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Red Magnolia

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Red Magnolia is an enchanting young adult novel full of mystery, town secrets, great characters, and a plot that will keep you up all night.

Red Magnolia is an enchanting, captivating, exceptional young adult fantasy novel written by freelance writer and editor Lucy Holden. Ms. Holden is a new author for me, but I love reading mysterious, fantasy young adult novel full of secrets and shocking twists that will keep my eyes glued to the page. I truly enjoyed reading this book despite having some trouble getting through the book due to not feeling well. Red Magnolia is full of mystical characters who are hiding secrets, pain, and life-changing situations. It reminded me of one of the shadowhunter novels that I love to read by Cassandra Clare and "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe. Antoine Marigny and his family secrets reminded me of when Clary Fairchild struggled with her identity and learning about her family. The story's pace and the intensity of Harper's dream seem like it fit into Poe's writing style. Even though the story reminded me of elements of other stories, the author's writing style is unique, and she has written a terrific story that fits well into the young adult fantasy genre.


Red Magnolia tells the story of seventeen-year-old Harper Ellory, feeling lost after losing her twin sister, Tessa, and her mother. Harper and her brother, Conner, moved to a mansion in Mississippi for a fresh start and to leave what happened in Baton Rouge behind. The mansion they move into is run down and needs a lot of work, including plumbing, electricity, etc., but it is a dream project for Harper's brother. He won the contract to restore the mansion, but he didn't know that the mansion was cursed and supernatural people lived in the basement, thanks to the Marigny family.


Harper is a strong female character in the story. She is brave and persistent, but a part of her feels lost without her sister when it comes to being sociable at school. On Harper's first day at her new school, she learns about the stories and secrets of the town, especially about where she lives. The mansion has always been a part of the Marigny family until Jeremainh's parents sold it, then a few days after selling the house, his parents died in a car accident. Harper also notices how she changed since her sister died. She doesn't know how to talk to people, and she has been wearing different clothes, but she expresses her emotions through her art. One of my favorite things about Harper is how she can draw what she's feeling, or something can pop into her head, and it comes out through her hands onto the canvas. It brought memories of how I started to write stories to cope with my emotions and the changes happening in my life. It also sends a positive message to teens or young adults that you don't need to bottle up your emotions. Even if you are not ready to talk about it, you can express it through music, writing, or art. Everyone needs an outlook to process life changes and emotions or to relieve stress.


The night Harper drew a picture of a woman she had never seen before, she started having intense, scary dreams. Dreams about a fire and people calling out for help. She saw the mansion come alive and the family that once lived there. The author writes the dreams scenes with many details and if they are happening in the current time. The reader sees what Harper sees and feels through first-person narration. I love when an author describes the charm of houses or what the town looks like where the characters live, it allows the reader to experience everything the characters are and makes the story charming. The first-person narrative is my favorite aspect of this book because it is how I write my stories. I want the reader to experience everything through my main character, and the only way to accomplish that fact is through the first-person point of view. I know from personal experience that it is not easy to pull off, but the author does. Through first-person narration, we feel the sadness Harper feels about her sister, the crazy thoughts in her head about the stories she has heard at school, and her determination to keep the mansion for her brother, even though Antonie is threatening her.


Antoine Marigny is a character that is puzzling but at the same time annoying and scary. He doesn't like that Harper and her brother Connor bought his family mansion, and he wants it back no matter what. He has offered Harper a lot of money and prevented her brother from fixing the plumbing, but she still doesn't want to sell. She wants her brother to fulfill his dream, and she is tired of running. No matter the stories she hears from her new friends or the problems they face, she is determined to learn about the curse and find out what Antoine's dark secrets are. Harper finds him attractive and frustrating, and she knows he is dangerous, but she must learn the truth to stop the dark dreams and save her new home.


I have to be honest. I haven't finished the book yet, but I am dying to read more. One minute Antonie is threatening Harper because she won't sell the mansion back to him, then he is saving her life at a party from being attacked by two drunk, high school guys. Antonie is mysterious and can be persuasive. He has super strength and speed; I am guessing he has supernatural abilities. I want to know what he is hiding and why there is a locked door in the basement with a symbol on it.


Will Harper be able to get the curse lifted off her house? Is Antonie a vampire?


The town secrets and the curse on the mansion gave me the chills while reading the story, but it also kept me glued to the book. Lucy Holden has created an amazing story will all the elements of a good fantasy, southern gothic tale. If you love reading young adult fantasy novels with well-crafted characters and a female heroine solving a dark secret, you must read Red Magnolia.


Did I mention this is book one of Lucy Holden's bewitching series called the Nightgarden Saga? I am so excited that this story continues.


Thanks for reading my review, and I hope you enjoy reading Red Magnolia as much as I did.


Happy Reading!

~Destiny C.

Reviewed by

Hello, my name is Destiny Constantin, I'm 26 years old. I am a graduate student at Capella University studying Higher Education. I am a content writer for Coffee House Writers. I write young adult fiction and mystery stories. I am also a book blogger for Functionally Fictional.

Prologue: Deepwater Hollow

About the author

Lucy Holden is a pen name used by author Paula Constant to write paranormal romance. Paula is the Random House published author of travel memoirs, Sahara and Slow Journey South, and of the historical fiction series, The Visigoths of Spain. She lives in Broome, Australia. view profile

Published on September 15, 2021

50000 words

Genre: Young Adult

Reviewed by