It’s no secret that I come to you as a Denise Grover Swank super-fan. I love the eccentricities of each of her stories, and Center Stage is no exception. Each moment is fraught with tension. A hint of danger is ever present. It’s that sense of foreboding that kept me glued to the story. Even at the end of the 28 chapters I still can’t tell you who to trust. Even the reveal of the “who done it” mystery feels lacking… there’s something more to it still lurking about. Something else that means to threaten everyone in Franklin, TN.
You’re put directly into the shoes of Magnolia Steele who is the center of attention whether or not she wants it. She’s bold, smart, and has a penchant for trouble. The more you follow her, the more you just have to root for her. While she’s scared to the bone, she’s not afraid to speak her mind. She’s a strong heroine. A strong woman. As strong as steel ( 😉 cue the rim shot!) For all that she’s been through, she’s still level headed enough to see reason and that family is more important than a flashy Broadway career.
I felt a lot of emotions over the two days that I read this book. Chief among those emotions was both wonderment and terror. Wonderment because I MUST know more, and terror because the truth of what Magnolia has been through has only started to scratch at the surface. I not only felt pity for her, but I was afraid for her. Afraid for her family. Shocked by the callousness of Magnolia’s brother, Ray. Endeared by the friendship of Belinda and Emily. Distrusting of both Colt and Brady (*yawn* at both of them!)
Center Stage is a FAST read. The pacing of the story will keep you glued. There’s even a few “awww” worthy shout-outs that I’ll leave you to discover for yourself. Hopefully you’ve read Denise’s other works and that of Lyla Payne, Denise’s good friend. September isn’t so far away and you can bet that I’ll be eagerly awaiting the release of the 2nd Magnolia Steele installment!