The Pink Magnolia Club

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Overview

Bestselling author Geralyn Dawson brings her signature wit and charm to a contemporary tale of three Southern women who meet at a charity wedding gown sale and forge a friendship that changes their lives forever.

MEET THE PINK MAGNOLIA CLUB

Holly Weeks, whose boyfriend has lured her to the sale under false pretenses, wants to walk barefoot on a Tahitian beach and read a thousand books for pleasure. There are many other goals on her "Life ...

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Overview

Bestselling author Geralyn Dawson brings her signature wit and charm to a contemporary tale of three Southern women who meet at a charity wedding gown sale and forge a friendship that changes their lives forever.

MEET THE PINK MAGNOLIA CLUB

Holly Weeks, whose boyfriend has lured her to the sale under false pretenses, wants to walk barefoot on a Tahitian beach and read a thousand books for pleasure. There are many other goals on her "Life List," but getting married isn't one of them. Never mind that she's in love. Now if she could only figure out what's holding her back. Maggie Prescott is lonely in her empty nest. When her husband forgets their twenty-fifth anniversary, she wonders whether she even wants to share a nest with him anymore. Donating her wedding gown seems like the right thing to do. Grace Hardeman, who's volunteering at the sale, wishes for health, happiness, and a party with loved ones to mark fifty years of marriage. But soon she's facing the fight of her life. Together, these three women at turning points in their lives learn there's nothing like friendship to strengthen a heart that's in danger of breaking.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743442657
  • Publisher: Pocket Books
  • Publication date: 8/1/1902
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 4.18 (h) x 1.09 (d)

First Chapter

Chapter One

Holly Weeks kept her dreams tucked inside her wallet.

The list of thirty-two items had been penned in black ink on white paper, folded into a small rectangle, and slipped into a special spot between her driver's license and, appropriately enough, her Discover card. Across its front, bold red ink and loopy handwriting fashioned the heading: My Life List.

Currently her list nestled inside the little red purse slung over her shoulder. The purse was new, bought to coordinate with the red polka-dot nothing of a dress purchased specifically for today's special occasion. It was short, sassy, and unlike anything else in her wardrobe. Holly loved it.

A seventh-grade math teacher in the Fort Worth ISD, she ordinarily wore tailored slacks and modest blouses to work, jeans and tee shirts at home. She chose comfort over style and kept dry-clean-only purchases to a minimum. The little red dress was an exception. It made her feel exceptional.

Today, Holly's agenda required something extraordinary. Today, she intended to accomplish goal twenty-one: I will do something deliciously wicked.

"If I can just get Justin to cooperate," she murmured as she sashayed up Main Street in downtown Fort Worth toward the Greystone Hotel. Holly had met Dr. Justin Skipworth last year while visiting one of her students at Children's Medical Center of Dallas. Since then he'd completed his residency and joined a pediatrics practice in Fort Worth. They'd been lovers for six months.

Justin was smart, handsome, generous, caring -- just about everything a woman could want in a man. His only less-than-desirable quality was a tendency toward stuffiness on occasion. Since stuffiness wouldn't get twenty-one checked off her list, Holly had dressed today for battle by adding take-me pumps, Saturday night makeup, and make-him-suffer perfume to the package.

She looked good. A shade trashy, but good. Justin was about to get the stuffy knocked right out of him. This was war and Holly was a determined woman.

She had developed both her attitude and her list three days before her thirteenth birthday, the very evening she and her dad returned to their empty house following her mom's funeral. As time passed, she focused her determination on refining the list -- adding, deleting, and checking off each dream that came true. Her attitude remained unchanged.

Holly revamped her list entirely at the age of nineteen. When a collision on the basketball court during a collegiate intramural game resulted in a badly broken leg and extended bed stay, she developed a TV talk-show habit. Under the influence of the daytime divas, she discarded all but three items on her original list, replacing them with goals more adult in both scope and content.

