Magnolia Summer by Melanie Dickerson – Book Review, Preview

Posted September 10, 2018 by Phyllis Helton in Book Reviews /

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“What do you think I am, black?”

My jaw dropped and I was rendered speechless. That a 7 or 8 year-old-boy in a Sunday School class would respond in that way to a simple request that he pick up after himself had my mind reeling. I had no idea how to respond.

The entire class stilled as the kids waited to hear what I would say.

“What do you think I am, purple?” My husband and helper retorted.

Immediately the tension dissipated and you could almost sense a collective sigh. Kids started shouting out “What do you think I am, green?” and other colors and all thought of a potential racial slur were gone. I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder of my sweet husband for his quick thinking!

My heart breaks when I’m exposed to prejudice of any sort. I don’t understand it. Why should the fact that someone tans more easily than I do make any difference in how they should be treated? Or the fact that they might need crutches or a wheelchair to get around. Or that they prefer the color orange? Okay,  maybe I can see that last one being reasonable. . .

In the book of Colossians, Paul wrote that in Christ there is “neither Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.”  This is in the context of an exhortation to put aside anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language. Prejudice is not acceptable in the body of Christ – ever. It is a work of the flesh and not of the Spirit.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14

May these be the attributes that characterize our lives and interactions with everyone we come into contact with.

Magnolia Summer by Melanie Dickerson – Book Review, Preview

Magnolia Summer

by Melanie Dickerson

Series: Southern Seasons #1
Series Rating:
Published by GraceFaith Press
Publication Date September 5, 2018
Genres: Historical Fiction, Action/Adventure, Christian Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: Alabama Gilded Age – US – 1875 – 1900
Main Character Ages: 18-24, 25-34
Written for: Adults
Pages: 313


From New York Times Bestselling author Melanie Dickerson comes a story of love, heroism, and secrets so dangerous they could change this sleepy Southern town forever.

Truett’s hometown needed a doctor, so after finishing medical school, he returned to Bethel Springs. Fighting a secret war with a corrupt lawman wasn’t in his plans, but Sheriff Suggs thinks he’s above the law and can lynch anyone who crosses him. When Suggs threatens his childhood friend, Truett dons a cape and hood and rescues him—placing “the Hooded Horseman” in Sheriff Suggs’s crosshairs.

Celia Wilcox arrives in Bethel Springs, Alabama, in June of 1880. She’s come from Nashville to help her sister care for their younger siblings. She hopes only to be on the small farm for the summer, just until her mother recovers from the shock of Celia’s father’s death. She must return to Nashville to fulfill her dream of opening her own dress shop, especially now, to provide for her family.

The lovely Celia catches Truett’s eye, and he finds himself wanting to impress her. But she flatly refuses to flirt with him or to fall for his—if he does say so himself—considerable charm.

Celia’s growing attraction to the young Dr. Beverly terrifies her, and even if she could marry him, which she cannot, what will happen when Sheriff Suggs discovers Truett is the Hooded Horseman? Will Celia be able to prevent the sheriff from carrying out one last lynching?

I received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.

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The sheriff of the little town of Bethel Springs, Alabama saw nothing wrong with lynching a man because of the color of his skin. And burning his house. And he had many of the townsfolk supporting his actions.

Truett was a man after God’s heart. Like King David, he desired to please God and trusted Him to protect him as he fought the giants of his community. I admired Truett greatly. One of the things that made him fun was the contrast between his arrogance and his humility. In a way, he wasn’t really proud, he was just accustomed to having girls fall at his feet. As the son of a Southern gentleman and as a doctor, he could have felt himself above menial labor and yet he helped to teach the neighboring children how to farm and pitched in himself when they needed it.

Celia was a bit of a snob. Not that she was rich and put on airs because of that. She just felt that menial work was something she shouldn’t have to bother herself with. She was angry that her mother was grieving to the point of not being able to care for the family. She was angry that she had to leave her job in Nashville and potentially spend her savings to care for her family and the struggling farm.

But God wasn’t done with Celia and he wanted her to have a renewed heart. She had some serious lessons to learn and maturing to do. Yet through this, she was still likable as a character. She really did want to do the right things so when God exposed her heart to her, she willingly confessed and sought to change her attitude.

Celia was also a fun mix of feisty and fearful. She had an encounter with a rattlesnake that revealed the kind of character that only comes out under pressure. The most amazing thing about the encounter was that she could have been selfish and thought only of her own safety and wouldn’t have had any problem but she really was the type of person who takes care of others, even if a bit grudgingly.

Lizzie, Celia’s 14-year-old sister, and Will, her 12-year-old brother were nothing short of amazing. They saw a need for doing things around the house and jumped right in to do them. Lizzie especially showed a maturity beyond her years as she joyfully cared for the house and her youngest siblings. She even spent time doing extra things for them. And then had time to spare playing matchmaker for Celia!

This story was a departure from the other stories Melanie Dickerson has written, taking place in the post-Civil War American South instead of Medieval Europe. However, it does fit in with the theme of legends re-told. As the first book of a new series, I’m excited to see what the other books will bring in this new chapter of the authors writing.





About Melanie Dickerson

Melanie Dickerson is an award-winning author who earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from The University of Alabama.

She has taught in Georgia, Tennessee, Germany and the Eastern European country of Ukraine.

A member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA), she now spends her time writing and taking care of her husband and two daughters near Huntsville, Alabama.

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