Apr 02

The Magnolia Chronicles: Adventures in Modern Dating by Kate Canterbary Review


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My mother’s New Year’s resolution for me was simple: make a serious effort at putting myself out there and dating again, and do it for one full year.

Or until I fell in love. Whichever came first.

How hard could one year of swipes and matches and awkward first dates be?

In a word: bad.

In nine words: bad and also hilarious, demoralizing, exhausting, and ridiculously amusing.

But the only thing worse than dating in the era of hookup apps and unsolicited dick pics is the absolute whole-life-flail of falling in love.

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I’ve been an enormous fan of Kate Canterbary’s since she blessed this romance reader with her first novel. Kate writes what I like to call smart-girl smut. Beyond being simply well-written, her novels are thoughtful, thought-provoking, intelligently humorous stories within a steamy romance. They’re always exceptional, original, with layers of emotion and interesting side characters who elevate the whole of the story to a truly special reading experience. If you’re not already reading Kate Canterbary’s work, you simply must. She pens the kind of not-to-be-missed love stories that every romantic fiction reader needs in their lives.

Fans of Canterbary’s Walsh Family series will definitely recall Gigi, an important side character in that series. The Magnolia Chronicles: Adventures in Modern Dating is her story, and although it’s not necessary to read any of the Walsh series books to enjoy this standalone, you’re truly missing out on a one-of-a-kind series of fabulous contemporary romances if you haven’t. If you can’t start a binge-read of that series immediately, I’d implore you to find a way to do it anyway, or at the very least, get it on your to-be-read list.

I don’t want to spoil a single thing about this story. So I’m just going to say that it was uproariously and, at times, outrageously funny, and I found myself laughing audibly throughout this book. This author’s fantastic sense of humor is an addictive blend of dry wit, New England grit and sarcasm swirled with a bit of realism, circumstance and/or relatability. The banter alone is worth the price of the book—spot-on, perfectly timed and expertly executed, it didn’t matter who Magnolia was bantering with, it a furiously funny back-and-forth exchange akin to a sporting event.

Canterbary takes readers through the trials and tribulations of Magnolia’s year-long dating immersion experiment with the kind of detail that made me want to put my Kindle down—momentarily, of course—seek out my husband and thank him for marrying me all those years ago. I didn’t actually do this, but a couple dozen times while reading this book, I really wanted to. That’s the thing about this story, it’s so relatable, even to old married folk like me. This book didn’t simply entertain and amuse me, I was engulfed in it for an entire day, taking up all of my time and attention, and I was glad for it. Delicious in every sense of the word, The Magnolia Chronicles captivated me as it played out in my mind like an Oscar-nominated romantic comedy does on the big screen.

I was completely lost in Magnolia’s chronicles. Totally engaged, completely absorbed and all in, I was utterly charmed from cover-to-cover as I tried to restrain myself because I didn’t want to merely devour this book, I wanted the chance to revel in Magnolia’s experiences. Refreshing, clever, heartwarming and sexy, this story made my heart—and my head—happy on every single level. I can’t recommend this book—this author—highly enough. Another outstanding story from the brilliant Kate Canterbary, The Magnolia Chronicles: Adventures in Modern Dating gets five smooches from me!

~Danielle Palumbo




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