Stealing Home (Sweet Magnolias #1) by Sherryl Woods
Publication Date: January 30th, 2007
Maddie Townsend might live in a town called Serenity and have the best friends a woman could ask for, but her life is overturned when her husband leaves her for a younger woman. With her three children heartbroken from the change, Maddie has a lot to contend with. On top of it all, after years outside the workforce, she must dust off her business skills to take charge of her best friends’ newest project—planning the town’s only fitness spa for women.
When her son’s developing anger issues begin to affect his passion for baseball, Maddie knows she must step in to help. She didn’t expect to develop feelings for her son’s coach, the handsome Cal Maddox, and to learn he has feelings for her, too. But gossip travels quickly in a small town, and Maddie and Cal’s relationship may threaten both their reputations and careers.
Then again, he could be the one man in all of South Carolina who can help her find serenity after all.
Oh how I wanted to like this book. I had so much fun watching the Netflix show but this is one of the rare times that the source material is worse than the adaptation. Where the show brought a layered, heartfelt lightness to the screen, the book was full of frustration and fearing that women have devolved.
I am going try and not make side-by-side comparisons to the show and will stick with my thoughts as the book was written. I will say though, the best part of this book was the relationship between Maddie and her kids. I felt that it was a very honest portrayal to the situation and the ages of the kids and it felt very… real. But that really is where my enjoyment ends. I wanted to root for her and her two best friends and have fun along side them in Serenity but even her friendships seemed to take a backseat to the relationship that is Cal and Maddie.
And when I mean things took a backseat… I mean, plot, character development, humanity… everything.
This book was full of what is being passed off as ‘small Southern town gossip’ but is really just a town of toxic child-like adults who clearly have nothing better to do with their time than talk about the relationship of Cal and Maddie. To the point where essentially a TOWN MEETING needs to be held to determine if it should be allowed or not. I’m from a small town in Canada but please tell me this is not an actual thing in the South, I beg you. I fear even more for mankind if that’s the case.
I couldn’t even tell you what the rest of the story covers anymore because of how horribly frustrated I was at reading about Maddie’s various relationships. I was hoping for a story about friendship and getting back on your feet when you’re 40 and divorced with 3 kids while your ex and his pregnant mistress tote about town. I was looking for empowerment but just got stuck in a plot of archaic stupidity.