Four years ago on her twenty-first birthday, Holly celebrated by declaring her list complete and in its final form. She would make no more changes or deletions. Only check-offs.

She bought a special twenty-three-karat gold plate pen to use for check-offs, and she had set her thirty-second birthday as her deadline to get the job done.

Considering her circumstances, she thought it best not to drag it out any longer than that.

Today, she intended to use her check-off pen for the sixth time. She chose which goal to pursue at random and now, bright red checks added a splash of color up and down her page. Not enough color, however. She craved more red. Checking off twenty-one today would help. Then, depending on how it went, she might decide she'd met the requirements for number eighteen, too.

Holly grinned at the thought as she jaywalked across the street in front of the hotel. Pausing to snag a ball cap that the strong March breeze had snatched from a teenager's head and sent skittering her way, she caught it midair, earning a thanks from the young man and an admiring once-over from the parking valets. Feeling pretty, and unusually flirtatious, Holly winked at the teenager as she handed him his hat, then blew a kiss to the cute valet who risked his job by letting loose a wolf whistle as she approached the hotel's revolving door. The attention put an extra bounce in her already springy step.

I will do something deliciously wicked. Just the thought of it gave her the shivers.

She'd deliberated long and hard about just what constituted wickedness for this purpose. Anything illegal was definitely out. She certainly didn't want to act in a way that might cause harm or heartache of any kind to anyone. Holly wanted to do something juicy enough that she would remember it in the years to come. She wanted to do something naughty, not evil.

Eventually, Holly had concluded that her definition of deliciously wicked meant she need not step over to the wild side entirely. She simply had to dip her toes a bit.

She'd painted her toenails Louisiana Hot Sauce red in honor of the occasion.

Stuffy or not, Justin would love it. He was a man, after all. He'd love her nail color and the lingerie that matched and even the little henna tattoo she'd had painted on the inside of her thigh. And he'd love it soon. This very afternoon. Because in order to satisfy the requirements of item number twenty-one on her list, Holly intended to make love with Dr. Justin Skipworth in a totally inappropriate setting.

The very thought of it made her tingle. Wasn't it handy she'd managed to think of something that would satisfy both her list requirements and her hormones?

Justin would positively love it.

As she breezed into the hotel, Holly checked her watch. Three-fifteen. Exactly on time. Pretty darn good, considering she'd stayed to the very end of the softball game, where the Texas Ladies, of whom five players were Holly's seventh-grade pre-algebra students, faced off against the Be-Attitudes, a team containing four of Holly's religious ed students from church.

"Good afternoon, ma'am," a bellhop said when she sailed past him.

"Yes it is, isn't it?" Holly's gaze swept the lobby, searching, then settling on the man in jeans and a blue chambray shirt who straddled the grand piano's bench and idly one-handed a melody. She let out a little lovelorn sigh.

At thirty, Justin Skipworth was classically handsome, with sun-bleached hair, a straight blade of a nose, and light brown eyes framed in unfair-to-women lashes. Tanned, tall, and whipcord lean, he was the kind of man who looked comfortable and confident everywhere he went.

So why, she wondered, when he spied her, rose, and walked toward her with a lanky, long-legged stride, are his eyes shining with a nervous light?

"Hey, beautiful. That is some dress." He bent and gave her a quick kiss. "Mmm...you smell good, too. Who won the game?"

"The Be-Attitudes. Those church girls of mine are mean competitors. What did you do this morning?"

"Slept late. Dreamed about you."

Holly melted. "Oh, Justin. That's so sweet."

"No, not at all." His mouth twisted in a rueful grin. "My dream was a nightmare. I dreamed you jumped out of a plane."

At that, she sighed and made a show of rolling her eyes. Skydiving was number two on her list. While she kept the existence of her Life List private, she had mentioned her interest in a few of the activities, skydiving being one of them. Justin thought she was crazy.

At least she wasn't stuffy.

"Don't start, Skipworth."

"Not today. It'll hold." He gestured toward the lobby sign, which read antique fishing lure show, bonham ballroom, and added, "No sense spoiling a lovely afternoon filled with Musky Lipped Wigglers."

