AUTHOR: Kristi Cook
SERIES: Magnolia Branch #1
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
In Magnolia Branch, Mississippi, the Cafferty and Marsden families are southern royalty. Neighbors since the Civil War, the families have shared vacations, holidays, backyard barbecues, and the overwhelming desire to unite their two clans by marriage. So when a baby boy and girl were born to the families at the same time, the perfect opportunity seemed to have finally arrived.
Jemma Cafferty and Ryder Marsden have no intention of giving in to their parents’ wishes. They’re only seventeen, for goodness’ sake, not to mention that one little problem: They hate each other! Jemma can’t stand Ryder’s nauseating golden-boy persona, and Ryder would like nothing better than to pretend stubborn Jemma doesn’t exist.
But when a violent storm ravages Magnolia Branch, it unearths Jemma’s and Ryder’s true feelings for each other as the two discover that the line between love and hate may be thin enough to risk crossing over.
Magnolia tells as story similar to that of Romeo and Juliet except in reverse. This time, the families, the Cafferty and Marsden’s, are good friends and want their kids to fall in love and get married. On the flip side, Jemma Cafferty and Ryder Marsden, want nothing to do with each other… or do they?
I thought Magnolia was a nice fluffy read. I really liked the concept of a flipped version of Romeo and Juliet. I don’t think I’ve ever read one before, while I have read many “modern day” versions. The plot was interesting too. It definitely wasn’t exactly what I expected but the outcome was still somewhat predictable.
I had mixed feelings about the characters. Overall, I liked them. But there were times when both Jemma and Ryder annoyed me. I had a lot of “are you kidding?” moments and thought they were being stupid/acting irrationally occasionally. Still, I liked watching their relationship evolve as well as the nicely placed flashbacks that added more depth to their characters and explained how they got to where they are in their relationship.
I also liked how relatable they were. From going through their senior year of high school and having to pick a college to dealing with parental expectations, desires, and control, I thought both Jemma and Ryder were relatable in their own ways. View Spoiler »Their eventual romance was very, very cute, if not a bit rushed. « Hide Spoiler
That being said, I did have some problems with the story. I felt like some aspects of it was rushed or that some events happened too fast. Also, there were some plot twists that I didn’t really appreciate as well as some moments that made me want to facepalm repeatedly. I also would have appreciated some more character diversity, not just racially, but in personality as well. In addition, it had a pretty open ending. I wish it was more conclusive and I really want to know more about what happens in the future.