Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Caramel and Magnolias by Tess Thompson

Crushed by a broken heart ten years ago Cleo Tanner walked away from her acting dreams and now leads a quiet secluded life in Seattle. Sylvia her best friend from college is trapped in a loveless marriage distraught by her inability to conceive a child - until an adoption agency owner in relentless pursuit of Cleo offers to help.

Just as Sylvia begins to experience a profound love that only a mother can feel, a detective approaches Cleo with disturbing questions about the adoption agency. Determined to protect her friend Cleo jumps into a dangerous investigation that forces her to confront the ghosts of her past.

Bestselling author Tess Thompson, whose debut novel Riversong touched the hearts of readers worldwide, delivers a captivating and suspenseful tale of the possibilities that await us in life and in love - if we can find the courage to get off the sidelines.

A toast to friendship, motherhood, mended hearts and new beginnings, Caramel and Magnolias reminds us it's never too late to reawaken the heart.

Note from the Author:

I’m not sure about other writers, but I find I don’t necessarily know, thematically, what I’m writing about in my novels until after the first draft is finished. When I read through the completed draft for the first time I see clearly how it is reflective of my current circumstance. This was the case with Caramel and Magnolias. There was a primary aspect of my personal life where I had chosen to remain on the proverbial sidelines, as is the case with all four of my main characters. I was in an unhappy marriage, much like the one I describe for Sylvia (although there was no infidelity) and felt there was no way to get out. I have young children and like so many of us, would do anything to protect the family unit and the thought of hurting a good man who was loyal and supportive was excruciating. So instead of acknowledging to myself how dead I felt inside, I turned all my energy into my work and my children. However, there came a time when I could not squelch my feelings any longer and made the hardest decision of my life. Ending a marriage is painful and messy. But on the other side of it was feeling alive again - just as it was for my characters. Now I just need the happy ending I wrote for them for myself.

RATING: 4 Chirps

Overall, I enjoyed this story.  The problem for me was the mash up of character views.  I found myself confused a bit from the very beginning, going from one POV to another, everyone having a say.  I found it a bit hard to keep them straight in my head.  Aside from that, the story was touching and  shocking at the same time.  

Sylvia is desperate for a child.  She'll do anything, and her friends will do anything to help her.  Her husband, however, wants nothing to do with adoption.  Eventually he leaves her, which leaves her to adopt alone.  As with any good romance, this leaves room for the knight in shining armor, and another love connection develops.  It turns out her husband was not "her person" after all, and everything comes together for her in the end.

In the meantime, Cleo absorbs herself in finding the truth about the adoption agency.  Having been manipulated into dating a man to help her best friend move to the top of the list, Cleo uses her connections to determine the secret he's hiding.  With the help of Peter Hall, a detective who has opened her mind and her heart after years of seclusion from men, she discovers much more than she bargains for.  And more people than she could have imagined are affected by the truth.  

Overall, the story has as wonderful message, which is summed up in one line in the book.  Throughout all the turmoil, fear and betrayal the characters felt - the choice was in their hands.  Don't shut yourself off from love.  Take the opportunity where you can, and savor every moment of it.  You never know when it will be threatened, or taken away.  And I wish Tess all the best of luck in finding that for herself.

"Choose to live, to love, to be chosen." 

Tess is giving away an eCopy of Caramel and Magnolias to one lucky reader who comments below.  There will also be a grand prize giveaway of print copies of both Caramel and Magnolias and Riversong.  Enter using the Rafflecopter below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And for those of you who just can't wait to get your hands on this book :


Barnes and Noble:

Feel free to contact Tess and say hi. 

Tess Thompson Contact Links
FB Author Page
Amazon Author page

You can also follow Tess on the rest of her Caramel and Magnolias tour at these stops.  

4/8 RomFan Reviews / Ariesgrl Book Reviews

4/9 For the Love of Bookends / Storm Goddess Book Reviews

4/10 Kricket's Chirps / My Secret Romance

4/11 Romance Book Craze / Rambling Reads / Twinsie Talk 

4/12 Queen of all She Reads / Salacious Reads

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