Magnolia was a great surprise. I’ve seen this book described as a Romeo and Juliet story in reverse and that is exactly what it is. Jemma Cafferty and Ryder Marsden come from two families that have been friends for generations. The Caffertys and Marsdens have been tied together by friendship for generations but never by marriage. Finally, Jemma and Ryder are born and their parents start planning their future. Instead of trying to keep them apart their families have been pushing them together since they were babies. Their mothers have their whole lives planned for them, but Jemma and Ryder have no intentions of going with that plan. First of all, they hate each other and secondly both of them have their own dreams that are nothing like the ones their parents have set out for them.
The story is told from Jemma’s point of view. Right away we see her frustration with her family and the path they’ve set out for her. She hates Ryder not only because of the pressure from their families but because of events that happened years ago. Ryder seems just as annoyed with her and tries to avoid her as much as he can.
The parents in this book drove me crazy! It’s mostly the mothers who go overboard. It’s one thing to be involved in your child’s life, but it’s another to plan out their lives for them. Jemma and Ryder’s parents have been pushing them together since birth and no matter what either of them says they just keep on pushing. It’s a little crazy at some points. I definitely understood why Jemma was so against giving into their plans, no one ever asks Jemma or Ryder what they want and no matter how much they protest their mothers just won’t stop.
This book isn’t just about a love story. There’s a big hurricane that passes through their town that causes a lot of chaos and draws Jemma and Ryder closer together. During the hurricane, Jemma’s family is away dealing with her older sister Nan, so of course, the families decide it’s best if Ryder goes over to stay with Jemma during the storm. While the storm wrecks havoc on Magnolia, Jemma and Ryder are stuck and have no choice but to talk to each other and end up dealing with some of their issues.
If you want a fun, contemporary read this book is definitely for you. This story had my attention from beginning to end. It’s a sweet romance that isn’t too sappy or unrealistic.
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.