Houston in the 1920s is a city of established cotton kings and newly rich oil barons, where the elite live in beaux art mansions behind the gates of Courtlandt Place. Kirby Augustus Allen, grandson of the Allen brothers who founded Houston as a real estate deal, is grooming his daughter Hetty to marry Lamar Rusk, scion of the Splendora oil fortune. Instead, at the No-Tsu-Oh Carnival of 1928, beautiful, rebellious Hetty encounters a mysterious man from Montana dressed in the gear of a wildcatter--an outsider named Garret MacBride.
Hetty is torn between Lamar's lavish courtship and her instinctive connection to Garret. As Lamar's wife she would be guaranteed acceptance to the highest ranks of Houston society. Yet Garret, poor but powerfully ambitious, offers the adventure she craves, with rendezvous in illicit jazz clubs and reckless nights of passion. The men's intense rivalry extends to business, as rumors of a vast, untapped ocean of oil in East Texas spark a frenzy that can make fortunes--or shatter lives and dreams beyond repair.
A sweeping, sumptuous debut that evokes the turmoil and drama rippling through the history of the Lone Star State, Magnolia City is a story of love, greed, jealousy, and redemption, brought to life through the eyes of its unforgettable heroine.
"Masterfully written, this story of oil, love, and family will grab you by the heart and not let you go." --Maria V. Snyder, New York Times
"Magnolia City is a compelling and evocative portrait of Houston in the 1920s. In turns thrilling, heartbreaking and uplifting, you will not want to put this book down until you've seen Hetty MacBride through all of her trials and triumphs." --Rebecca Kanner, author of Sinners and the Sea
"Duncan Alderson deftly brings to life a lost and fascinating time and place, Texas in the early years of the twentieth century. Magnolia City is a page-turner from the start." --Holly Chamberlin, author of The Beach Quilt