The Sun and the Sand and a Book in my Hand

Book Review: Magnolia Storms by Janet Ferguson + GIVEAWAY!

Book Review: Magnolia Storms by Janet Ferguson + GIVEAWAY!

Magnolia Storms is a very timely book for this year–partly set in the midst of a hurricane, it also deals with the lingering emotional and physical scars from Hurricane Katrina. The author has kindly offered up a paperback copy of this novel for me to give away, so enter below to see if you will win!

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About the Book:

When Maggie’s ship pilot father died during Hurricane Katrina, despite everything she did to prevent it from happening, something broke inside of her. She gave Josh, the love of her life (and also a ship pilot), an ultimatum–either her or the job, and he chose the job. Maggie turned inside herself, becoming a meteorologist so that she could help predict these storms and prevent them from taking further lives. She moves away from the coast–and her remaining family–in order to keep herself safer and do her job. Then her sister is in an accident and Maggie gets a phone call requesting that she come home to help care for her pre-teen niece and elderly aunt. Maggie has to swallow her fear and comes back to Mississippi, even though some storms are predicted.

The storm that Maggie cannot predict is that Josh and his three-year-old son J.D. live next door to her sister, and that puts him squarely back into her life yet again, against her better judgment. The two spend time together due to different circumstances, and Maggie gets to know J.D. and his refreshingly delightful childish look at life begins to crack through Maggie’s calloused soul. Josh and Maggie are forced to take a long look at the unresolved feelings for each other and also compelled to look at their own lives, fears, and choices through a different lens.

My Thoughts:

There are so many great themes in this book, and one that is particularly poignant is about overcoming fear and learning to trust God even when that means loosening or relinquishing control. It’s not easy to do that, especially when we have been hurt or wronged, and Magnolia Storms touches deeply on surrender to God even in the most uncertain circumstances. That’s not to say that Maggie didn’t frustrate me at times, I did feel like she was dwelling too much on the past and not allowing any room for compromise, but I haven’t been through the rough situations she has so I offered the character a bit of grace.

I loved the way the author portrayed J.D., the humor of his interactions created both levity and thoughtfulness that only a child can bring to a situation. Often an author will write a child’s speech too mature for their stated age, but Ferguson hits the nail on the head with J.D. and everything is totally age appropriate. Josh and Maggie’s relationship is tumultuous, but most of it is completely understandable and relatable based on their shared history. The resolution is heartwarming and believable.

Magnolia Storms moves forward at a quick pace and kept me turning pages to find out what would happen next. I was engaged and absorbed in the characters and the overlying threat of storms and the fear that caused. This is the first book I have read by Janet Ferguson and it definitely won’t be the last. She has a real talent for characterization and making the setting an integral part of the story. Magnolia Storms is the first book in the Coastal Hearts Series.

Overall this is a lovely, contemplative story that will cause readers to think about fear and how to surrender that fear to God. The characters are gorgeously portrayed and readers will feel invested in their ultimate outcomes.

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author for review. All opinions are honest and my own.


Leave me a comment on this post to win a copy of the book. What storms have you endured in your life (either literal or figurative)? Other optional entries will give you more chances to win.

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73 thoughts on “Book Review: Magnolia Storms by Janet Ferguson + GIVEAWAY!”

  • I’m so happy you enjoyed Josh, Maggie, and J.D. I loved writing J.D. and also Aunt Ruth. They also relieved a bit of my angst in writing about Maggie’s fears and struggles. Thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful review! It was great meeting you at ACFW!

    • Hi Bekki, There are all kinds of storms that cause pain in life, aren’t there. So sorry you went through that, but glad you are still standing.
      Prayers and blessings,

  • As can be imagined, over 45 years of marriage have taken us through multiple storms – husband’s stroke, the loss of parents & grandparents, a brother & his wife & another sister-in-law, plus serious issues with now grown children. But God has seen us through & we are sometimes able to help others get through their own stotms.

