle of metropolitan cities and causes the reader to ache for the delectable meals, breezy and low-key style of the small-town ambience.
Each of Albers’ novels, Sanctuary Cove, Haven Creek, Angels Landing and now Magnolia Drive, is set in the picturesque countryside that oozes southern charm, small-town sensibilities, and history that anchors the town . Also, each novel features a couple who manage to blend their interests and fall in love with natural ease like birds nesting in an inviting tree.
The most appealing aspect of Magnolia Drive and the other Cavanaugh Island novels is the staunch focus on African-Americans, showing that like their Caucasian counterparts, they strive for higher education, establish business enterprises, court, get married and raise families while becoming pillars of their communities. The novels depict the wholesome aspect of the African-American lifestyle that is not often addressed in romance novels. The novels juxtapose historical details with familial and community interactions that infuse the novels with life. Magnolia Drive is a soothingly exciting addition to summer reading lists and will transport the reader to an idyllic setting that inspires exploration.-OnPointPress.net.