The Pink Magnolia Club
Three woman, each spanning a different generation, are at the center of Geralyn Dawson’s newest book, The Pink Magnolia Club. There is also an issue at the center of the book, and it is one that will probably touch the lives of all of us, directly or indirectly: breast cancer.
The Making Memories charity wedding gown sale – benefiting breast cancer patients – is the place where the lives of Holly Weeks, Maggie Prescott, and Grace Hardeman come together to form lasting friendships. Holly Weeks has been lured to the sale by her boyfriend, Justin Skipworth, who hopes that, faced with an array of lovely wedding gowns and an engagement ring, Holly will agree to marry him. Apparently, Justin doesn’t know Holly very well. After losing her lunch in the bathroom, Holly meets Maggie and Grace, who have dark stories of their own. While Holly feels fate has destined her not to marry Justin, Maggie and her husband, Mike, have gone their separate ways as they hit the 25-year mark in their marriage, and Grace and her husband Ben may be about to celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary, but there is a reason she is at the Making Memories sale.
Unfortunately for Holly, she realizes that she needs to see Justin just as he, apparently, is seeing another woman. Grace and Ben’s marriage survived an affair years ago, but her cancer may be the one thing their relationship cannot win against, and Maggie begins to find her own power, which might be the one thing that has been missing from her marriage to Mike. As the three women plan Grace’s anniversary party and help her find the perfect dress as the clock ticks down on her illness, their relationship solidifies into a lifelong friendship, one that is tested threefold as each woman has to come to terms with the turning point in her life.
I have to admit that I probably wouldn’t have chosen this book had I realized that it was more women’s fiction than a romance. I wanted to read another book by Ms. Dawson because I have enjoyed her funny historicals in the past, and I was impressed here by how she struck the right tone considering the subject matter at the center of the story. There are tears and laughter, plenty of good old female conversation, and Ms. Dawson’s trademark gentle humor.
If there was a downside to the book, it was Holly’s part of the story. Her determination to not marry Justin and not tell him why didn’t make her particularly endearing, and her resolution to deny herself happiness with the man she knows she loves before finding out all the pertinent information about her situation didn’t make her seem particularly smart. And while Maggie, Holly, and Grace are well-shaped characters, the length of the book (365 pages) doesn’t allow for more of each individual story.
Geralyn Dawson has a very strong story to tell in The Pink Magnolia Club, and if she’s moving into women’s fiction, I think she’ll do well. I hope, however, that she doesn’t stop writing her charming romances, and regardless of what type of story she wants to tell, I hope the gentle humor is always there.