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Magnolia City: A Novel

Duncan W. Alderson

ISBN 9780758292766
Publish Date 3/25/2014
Format ePub
Categories Fiction Historical

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 best-selling author

"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

About Duncan W. Alderson :

Duncan W. Alderson was born in Oil Town, USA, where he began his career writing advertising copy. He then escaped Texas to become an expat in England. After teaching for twelve years at the Toronto Waldorf School, Duncan founded the Rabbit Hill Writers’ Studio in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Inspired by photos of his mother as a flapper in El Paso, Texas, he spent ten years researching and developing Magnolia City. 

Photo credit: David Schrott


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Customer Review

Spellbound determination and perseverance (Wednesday, July 23, 2014)
Reviewer: Kathy Jund

Magnolia City is the work of debut author Duncan W. Alderson and sure to please with its descriptive words as fragrant as the flowers one envisions.
Travel through the lookingglass to Houston, Texas in the late 1920’s, post war and amidst the oil boom that was sure to make almost anyone rich. We will follow the life of one Esther (Hetty) Allen a headstrong and outspoken woman with progressive thoughts destined to find the happiness (and riches) she deserves. Hetty, the oldest daughter of Kirby (Kirb) Allen, who himself is descended from the famous “Allen” brothers who discovered Houston and although bank President of Citizen’s Bank of South Texas is regaled to living in the prestigious Warwick Hotel hoping to one day to find himself housed in a mansion at Courtland Place, home of the old cotton barons. Together, Kirb and his gorgeous but mysterious wife, Nella Ardra Allen feel they have a sure fire plan to gain the step up into high society they desire; the pawn in this scheme being their daughter, Hetty. Although Hetty has eyes for the heir of Splendora Oil, Lamar Rusk and can see her future living in the lap of luxury, a chance encounter with a handsome stranger at the annual gathering of high society, the famed No-tsu-Oh Carnival may change things. While the revelers crowd the ballroom in elaborate costumes, Garrett (Mac) MacBride in his wildcatters garb and fancy car sets off something in Hetty she is wont to ignore. The tale spun with passages of greed, treachery, heartbreak and prejudice all mixed together with the undercurrent of societal snobbery also contains the grit and determination to make it through. Secrets untold will unfold as Hetty makes her way. Magnolia City also contains the romance that wraps around you like a gossamer magenta sheet and holds you spellbound swinging from a hammock at sunset on the Gulf coast. The story written from Hetty’s point of view contains such insight one needs to be reminded that our author is male. Sensual scenes draw the reader to read page after page while the enticing cover adds the final ribbon to the package that will prove irresistible.


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