Holly chuckled and rose on her tiptoes to kiss his cheek, then give his earlobe a quick nibble and lowered her voice to a sexy purr. "It's the Bobbin Bass Bait I can't wait to get my hands on."

Justin winced. "I hope you didn't share that particular bit of news with your dad."

She put a theatric hand to her chest. "Tell Daddy I'm after a Husky Plunker today? Are you crazy? I want it to be a surprise."

"Oh, I imagine he'd be plenty surprised to hear you talking that way about Husky Plunkers. Come on. Let's see what we can find." He grabbed her hand and followed the signs toward the Bonham ballroom and the fishing lure show.

Holly did hope to find a fishing lure or two to include with her father's birthday gift. Jim Weeks was a historian by profession and a fisherman by avocation, so his interest in collecting antique bait suited him well. It also gave his daughter handy gift possibilities, so when Justin saw an ad in the paper and suggested they attend the show as part of their Saturday afternoon date, she had jumped at the chance.

Justin had no idea that Holly wanted to add an extra stop to their itinerary at the Greystone.

She had prepared for the event by exploring the hotel and its nooks and crannies in advance of today's adventure. She'd located two areas that fit her requirements: an out-of-the-way stairwell and a small storage room off the ballroom.

The storeroom was her first choice, and she hoped its door remained unlocked. As much as she liked to imagine herself as bold and free-spirited, she feared that when the moment arrived, the stairwell might be too public for her sensibilities.

Glancing at Justin, she again noted the tension that seemed to hover around him. Had one of his patients run into trouble? One of his partners had told Holly that Justin cared too much, that he was too empathetic and would burn himself out before he ever got started if he didn't build some walls. She worried about that, wondered how he could find a balance that would soothe his mind without destroying his heart. Justin had such a big heart.

Just as she opened her mouth to ask if something was wrong, he yanked her to a stop, grabbed her by the shoulders, and planted a searing kiss right on her lips.

Oh, my. Her knees all but buckled. Justin seldom indulged in public displays of affection. What had gotten into him? She smiled dreamily and melted against him. What a positive start to today's proceedings.

"I love you, Holly."

She blinked. He was so handsome, so dear. So nervous. "I love you, too, Justin."

He nodded once. Hard. "Remember that."

Then he was pulling her down the red-carpeted corridor once again. For a moment, she worried over her lover's strange behavior, but that concern was quickly overwhelmed by the sheer force of the excitement thrumming in her veins.

This was going to work. She knew it. She, Holly Weeks, proper and demure seventh-grade math teacher, was about to shed her prim-and-proper skin and take a short stroll on the wild side. They'd shop the fishing bait sale, buy some spinners and plugs. She'd tease him and make suggestive jokes about rods and spin-tail kickers. Then she'd lure her lover into the storeroom and have her deliciously wicked way with him, satisfying both herself and number twenty-one.

The idea of it made her feel wonderfully alive.

Holly was so busy fantasizing that at first she didn't realize they'd gone beyond the Bonham ballroom. It wasn't until they'd turned the corner into the hallway that led to the larger, Austin ballroom that her brain caught up with her feet. "Justin, you passed the show."

"I know. That was just a lure."

"A lure. Cute." She pulled from his grasp and stopped in the middle of the hall. Glancing in the direction of the elevators, she asked, "Did you get a room?"

While it wasn't exactly wicked enough for number twenty-one, Holly nevertheless found the idea intriguing.

"No. Not a room," he said, not meeting her gaze. "I want to show you something."

Vaguely aware of a low hum of feminine voices drifting from the ballroom down the corridor, Holly narrowed her stare and studied the man she loved. Hmm. This wasn't like Justin. Something was definitely up. Something he wasn't certain she was going to like. Her stomach took a roll.

Maybe she wouldn't get to use her special gold check-off pen today, after all.

