Title: Mystery at Magnolia Mansion by Don McNair
Publisher: Pencraft Press Books (An imprint of McNairEdits.com)
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 163 pages (estimated)
Book Rating: C+
Review Copy Obtained from Author
Brenda Maxwell’s new interior design client tells her to “paint, wallpaper, whatever” his hundred-year-old landmark mansion, “but for God’s sake, don’t go overboard.” When she figures her grandiose plans will fit handily into his edict’s whatever” section, they’re launched into a constant head-bumping mode.
Brenda’s poor money management skills (that’s his view, but what does he know?) and lawyer David Hasbrough’s ridiculous need to control her life (that’s her well-reasoned evaluation of the situation) combine to keep the battle going. Is this couple’s romantic goose cooked? Well, she can’t be near him without sparks flying and goose bumps popping out everywhere. But that mansion has to be done right!
Don McNair’s Mystery at Magnolia Mansion is an entertaining contemporary romance. Brenda Maxwell and her new client David Hasbrough’s professional and personal relationships are contentious as they battle their way through David’s mansion renovations. Their mutual attraction for one another complicates their sometimes difficult relationship.
Brenda Maxwell is a likeable but sometimes frustrating character. While she has a keen eye for design and an excellent rapport with her customers, she is somewhat lacking in business skills. Events and emotional baggage from her past sometimes cloud her judgment which in turn leads to sometimes questionable decisions in both her professional and personal life.
David Hasbrough is a successful lawyer whose childhood was happy despite his family’s poverty and the untimely death of his mother. His efforts to assist Brenda with her financial situation are sometimes misguided, but his heart is always in the place. David’s reaction to Brenda’s renovation suggestions is often surprising. His reasons for purchasing Magnolia Mansion are shrouded in mystery.
The romance between Brenda and David is slow growing and low key. Brenda has an unfortunate tendency to jump to conclusions and make decisions without knowing all the facts. Brenda’s immaturity is reflected in her lack communication with David on some fairly important issues involving their personal relationship. But David’s persistence pays off and they are able to work through their issues.
While the overall story is enjoyable, Mystery at Magnolia Mansion is a little slow paced. A tantalizing look into the mansion’s history is quite interesting. The subplot with Brenda’s mother is crucial to understanding many of Brenda’s reactions to David’s attempts to offer business advice. Brenda’s business skills evolve over the course of the novel, and she stands up for herself when pushed.
While not a traditional mystery, Mystery at Magnolia Mansion is an intriguing novel with a lovely cast of characters. Don McNair’s descriptive writing style brings the Gulf Coast vibrantly to life. A charming romance with a unique setting that fans of contemporary fiction are sure to enjoy.