Magnolia Storms (Janet W. Ferguson) – Review

Don’t forget to check out my Meet the Writer feature on Janet W. Ferguson and enter the giveaway for a chance to win a copy of Magnolia Storms.

4-5 stars


~ About the Book ~

Maggie Marovich couldn’t save her father or her home from Hurricane Katrina, but she’s dedicated her life to meteorology so she can warn others when the monster storms approach. Except…she works three hours inland and rarely risks returning to her childhood hometown of Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Both her single-parent sister and the ship pilot Maggie once loved refused to leave the Coast, despite Maggie’s requests. Now a hurricane’s headed toward Mississippi, and Maggie’s sister is seriously injured, leaving Maggie little choice but to head south—into the storm.

The water and tides flow through Josh Bergeron’s veins, and he can’t imagine giving up piloting—even for the love of his life, the infuriating Magnolia Marovich. He tried to move on without her, marrying and having a child. But after his wife abandons him and his little boy, his career choice is threatened by the weight of his parental responsibilities. Moving next door to Maggie’s sister and sharing their child care seems like the perfect set-up. Until Maggie blows back into town.

Being forced to lean on Josh for help washes up the wreckage in Maggie’s faith. Where was God during the destruction of Katrina? Why do some prayers seem to go unanswered? Between the hurricane looming in the Gulf and another gale raging in her heart, can Maggie overcome her past and find the trust to truly live?

Genre:  Contemporary Fiction/Contemporary Romance
Release date:  15 September 2017
Pages:  280
Publisher:  Southern Sun Press

Amazon US  //  Amazon AU  //  iBooks  //  Goodreads

~ Excerpt ~

“Hello, Josh.” The voice slammed him like a punch to his stomach. Not Cammie.
This tone was low and strong, yet sultry. The slight Cajun accent. Maggie. That voice that could gut him from miles away, even after all this time.
Words froze in his throat.
“Are you going to say anything?”
“Why do you have Cammie’s phone?”
“We’re in a crisis, and you need to get back here ASAP.”
Fear clawed at him now, shredding his composure. “Is J.D. okay? What’s happened?” His voice cracked.
“Your son is fine.” Her tone softened for half a second. “Cammie’s injured her vertebrae. Some delivery guy wasn’t paying attention and hit reverse instead of drive. Knocked into her hard.”
“Oh, Maggie. I’m sorry.” Though thankful J.D. was safe, his stomach still sank. Maggie’s family had been through too much already. Lost so much already. His gaze traveled to the window, past the American flag whipping in the wind, to the gales rocking the murky water before them. Somewhere in the depths, her father had been buried.
“Yeah. Me, too.” A wistfulness carried over the distance, snagging his heart. “Is there someone else here who could pick up J.D.?”
Apparently she didn’t keep up with his personal life. Which, given the way his ex-wife had dumped him, maybe was best. It was embarrassing enough looking like a failure to the people who knew. “I’ll leave as soon as we reach Venice.” Too bad they weren’t already back.
“Really?” The sharpness returned. “They’ve still got y’all out in this wind? And there’s a hurricane entering the Gulf as we speak.”
“We’re fine, Maggie. That storm’s days away.” He could picture the fire in those chocolate eyes framed with the longest black lashes he’d ever seen, wild curls falling down her shoulders.
“Right.” A dramatic sigh crossed the airwaves. “So, a few hours?”
As fast as he could. Did the woman want him to jump ship and start swimming that way? He shook his head and held in the sarcasm. He wouldn’t dare say something like that to her. “Yes, ma’am. See you in a few. Promise.”
“Don’t make promises you can’t keep, Joshua Bergeron.”
Abruptly, the call ended. A lot like the way their relationship had ended years before.

~ Review ~

As I read this book, I often had the words of that well-known hymn circling round in my head:

“Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,
When the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift and the cables strain,
Will your anchor drift or firm remain?”

Maggie Marovich knows all about storms—both literal and figurative—but she’d rather avoid them altogether than rely on an anchor. Wouldn’t we all?! She’s faced the loss of both of her parents, and when her best friend and the love of her life refused to give up his dream of piloting ships—the very job that cost her father his life—she walked away, losing him, too. Now her sister Cammie faces the prospect that she might never walk again. Why has God abandoned her? Why does it feel like he ignores her prayers?

Josh Bergeron has often regretted not being there for Maggie after her father died. After all, he knows all too well what it feels like to be abandoned. But he’s never regretted becoming a ship pilot. Now he has the chance to be there for Maggie as she struggles to care for her sister’s ten-year-old daughter and their eight-five-year-old Aunt Ruth, keep her sister’s antique store running, AND prepare for the hurricane building off the coast. But watching Maggie with J.D. revives all the dreams he once had for them, and this time she’ll be breaking two hearts when she inevitably leaves again. Unless he can convince her to give them another chance…

It was all too easy to identify with Maggie. She’s loyal, compassionate, and resilient (some people might call it stubborn!), but she’s driven (or perhaps held back) by self-preservation, and nothing sends her into self-preservation mode like being around Josh Bergeron. The emotional and romantic tension crackled between these two every time they were on the same page. Josh’s adorable three-year-old son J.D. was a different story, though. He won Maggie’s heart from the get-go, meaning her wall of self-preservation was often going up and down around Josh like a malfunctioning portcullis!

Maggie has little choice but to accept Josh’s help, and as they work together she begins to learn what it means to have a Comforter and a Saviour who will be an anchor through life’s storms; to take one moment at a time, to count her blessings amidst the storm, and to see that God can work good in and through all situations.

An engaging and enjoyable read!

I received a copy of this novel from the author. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.

~ About the Author ~

Janet FergusonJanet W. Ferguson grew up in Mississippi and received a degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Mississippi. She has served her church as a children’s minister and a youth volunteer. An avid reader, she worked as a librarian at a large public high school. Janet and her husband have two grown children, one really smart dog, and a few cats that allow them to share the space.

Connect with Janet:  Website  //  Facebook  //  Twitter  //  Instagram

About Fiction Aficionado

Homeschooling mum, word lover, reader extraordinaire, and follower of Christ
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Christian Fiction, Christian Romance, Contemporary Romance, New Releases, Romance and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Magnolia Storms (Janet W. Ferguson) – Review

  1. Pingback: Top Ten Tuesday – My Fall (*ahem* Spring) TBR | Fiction Aficionado

  2. Yes, I thought of that song also!! I enjoyed reading this story also!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Janet W. Ferguson says:

    I love your review! Thank you!
    After I figured out the direction I felt led spiritually to steer this book and wrote through it, this song came out by Mercy Me.
    Tears flowed when I heard it, because I’ve soooo been there. Life is hard, but He is good, He is there. I love how they end with It Is Well With My Soul, too.
    I hope your readers who need this message will find their way to this book.
    Hugs and blessings!!


  4. Winnie Thomas says:

    Lovely review, Katie! This book is on my TBR list and coming up soon. I’ve had some unforeseen things that have put me behind a bit this summer. I’m looking forward to reading it, Janet!

    Liked by 1 person

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