Justin sucked in a deep breath, then exhaled in a rush. He closed his eyes, visibly braced himself, then lifted his chin and met her gaze head-on. His nervous look had disappeared, calm determination taking its place. She had the odd sensation that this was how Dr. Skipworth looked when he prepared to deliver a difficult diagnosis.

"This didn't go quite like I had planned, but...'' He reached into his back pants pocket and withdrew a folded, tri-fold brochure. Handing it to her, he said, "I thought we could shop for something other than fishing tackle here today."

"O-kay," she replied in a slow, tentative drawl. Paper crackled and Holly's hands trembled as she unfolded the brochure and read: Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation. Making a Difference for Today. Leaving Memories for Tomorrow.

The old, familiar pain struck from out of nowhere and pierced to the marrow, murdering her seductive mood. Angry and hurting, she shook her head and shoved the pamphlet back at Justin. "I don't want this."

Calmly, he turned the brochure over. His voice was soft and gentle as he said, "I thought it would be a nice way to honor your mother."

Her mom?

Sounding pleased with himself, he added, "Your dad told me the two of you were very close."

Holly's throat constricted and she blinked repeatedly in order to read through the sudden tears that swelled in her eyes. Oh, God. What had he done?

Almost against her will, her gaze trailed over the words printed on the leaflet.

Dressed in bridal finery, a woman walks down the aisle to begin a new life. Now, thanks to the Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation, a bride has the opportunity to help those men and women walking a far different path -- that toward the end of life. By donating her wedding gown for resale by the foundation or by purchasing her gown at one of Making Memories' wedding gown sales, she has the opportunity to help grant a wish -- possibly a last wish -- and help make a memory for the family of a person with metastatic breast cancer.

Emotion clutched at Holly's heart, sank razor-sharp talons into tender muscle. The brochure slipped from her fingers and floated to the floor as Justin tugged her slowly, inexorably toward the Austin ballroom.

Mama.

Upon reaching the doorway, Holly came to a dead stop. "Oh, my God."

It was a scene right out of a fairy tale. The glittering ballroom held rack after rack after rack of wedding gowns. Thousands of dresses. So much white, in fact, that Holly felt snow-blinded. Snow-blinded and dizzy and oh, so afraid.

Time seemed to halt. Holly couldn't breathe. Memories from the past swirled with dreams of a future destined never to be, and it hurt. It hurt so desperately.

Then, to make matters even worse, in front of God and meandering bait collectors and a ballroom full of brides, Justin Skipworth, M.D., man of her dreams, dropped to one knee and offered up a black velvet ring box. "Holly Weeks, will you marry me?"

She heard gasps of delight from the crowd amid a rushing, roaring noise in her ears. Pain. Fear. Confusion. Spinning wildly within her, a cyclone of emotion with yearning at its core. Yearning, strong and fierce and foolish.

There was only one thing for her to do.

Holly dashed toward the ladies' room to throw up.

Maggie Prescott addressed the pair of hot pink Keds in the stall next to her and drawled, "Sugar? This one is all out of paper. Do you have any over there you can share?"

"Yes, I do," returned a soft, kindly voice. "One moment, please."

Maggie heard the spin of a roller, then a hand appeared beneath the metal divider that separated the two stalls. Always one to take note of jewelry, she eyed both the simple but lovely diamond wedding band on the woman's third finger and the generous supply of toilet tissue she offered.

"Thanks." Maggie divided her cache into two, used half to blow her nose and the rest to wipe the tears from her cheeks. She may have let herself go the last day or so, but she was back on track now. She was ready to face the world standing tall with her chin up. Hang it if she'd let anyone see her at less than her best.

She tossed the used tissue into the commode, then flushed. Lifting her Kate Spade purse from the hook on the door, she exited the stall and crossed to the sink to wash her hands. The lady with the Keds was drying her hands at the next sink.

Their gazes met in the mirror and they shared a smile. The other woman wore her salt-and-pepper hair in a short, flattering bob and her eyes were a summer sky shade of blue. Laugh lines fanned out across her temples, and she looked a little tired. Maggie guessed her to be in her early-to-mid sixties.

