Beyond the Garden

Author: Ashley Farley
Publisher: Leisure Time Books
Genre: Fiction / Suspense
Source:  Purchased

Goodreads:  All is right in Ellie Pringle Hagood’s world. Recently married to the man of her dreams and in anticipation of the big family she’s always wanted, she focuses on restoring the large home she inherited from her grandmother on Charleston’s prestigious Battery. Abbott, the father she adores, lives just down the street from her. She treasures her beloved housekeeper, Maddie, who offers wise counsel and loving support, and is the closest thing to a mother she’s ever known. Two days a week, she volunteers for an art program she piloted at an elementary school. But then, in the midst of all her happiness, comes news that throws Ellie’s life into a tailspin. Her brother-in-law has been murdered in Key West, and her sister, Lia, is wanted for questioning in the investigation. No one in Ellie’s family has seen or heard from Lia in the seven months since she disappeared and left her twin three-year-old daughters in Ellie and Julian’s care. The newlyweds, with several questions nagging at them, fly off to Key West in search of the missing sister. Where is Lia? How is she connected to her husband’s murder? What will become of her twin daughters? The two are only at the beginning of their quest for answers and solutions, and the path they take turns out to be far more torturous and complicated than expected.

Ope’s Opinion: It was really good to see Ellie’s story move along in this book.  I think you could read this as a stand alone, but the background from the first book gives you so much perspective and understanding of all the characters, it shouldn’t be missed.

The emotions in this book are all over the place, so be ready to get on the roller coaster and ride it ’til the end, you’ll be glad you did.  Seeing a family being made in a unconventional way tugged at my heart.

All the drama and suspense seem to be wrapped up at the end of this book.  I am not sure if there is another one to come, but if there is, I would read it!

Magnolia Nights

Author: Ashley Farley
Publisher: Leisure Time Books
Genre: Fiction
Source:  Purchased

Goodreads:  From the author of the bestselling Sweeney Sister Series and Sweet Tea Tuesdays comes a new novel of passion, intrigue, and redemption.

Ellie Pringle has spent endless hours and countless dollars working with a therapist to remember the lost years of her childhood. She’s baffled and more than a little intrigued when the grandmother she hasn’t seen in thirty-four years dies and leaves her a fortune. The time has come to face her past in person. Still reeling from a recent breakup of a long-term relationship, and with nothing to keep her in San Francisco, Ellie packs her meager belongings and boards a plane for the South Carolina Lowcountry.

Standing in the entryway of her grandmother’s antebellum home on South Battery Street in Charleston, Ellie faces the first of many ghosts who will soon haunt her. On her first night in the creepy, creaking mansion, as she’s perusing the titles in a dusty bookcase, she comes across her deceased mother’s leather-bound journal. Her mother’s words create more unanswered questions and send her on a quest to find more journals. As Hurricane Irma bears down on the South Carolina coast, Ellie encounters Julian Hagood, a handsome architect who has the talent to restore her dilapidated mansion and the charm to mend her broken heart. But as Ellie reads her mother’s diaries, they dislodge a stone in the wall that safeguards her memories, causing her world to come crumbling down. Revelations about her childhood lead Ellie on a harrowing journey of discovery that will hold readers spellbound until the dramatic conclusion.

Ope’s Opinion:  This started out to be a sweet story.  Little did I know all the mystery and romance to come.  There is a little something for everyone in this book – a little mystery, a little romance, and some family drama.

The mystery and family drama were intertwined.  Figuring out Ellie’s past and finding her family were twisted together.  It kept me reading – I wanted to know where the author was going to take it.

I liked that the physical part of the romance was left to my imagination – not a lot of unnecessary details. When you read it   ( and you should ) you can feel how they really care about each other – it isn’t just the physical part of the relationship.  It was done well.

My daughter Kristin of Kritters Ramblings    recommended this book.  She does not steer me wrong.  It is well worth the read.  The second one is the series Beyond the Garden is next on TBR list.