It’s been a long time since I’ve posted book reviews here. Life has a funny way of subverting even the best of intentions. The result is that I have a huge backlog of books and reviews. I won’t necessarily post all of them but I do plan to get back to posting reviews periodically. Today’s selection is Under Magnolia by Frances Mayes.
I should start with a brief admission – I’ve been a fan of Frances Mayes since I first read Under the Tuscan Sun in the late 1990s. Like many, I dreamed of visiting Tuscany and breathing in the scents of the Tuscan hills. In moments like today, when snow is still falling after months of frigid weather, I dream of escaping to a sweet life as an ex-pat in Tuscany. So when her publisher offered the chance to read her new work Under Magnolia, about her life growing up in America’s Deep South, I jumped at the chance.
Frances Mayes shares a sense of place through her descriptive language, luring the reader to experience sensations with her. This is what draw readers to her works and makes her “armchair travel memoirs” so powerful, her use of language evoking a place so real that it pulls readers away from the everyday.
I’ve visited Georgia several times over the years, both small, rural towns and bustling Savannah. To my northern eyes, it’s as different as Tuscany. The pace of life, the smells, the food, are all deeply embedded in the landscape. When Mayes describes the sun as something that “could melt a bar of gold,” my body knows exactly how that sun would feel.
In Under Magnolia, Mayes continues her exploration of “place” and the meaning of “home” in the signature style so beloved in her earlier works.
Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Author Website: www.francesmayesbooks.com
(Disclosure: A review copy of this novel, e-book version, was provided by the publisher.)