Maggie's stare shifted to her own reflection. Her stomach sank and she sighed heavily at the runny-mascara raccoon eyes gazing back at her. She looked beyond tired, at least a decade older than her actual mid-forties and a poor applicator of makeup to boot. "If I don't stop this nonsense, I'll have to go waterproof."

"Pardon me?"

"My mascara. I've been so teary-eyed of late, I might as well just paint my cheeks rather than my lashes. I think it's probably time to switch to waterproof, but I sure do resist it. I hate those oily removers. They make me feel like a fish."

"Oh." The woman's smile turned sympathetic.

Maggie grabbed a rough manila paper towel, dampened one corner, and wiped at the mess beneath her eyes. Attempting to hide her embarrassment, she asked, "Who makes a good waterproof mascara, do you know?"

"As it happens, yes." The other woman's stare flicked over the diamonds on Maggie's hands before she added, "Although I do my cosmetics shopping at Walgreens."

"I'm partial to Eckerd, myself," Maggie returned, flashing an honest grin. "Though I admit to sneaking into Saks for YSL's Radiant Touch. It works miracles on a girl's wrinkles. Next best thing to going under the knife. I'm Maggie Prescott, by the way. Please, tell me about the mascara."

"It's nice to meet you, Ms. Prescott. My name is Grace Hardeman and the brand is Her Secret. Tears will not smudge it, and they also have a non-oily remover you might like. I'm partial to baby oil, myself. A quick swipe with a cotton swab and I'm done."

Baby oil. Maggie had a vivid flash of memory of the scent of baby oil, and once again, her eyes filled with tears and overflowed. "Call me Maggie, please."

Grace clicked her tongue and tugged a packet of tissues from her purse.

Babies. Maggie missed her babies. They were grown up now. All four of them. Even Chase, her youngest. Off to college. Her boys were not babies any longer, but men. Men.

Like their father.

That dog.

A quick, gasping sob joined the waterworks and Maggie yanked two tissues from the packet Grace offered and buried her head in her hands. "I'm sorry...I don't know why I'm...I just..."

Grace gave Maggie's shoulder a comforting pat. "Don't you worry, I understand. That's your wedding gown in the box on the couch in the ladies' sitting room, isn't it?"

Maggie looked up, trying desperately to blink away her tears. "Yes. How did you...?"

She pointed to the logo on her candy-apple pink tee shirt. "I'm the Making Memories volunteer stationed at the donations desk. I noticed your box on my way into the lounge."

"Oh." Maggie thought about the heirloom box, the gown and the memories it contained, and bit her tongue to keep from bawling.

Grace's smile was sympathetic. "Don't feel bad; you're in good company. Nine out of ten women who have donated their gowns today have shed a tear or two."

Maggie glanced toward the outer section of the ladies' room lounge where she'd left the heirloom box on a sofa and knew a sudden surge of anger. Ms. Grace Hardeman had a point. Maybe Maggie should keep her wedding dress, hang it on the wall, and use it for a dart board.

With such a vision churning through her mind, Maggie was shocked to hear herself ask, "Would you like to see my gown?"

"I'd love to."

Grace followed her into the front area of the rest room and took a seat in the chair perpendicular to the sofa. Maggie's hands trembled as she removed the lid from the large rectangular box.

She hadn't looked at her wedding gown in years. This morning when she read the newspaper article about the Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation wedding gown sale and decided to donate her dress, she'd almost opened the box. But she was still reeling from yesterday's blow to her twenty-five-year marriage. She'd been afraid if she looked at her wedding gown, she might do something really stupid.

Like run after Mike and say everything was all her fault.

Now, though, Maggie felt more in control. Maybe. She believed she could look at the dress without losing it. Then champagne slipper satin and Belgian lace spilled out of the box and she realized she wasn't as strong as she had thought. Her eyes overflowed yet again.

