Midnight Promises by Sherryl Woods
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Midnight Promises by Sherryl Woods is the eighth book in the Sweet Magnolias series. Even though I have not read this series in order, it has not mattered since each one of these books are a standalone novel.
This book opens with a prologue of the wedding of Karen Ames and Elliott Cruz in Serenity, South Carolina. Karen’s first marriage was a disaster. Her husband Ray built up a lot of debt and then walked out on she and their two children Daisy and Mack. They divorced with Ray giving up his parental rights. After struggling to climb out from under this debt and almost losing her children, Karen emerges with some serious emotional scars.
The book moves to a few years later. Karen works as a chef in Sullivan’s which is owned by Dana Sue Sullivan, one of the Sweet Magnolias. Elliott works at the Spa owned by the Sweet Magnolias as a personal trainer. The opportunity presents itself to Elliott to become a partner in owning a gym for the men in Serenity. Elliott is in the investigation stage of the process but has not discussed it with Karen yet. She finds out about the venture by chance from the sous chef at the restaurant. This stirs up her issues with money and being shut out of decisions made for her family.
Karen’s mother is an alcoholic and she has no relationship with her. She is befriended by Frances, who helps her tremendously while she is working to get back on her feet. Frances becomes Daisy and Mack’s grandmother figure. Elliott’s mother is a strict catholic and does not believe in divorce and doesn’t accept Karen right away, which causes Karen anxiety. It took a long time for Elliott’s mother and sisters to finally accept her.
Adelia is Elliott’s older sister who is having marital problems herself. Ernesto, her husband has had a string of affairs and sees nothing wrong with treating his wife without respect. It takes a while but Adelia finally stand up to her husband giving him an ultimatum of stopping his behavior or she will leave. She gets a job working for Raylene another of the Sweet Magnolias and begins to regain her self respect. Karen and she finally become friends.
Elliott’s been wanting to adopt Daisy and Mack since Ray is completely out of the picture but Karen is dragging her feet about it which has Elliott feeling like an outsider. After both children tell Karen they want Elliot to adopt them, she finally sees that her children need the security that Elliott will be there for them no matter what.
Helen, another of the Sweet Magnolias, is Karen’s attorney and she provides much needed input about Karen’s reluctance to accept that Elliott is in it for the long haul which finally shows Karen that she can indeed trust that he will always do what it takes to keep she and the kids happy.
I really liked how Ms. Woods brought all of the characters together through the business venture of the new gym. She also touched on racial bias, Alzheimer’s, anxiety, and infidelity in the lives of the characters. By exploring the reactions to those issues and the strategies they all used to deal with them.
4.5 our of 5 stars.