by Jill Marie Landis

August 2002
ISBN: 0-345-44041-2
Reviewer Graphic Button Ballantine Books

Living in the backwoods of Kentucky is not the life that Sara Collier wanted for her future. So when the opportunity arose for her to leave, she jumps at the chance. She takes a job in town caring for Louzanna Talbot whose brother is away at medical school. Sara had met Louzanna's brother Dru on one occasion and "knew" that he is the man she would marry.

Two years later, Dru returns home after finishing medical school and finds Sara living there. She is not the young girl he remembered - in his absence, she had grown into a beautiful woman. Fate was on Sara's side as Dru falls head over hells in love with her. On the eve of the Civil War, Sara became Dru's wife. However, the honeymoon was short lived; the day after their wedding, Dru had joins the Confederate Army. He promises Sara he will be back soon and then they would be able to start their new life together.

As the war rages on, Sara's happiness is short lived. Dru's best friend, Hugh, comes with devastating news that Dru has been killed on the battlefield. Hugh knows this for a fact as Dru had died in his arms. As Sara mourns her husband, she comes to realize that she doesn't want to be a lonely widow forever. When circumstances give her a way out of Magnolia Creek, she leaves her former life behind. Unfortunately, a way out doesn't always work out for the better and Sara finds this out the hard way. After a series of hard times and poor judgements, she returns to Magnolia Creek and seeks refuge with Louzanna. A day after she arrives back, Dru makes his way home.

Hugh had made a grievous mistake, and Dru had only been seriously wounded. After months of healing he was able to make the trek.

Dru couldn't wait to get home to his wife. However, he soon finds that Sara isn't the same person he had married. After finding out what went on when she presumed him dead, he feels bitter and hurt. He thinks that Sara betrayed him and all that they had together. Sara has her work cut out for her. Can she prove to Dru that no matter what happened, she has always loved him? Can she make up for his hurt and her betrayal?

Magnolia Creek is a bittersweet love story about two lives torn apart by the war and the healing it takes to start over. There are a few twists and turns to give the book some element of surprise. Jill Marie Landis pens strong characters that come to life in the pages of her books. I enjoyed this story, and as always, I avidly look forward to her next book.

Reviewed in July 2002 by Tami.

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