Book Review: ‘Under The Magnolias’ by T. I. Lowe

About The Book

This night not only marked the end to the drought, but also the end to the long-held secret we’d kept hidden under the magnolias.

Magnolia, South Carolina, 1980
Austin Foster is barely a teenager when her mama dies giving birth to twins, leaving her to pick up the pieces while holding her six siblings together and doing her best to stop her daddy from retreating into his personal darkness.

Scratching out a living on the family’s tobacco farm is as tough as it gets. When a few random acts of kindness help to ease the Fosters’ hardships, Austin finds herself relying upon some of Magnolia’s most colorful citizens for friendship and more. But it’s next to impossible to hide the truth about the goings-on at Nolia Farms, and Austin’s desperate attempts to save face all but break her.

Just when it seems she might have something more waiting for her―with the son of a wealthy local family who she’s crushed on for years―her father makes a choice that will crack wide-open the family’s secrets and lead to a public reckoning. There are consequences for loving a boy like Vance Cumberland, but there is also freedom in the truth.

T. I. Lowe’s gritty yet tender and uplifting tale reminds us that a great story can break your heart . . . then heal it in the best possible way.

About T.I. Lowe

T.I. Lowe is an ordinary country girl who loves to tell extraordinary stories and is the author of nearly twenty published novels including her debut, LULU’S CAFÉ, a #1 bestseller. She lives with her husband and family in coastal South Carolina. Find her at or on Facebook (T.I.Lowe), Instagram (Tilowe), and Twitter (@Tilowe).

My Rating: 4 Stars!

‘We had no choice but to stomach whatever life tossed our way next.’

This is such a powerfully told novel, as is every novel I’ve read by this author. Set in the 1980s, young Austin Foster is just barely a teenager when her mother dies and she must take on raising her six siblings, including a set of newborn twins. Her father has taken his wife’s death so hard that he is of little use. So Austin has to step up to the plate, including helping run the family’s tobacco farm in NC.

Told in Austin’s voice, it spans eight years in this family’s life. It’s truly Southern fiction at its finest, at times edgy, gritty, heartbreaking, but then it will make your heart smile. These Foster kids have to deal with things that no kid should ever have to face. And Austin does her best to hold this family together while bearing a heartbreak that is so weighty at times it seems it cannot be borne, especially by one so young. And they also have to deal with the community believing they are just ‘riffraff’. Oh, but God has a plan. He always does. One thing that struck me in this book was the love young Vance had for Austin and nothing could change it. Nothing he endured, or Austin endured, or the hard things that happened, his love prevailed. It was a beautiful thing to watch unfold.

This one will break your heart, then turn around and make your heart smile. Honestly, it’s profound. I highly recommend it. TI Lowe has a way of spinning a tale that will grab your and not let you go. As a fellow southerner, her vernacular is one I am totally familiar with and have used myself. I settled myself in and rarely put it down.

I received a copy of this book from Tyndale Publishers via Net Galley. I received no compensation and the opinion in this review is expressly my own.

Publisher: Tyndale Publishers
Publication Date: May 4, 2021
Length: 384 pages
Buy Link:

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