    • Hi Pam,
      Well congrats on staying married that long, first of all. So sorry about your losses. My husband and I lost three parents within 67 days, so I know how grief takes a toll. That experience was one of my reasons I finally wrote my first novel. Life here is short, but thankfully this isn’t the end of our journey. God is good.

  • My husband became ill about the time our second child was born and he struggled with this illness for almost a year. I was trying to work while taking care of a 4 year old and a newborn (who didn’t sleep much…) and try to help my husband through his illness. Even though it was an incredibly difficult time, my faith is what got me through. No matter how dark things got, there was always a light at the end of the tunnel. I felt God’s presence knew things would get better.

    • Hi Tanya! I’m so glad you had your faith during that dark time. I had a connective tissue disease flare during the time when my children were young. It was tough. I can just imagine how difficult that was for you and your husband. The theme scripture for this novel is from Isaiah 43 where God promises, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. ”
      I’m so thankful He is with us.

  • I’ve survived many storms in my life with the help of the Lord including an abusive marriage. Thank you for the chance. Blessings

  • This is definitely a must read. It reminds me books i loved to read while growing up. I pray God will continue to get us through the storms of life.

  • I was in college during Katrina, so I really didn’t read a whole lot about it (although I HAVE looked into the mold issues that ensued). This would be an interesting read!

  • I have weathered so many storms in life. Loss of family, domestic violence, traumatic brain injury,
    and second go around with cancer but I believe I have a purpose somewhere in life.

    • Blessings to you Cathy, those are definitely some rough storms to endure. I pray that you discover your life’s purpose!

    • Oh, Cathy, that’s hard. I have a friend who has dealt with TBI, so I’m sorry you had to deal with that, plus all the other difficulties. Saying a prayer for you now. One thing I wanted to offer through this story and all the others I’ve written is hope. Praying that for you.

  • It’s been way too long since I’ve picked up a book to read. Loved your review – it was the inspiration I needed to take some “me” time and chill with a book!

  • I live in Canada, where we see very little in terms of natural disasters, but I have always been intrigued by them and the power they hold. I hadn’t heard of this book until your post, and it sounds very interesting. Thank you!

    • I find that so interesting that there aren’t many natural disasters in Canada, maybe because the US has the majority of ocean front. I think it is fascinating to read about them too!

    • Hi Rachel! I’m glad you don’t have many natural disasters like that up in Canada! I bet it’s pretty up there πŸ™‚ I hope you like Magnolia Storms!

  • Years ago we lived in a town in NE that had 7 tornadoes touch down over a period of a couple hours. Our house had some minor damage but areas of the town looked like a bomb had gone off, the destruction was so devastating.

    • Wow Karen, that sounds like a very big storm. I lost my dad a few years ago as well, it’s a rough road. Blessings to you πŸ™‚

    • I am just so sorry, Karen. That is so hard. I had one miscarriage fairly early, and it was so disappointing. I can’t imagine the pain of 4 and being further along. One of my favorite verses from Isaiah says He binds up the brokenhearted. Praying that is your experience.

  • After I left the military I lost the apartment I was living in, I became homeless living in a shelter. I eventually lost my car. That happened the same day I had my son. I went through a bad and very painful breakup with my son’s father. I suffered from PTSD and anxiety and other mental health issues. But by His grace I’m still here!

    • I’m so sorry you went through all of that, Shamekka! Thank you for serving our country. Mental health issues aren’t understood by those who have never been through them many times. I’ve had anxiety, so I kind of get it. I pray for you and your son to find healing and peace.
      Hugs and blessings,

  • This book sounds really good. I can’t wait to read this. The storms I’ve faced in my life are that of depression, comparison and self-worth. But I am grateful that God has showed me that I am loved, created with an individually, unique purpose and beautifully and wonderfully made.

    • I hear you with the struggles about comparison and self-worth, I struggle with those myself. Knowing that God loves us all equally and treasures me is something to definitely concentrate on during those rough times.

    • Thank you, Chanel! Depression is a hard battle. You are loved and wonderfully made. Prayers on your journey!

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