All God’s Children
Under The Magnolias by T.I. Lowe is a powerful Christian novel about a turbulent family in the 1980’s. It is a story with love, care and God at the centre.
There is the theme of depression brought on by bereavement. It is painful to watch a young teen try to hold her family together as her father sinks further into the abyss. As she tries to cope she holds onto her mother’s words “Loving your family means you love them during their sunshine and even during their thunderstorms.”
Nolia Farm is a place where people are seen and needs are met. Those who are not readily accepted by society can find love and belonging here.
When life is hard we sometimes push others away, even God. We think we need to do life alone and sweep our problems under the carpet but God never asks us to do this. He is working things out in His perfect timing. We can trust Him. “God answered my prayers in ways I’d not trusted Him enough to handle.” No matter where we go, no matter what life throws at us, “Just know you are God’s kid no matter what.”
In Under The Magnolias the church functions as Jesus intended. There is a beautiful scene where many stand, each giving testimony to the love and blessings they have received, and because of that their pasts were healed. Now, they want to pay it forward.
Under The Magnolias is a comprehensive read about a family (microcosm) but it is a macrocosm for us all. Whatever we face, wherever we are, God is there. He will never leave us. He sends His people to walk beside us and He sends us to walk beside others. Under The Magnolias is a very beautiful read.
I received this book for free. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.
T. I. Lowe is an ordinary country girl who loves to tell extraordinary stories and is the author of nearly twenty published novels, including her debut, Lulu’s Café, a number one bestseller. She lives with her husband and family in coastal South Carolina. Find her at tilowe.com or on Facebook (T.I.Lowe), Instagram (tilowe), and Twitter (@TiLowe).
About the book
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, 1980
Austin 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.
In Under the Magnolias T. I. Lowe . . .
- Crafts a gorgeous Southern coming-of-age story about discovering love, grieving loss, and the lengths we go to, to preserve family secrets.
- Uses her gift of beautiful storytelling to highlight the best of humanity. How can the combined powers of community and connectedness lift up the broken among us?
- Writes about ordinary people making extraordinary differences in the lives around them. Simple acts of secret kindness are capable of changing lives.
- Thoughtfully wades into the effects of losing a parent and explores the burden of an eldest child assuming the role of matriarch in a family full of dysfunction. How does one survive and how does it shape who one is?
- Destigmatizes mental illness by displaying the reality of depression and the possibility for wholeness and healing to be found.
- Details the day-to-day, gritty reality of caring for someone close to you who struggles with their mental health. What does it look like to wrestle with the profound effects of this trauma on someone’s life?
- Pulls back the curtain on one fictional pastor’s battle with his own mental health and reminds readers that leaders are not immune to their own struggles.
- Exposes the idea of “family secrets.” Often family secrets aren’t really secrets at all. Do we keep ourselves in bondage by not reaching out and admitting our struggle?
- Unpacks the reality of the moment we realize our parents are human and capable of having flaws and making mistakes.
- Demonstrates that healing is possible when we let others into our deepest hurts. What beauty is possible when the church, or humanity in general, comes alongside individuals or families battling mental illness in a grace-filled, nonjudgmental way?
- Talks about the idea that the way we are raised and the relationships we have with our family can have a profound impact on every other area of our lives and relationships . . . especially romantic ones
What People Are Saying
“A family’s collapse under the weight of dysfunction and mental illness becomes a luminous testimony to the power of neighbors and the ability of a community’s love and faith to shelter its most vulnerable residents. Readers will close the cover with a smile and a long, satisfied sigh.”
Lisa Wingate, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Before We
Were Yours and The Book of Lost Friends
“T.I. writes with amazing grace and beautifully depicts the cost of keeping secrets when help might be available. This story is filled with rich, lovable characters, each rendered with profound compassion. . . . Under the Magnolias is sure to delight and inspire.”
Francine Rivers, New York Time bestselling author of The Masterpiece
“With a wide cast of fun, offbeat characters, a mix of heartbreak and humor, and a heaping handful of grit, Under the Magnolias will delight Lowe’s legion of fans!”
Lauren K. Denton, USA Today bestselling author of The Summer House
“Under the Magnolias is a moving portrayal of the power of family—the one we’re born into and the one we create—and the resilience of the human spirit. In this memorable and moving story, T.I. Lowe has hit her stride.”
Kristy Woodson Harvey, USA Today Bestselling author of Feels Like Falling
“What a voice! If you’re looking for your next southern fiction fix, T.I. Lowe delivers. “Readers of all ages will adore the spunk survivor Austin Foster, whose journey delivers both laughter and tears. . . . A must read.”
Julie Cantrell, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Perennials