Adapted from a series of romance novels by best-selling author Sherryl Woods, Netflix’s recent release Sweet Magnolias is a romantic drama that follows the lives of three hard-working women in a small South Carolina town known as Serenity. Reba actress JoAnna Garcia Swisher portrays the lead role of Maddie, a recently divorced mother of three. Always by her side is Dana Sue (Brooke Elliot), a talented chef, restaurant owner, and mum to a teenage girl and Helen (Heather Headley), one the town’s most prominent lawyers. Maddie, Dana Sue, and Helen have been friends since childhood growing up together in Serenity.
Although the story may centre around these three inseparable friends, there are numerous other delightful characters involved in their story as well. Not only does the series portray the lives of these businesswomen, it also includes an accurate representation of teenagers and the major and minor struggles they go through.
For example, Maddie’s eldest son Tyler (Carson Rowland) experiences bullying from a teammate on his baseball team changing the common misconception that there is one type of child who gets bullied. Tyler gets picked on as a result of his parents actions and not his own. His father Bill Townsend (Chris Klein) is disliked by everyone in the town since having an affair with a much younger woman while still married to Maddie. And to make matters worse, his mom is now casually dating his baseball coach.
Aside from the recurring family drama, Sweet Magnolias is also equipped with a series of love triangles circling the characters. Tyler’s 14-year-old brother Kyle (Logan Allen) has a crush on Dana Sue’s daughter Annie (Anneliese Judge). The only problem is that she has feelings for Tyler. This love triangle only brings up Kyle’s feelings of inferiority towards Tyler stemming from his brother’s popularity and constant attention from their dad.
Thanks to Sweet Magnolias Jamie Lynn Spears was given the opportunity to make her epic return to television playing the role of Noreen, Bill Townsend’s former mistress and current fiance. While in most series’ the mistress is often a one-dimensional character, Noreen is anything but. As the season moves along, Noreen proves herself to be someone worthy of their own story and a strong woman who is neither a villain or a victim. After witnessing Jamie Lynn Spears’ stardom as a child actress, it is exciting to see her play a more mature role.
Another captivating element of the series is the town of serenity itself. This charming picture perfect town shows resemblance to the towns often portrayed in Hallmark films and other romantic dramas such as the beloved Hart of Dixie. Just like the town of Bluebell, Serenity is the kind of place where everyone knows the mayor and goes to church together on Sunday. The people all dress in pastel colours and the women wear sun hats to accompany their frilly dresses. Serenity is the kind of place where people are held to high moral standards despite them all constantly breaking the rules they themselves have set. If you are a sucker for southern charm and Hallmark Christmas movies you will not be disappointed by Sweet Magnolias. With constant impending drama and problems to be solved, the show’s engaging story lines will only keep you wanting more. Once you watch the first episode you won’t be able to stop.
Sweet Magnolias certainly has enough drama and romance to keep you from feeling lonely on an evening spent alone. You will enter the world of Serenity and want to spend all your time with the characters as they travel around this fairy tale-like town. Sweet Magnolias is not only sweet but it is something you will want to savour as well.
Sweet Magnolias is available to stream on Netflix now
by Blair Krassen