"Poor thing." Grace patted her knee. "Judging by your reaction I think it's better you hang on to your wedding gown. You could always make a cash donation if you want to help Making Memories."

"Mmm..." Maggie vaguely replied. Lost in her memories, she gently drew the gown from the box and held it up against herself.

"It's exquisite," said Grace.

"It was my mother's. She got married in May of 1941. The dress was made by a dressmaker in lower Manhattan. The lace all came from Belgium and they didn't have enough to finish the gown. Since the war was on, they worried they wouldn't get any more shipments in time to finish the dress. Then Pearl Harbor happened, and the wedding was postponed. Four years later, she got a package from Europe."

Maggie traced the crisscross of lace on the gown's bodice and added, "From my dad. It was yards and yards and yards of Belgian lace."

"What a lovely story." Grace trailed the back of her hand across the soft slipper satin.

"I always thought so. My mother stored her wedding gown in her cedar chest. As a kid I would always sneak into the chest and try it on. I adored it. When Mike asked me to marry him, I never considered wearing anything else. Mama was smaller in the bust than I and the seamstress worked magic to get it to fit."

Grace fluffed out the gown's long satin train and observed, "You must have been a beautiful bride."

"He always told me I was." Maggie stared at her reflection and tried to mesh memory with the reality of today. If she stripped right then and slipped into the gown, the twenty-six buttons up the back would fasten. The seams might be a little snug, but for the most part, the wedding gown would fit.

It would fit the body, but not the woman.

Maggie swallowed a sob. She had changed. Her life had changed. God, how she hated change.

Her children were grown and didn't need her. Her husband didn't want her.

She hadn't a clue who she was anymore.

The dark, cold cloud of misery that had hovered in her personal sky for months now descended once again. The fog swallowed her, seeped into her bones, and extinguished the lingering embers of the anger that had burned hot since yesterday afternoon.

Maggie had never felt so cold. So alone. "Oh, spit."

She tried to lift her chin, strained to square her shoulders and straighten her spine. She told herself she needed new wishes, new aspirations, new desires. New dreams.

But she didn't believe it.

The fact was Maggie loved her old life. The life that she'd lost. The one that time and circumstance had wrested away from her. The accursed tears returned as she lowered the wedding gown and made a halfhearted attempt to fold it back into the heirloom box.

"Here, let me help," said Grace, handing Maggie yet another tissue.

"I'm sorry. It must be hormones. I think I'm peri-menopausal." Either that or man-a-pausal. Mike-a-pausal. Oh, God. I miss him.

How, she wondered, did two people share the same house, the same supper table, the same bed, and still be a continent apart?

Suddenly, she knew a fierce urge to wear her wedding gown one last time. Kicking off her leather clogs, she tugged off her emerald green cotton shirt and white jeans, then stepped into the dress and slipped into the sleeves.

"I'm still donating it," she insisted. "I don't want to keep it. Truly, I don't. I don't have any daughters, any reason to keep it. I was barely twenty when I wore it. Can you imagine that? A baby. But I was so in love."

"I understand." Grace stepped behind her and helped with the buttons. "I was a young bride myself."

Emotion buffeted Maggie as she looked at herself in the mirror. She saw so much more than a forty-plus housewife with an empty nest and a marriage in trouble. She saw her mother, standing behind her as she had on Maggie's wedding day. She'd fastened a pearl necklace around her daughter's neck and wept happy tears.

Tears and weddings. Should have seen the warning in that.

Maggie still thought of her mama every day. She still missed her every day, especially in times of trouble when she needed a shoulder to cry on. Nobody's shoulder was as comforting as a mother's.

Oh, lordy, she needed her mama today.

Seeing herself in this gown again after so many years was like staring into the past. She saw herself as yesterday's bride, the young woman whose heart had overflowed with love, with hope. She saw the woman she used to be, and also, the woman she had wanted to be. In every bead, every button and bit of lace, she saw her dreams, her aspirations, her wishes and desires. She saw her femininity, her sexual allure, her maternal might.

