Title:  Magnolia Wednesdays
Author:  Wendy Wax
Release date:  March 2, 2010
Publisher:  Berkley Trade
Pages:  448
Genre:  Adult fiction, women’s fiction
Source:  Publisher

Vivien is living the life she’d always hoped to have:  living in a nice apartment in New York City, working at a major TV station as an investigative reporter, and dating an amazing guy who is as dedicated to his career as Vivien is to her own.  But when she is injured on the job, and her company brings in a ten-years-younger version of herself for Vivien to “mentor”, she knows she can’t keep working at the TV station forever.  And in an odd twist of fate, Vivien also finds herself pregnant at age forty-one, while the baby’s father remains in the Middle East, covering the war.  So she flees to the one place she’d never go – her hometown near Atlanta, Georgia – and moves in with her sister Melanie.  Throughout Vivien’s whole adult life, she thought she’d had her sister’s life figured out – perfect husband, beautiful kids, all her days filled with carpools and soccer games and being a mom.  But what Vivien finds when she spends some more time with her sister and her niece and nephew is much different from her expectations.

Magnolia Wednesdays was such a fun read!  I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one, and I ended up really, really enjoying it.  Wendy Wax did such an excellent job with Vivien’s character that I felt like I got to know her so well… I cared about her, I wanted things to work out for her.

When I started reading this novel, I can’t say that I was immediately loving it.  In fact, it took me about fifty or so pages to want to know more about Vivien, to want to keep reading.  But once I got into the book, I literally couldn’t put it down.  I always read several books at a time, but I flew right through this one and neglected the rest of the books I had been reading at the time!  Besides how much I loved Vivien, I also grew very attached to Melanie’s character.  She was such a sympathetic character to me because of everything she’d been through with her husband’s death and caring for their two children by herself.  And although she should have been so angry with Vivien for so many transgressions over the years, she forgave her and welcomed her sister into her home with open arms.

I was afraid that the novel would be too long, as 450 pages is a bit long for a women’s fiction novel.  Fortunately, Wax uses every single one of those pages well, and I never felt bogged down in plot or characterizations even once.  The plot was paced perfectly for my tastes, and the little mystery that was part of the novel had an interesting resolution that I did not expect at ALL.  Which definitely added to my enjoyment of the novel.

I know that the label “women’s fiction” turns some people off, so I was a bit hesitant to use it here, but I definitely feel that this novel deserves that label.  I personally look at that as a compliment – women’s fiction reads are usually well-written, smart, and have great characters, and Magnolia Wednesdays has all that and more.  I really enjoyed this novel and highly recommend it.