Under the Magnolias – T.I. Lowe

Under the Magnolias by T.I. Lowe
Published by Tyndale on May 4, 2021
Genres: Fiction, Christian
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This night not only marked the end to the drought, but also the end to the long-held secret we'd kept hidden under the magnolias.

Magnolia, South Carolina, 1980Austin Foster is barely a teenager when her mama dies giving birth to twins, leaving her to pick up the pieces while holding her six siblings together and doing her best to stop her daddy from retreating into his personal darkness.
Scratching out a living on the family's tobacco farm is as tough as it gets. When a few random acts of kindness help to ease the Fosters' hardships, Austin finds herself relying upon some of Magnolia's most colorful citizens for friendship and more. But it's next to impossible to hide the truth about the goings-on at Nolia Farms, and Austin's desperate attempts to save face all but break her.
Just when it seems she might have something more waiting for her--with the son of a wealthy local family who she's crushed on for years--her father makes a choice that will crack wide-open the family's secrets and lead to a public reckoning. There are consequences for loving a boy like Vance Cumberland, but there is also freedom in the truth.
T. I. Lowe's gritty yet tender and uplifting tale reminds us that a great story can break your heart . . . then heal it in the best possible way.

Under the Magnolias is absolutely amazing – Raw, filled with authenticity, with realistic characters. It’s the first T.I. Lowe novel I’ve read, but definitely won’t be the last! Set in the 1980s, Under the Magnolias is the story of young Austin Foster and her family. After her mom dies in childbirth, and her dad is….well, let’s just say he’s kind of checked out…Austin, who is still in her teens, is left trying to hold the family together. This means she has to take care of her six siblings. Sigh. Austin is, quite frankly, an amazing character. Lowe does an excellent job of portraying what that must have felt like and what she went through.

As I read, my heart ached for Austin and her family. Living on a tobacco farm, there was always lots of work to do, kids to keep after, a dad to push along, and help get through his deep grieving Not only does Austin have to be a mom to the kids, she’s also still in school, and has that to deal with. And then there’s the handsome mayor’s son, Vance, who keeps showing up and wanting to give her attention.

This was a hard book to read. So many dark things were brought into this storyline. Things no young people should have to face. In spite of, or maybe because of, it all Austin comes through it like gold tried in the fire. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but Under the Magnolias is one that I think will resonate with a lot of people, just because of the deep and authentic feelings that are dealt with. If you like books dealing with nitty gritty issues, then be sure and give this one a chance.