Where had it all gone?

Why was she so empty now?

But even as she asked herself the questions, a welcome distraction burst into the room as a young woman rushed inside. Seconds later, Maggie heard the unmistakable sound of retching.

"Poor thing," she said, just as the outer door swung in once again. This time, however, the person who swept into the ladies' lounge was a man. A handsome, angry man who clutched a velvet ring box in his right fist. "Holly!"

"Go away, Justin."

Once again, Maggie heard the young woman being sick.

"Oh, that's great," muttered Justin. "That's just freaking great." Viciously, he threw the ring box toward the corner. It thwacked against the hunter green wall, then fell, open, onto the gray Berber carpet as he stalked from the rest room.

Maggie's practiced eye identified a two-carat solitaire on a platinum band just as Justin shoved the door open once again. This time, he didn't stop, but marched straight into the inner section of the lounge.

"My oh my." Maggie met Grace Hardeman's wide-eyed gaze. "Wish I had some popcorn. Something tells me we're fixin' to see a show."

Copyright © 2002 by Geralyn Dawson Williams

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2002

    Tissues! Tissues!

    It begins with Holly setting out to check off to check off at least one and maybe two goals on her life list. When she reaches the room where she plans to begin this goal, having sex in an improper setting with her boyfriend, Justin, he ruins it by proposing to her in front of a ballroom full fo people. She reacts by running from the room and getting sick in the bathroom. There, she meets two older women. Both are there as part of the Dresses for Dreams sale, where old wedding gowns are donated and sold to make wishes come true for breast cancer patients. Grace, the elder of the two, is working there, and Maggie has donated her dress, though it was hard for her. <BR><BR>They get to witness a spectacular to do when Jusin follows Holly into the ladies room then storms off, leaving the girl confused and hurt. They form a bond and continue to meet, sharing their problems and woes. Maggie's big problem is she and her husband Mike have drifted apart, so much so that he forgot their twenty fifth annerversary and has now bought a boat, intending to sail the Caribean for a few months, alone. He needs some time. Grace and her Ben are still happily married, except for one problem. He is in denial about her fatal prognosis with cancer. <BR><BR>As the story progresses, the three women work on putting together a fiftieth annerversary party for Grace and Ben, though Holly and Maggie secretly plan for it to be a second wedding to make up for the big one she did not have. Maggie tries dating and also has a few attempts at dealing with Mike, while Holly confronts the fear that keeps her from marrying Justin, or anyone, with a clear mind. They make more life lists, go to jail together, and eat lots of chocolate. <BR><BR>***** A favorite author makes a change of pace in this heart warming, sometimes funny, sometimes painful novel that no woman should miss. This is one of those books where a lot happens, but it's hard to describe. It is a gentle walk that will renew something inside you and make you appreciate life. Does Grace get her dream wedding? What happens to the two estranged couples? Read it and find out, just keep some tissue and chocolate handy. ***** </p><BR> Reviewed by Amanda Killgore.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2002

    A wonderful story!!!!

    I cannot say enough about this moving, heartfelt novel. Find a comfy chair, sit back and enjoy the story of three special women and the men in their lives. It will make you laugh, cry and wish there were far more pages.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2002

    More than a romance: A must read for all women, not just cancer victims

    The Pink Magnolia Club, a wonderful story of women's friendships, is one of the most moving books I have read. I have never felt the need to review a book on line before, but it is my duty to praise Dawson for her service to the special friendships that we as women have and the magnificent work of the Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation. I have learned so much about this organization and its good works from Dawson¿s Book. The Pink Magnolia Club not only touched my heart but also my soul. I cried at the ups and downs in the friendships among the three women and recalled such friendships with older and younger women that I have been blessed to have. I am ordering this book for those women, ages 17-82, I am lucky enough to call my friends for 1 year to 43 years so they can have a good cry, remember our friendship and learn what to do with those rings still stored in their drawers. Thank you, Geralyn.

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