Y’all. I am SO EXCITED to have T.I. Lowe on the blog today because – you’re going to love this – she’s here to chat about why her newest hero, Vance Cumberland from Under the Magnolias, is the ideal book boyfriend!! She is definitely speaking my book-boyfriend-collecting heart’s language 🙂
UNDER THE MAGNOLIAS
GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Romance, Southern Fiction
PUBLISHER: Tyndale House
RELEASE DATE: May 4, 2021
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.
5 Reasons Vance Cumberland Is the Ideal Book Boyfriend
by T.I. Lowe, author of Under the Magnolias
When I was asked to write this article for the one and only MeezCarrie, I was beyond tickled! We all know Carrie has excellent taste in book boyfriends and I’m fairly certain Vance Cumberland is going to be added to her list. Hello, lopsided grin and dimples!
And here’s the wild part about Vance Cumberland: I didn’t like the guy at times during this book. Oh, but I fell hard for him by the end, right along with Austin Foster, and I know you will too. So how about I try convincing you to give him a chance just as I did?
- Vance is a flirt and he ain’t ashamed to flaunt it!
Well now, can we really hold this against the handsome scoundrel? Austin did most of the time and was quick to put him in his flirty place. Oh, but there are a few times where he pulls some flirt out, and all I can say is swoon! One of those times is in a field late one night. He’s taking Austin home and when a song comes on the radio she likes, he puts the truck in park and insists she get out and dance with him. They dance right there in the dark. First a slow song, but then he breaks out his moves when “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” starts playing next, which cracks Austin up.
“I love your laugh, Austin Foster!” Vance nearly sang his words, so carefree and sweetly boyish. “I wish you would do it more often!” He danced over and gave me a popping kiss, making me laugh more.
- Vance doesn’t back down.
I mean, sure, he oversteps at times, but it’s for Austin’s betterment. You have to respect a man who isn’t easily deterred. He may be a cocky flirt, but the guy knows what he wants and doesn’t settle for less than that. His determination never wavers throughout this turbulent journey and when the dusts settles at the end, guess who is there still standing? Yep, Vance Cumberland.
- Vance sees everyone and acknowledges them.
He may have fallen in love with Austin, but Vance extends his love to her entire family. That includes six siblings, an unstable father, and a pig named Pixy! He takes special care to spend time with Austin’s brother Boss, who has special needs, and the guy never shows up at the farm without a paper sack full of candy for the kids. Talk about sweet! It’s just so endearing to me that Vance notices others besides being wrapped up in only himself.
- Vance will go above and beyond to prove himself.
He even goes to such lengths that he ends up sick! I know this probably isn’t nice to admit, but him getting tobacco sick is one of my favorite scenes from the book. You see, Austin’s family farms tobacco and Vance is the mayor’s son. He comes from a life of privilege but wants to be a part of Austin’s world, so he volunteers to crop tobacco for the summer of ’83. It doesn’t go so well for the poor guy. Here’s a scene sneak peek:
“Hey, Foxy. We got a problem.”
Foxy looked up from the basket of zucchini she was sorting. “What kinda problem?”
I hitched a thumb toward the truck. “It’s Vance. First time in a baccer field. He’s sicker than sick.”
She hummed a disapproval. “You didn’t think to tell him to wear more clothes? All that skin exposed—”
“Of course I did, but the fool didn’t listen. Said it was too hot to wear a shirt,” I retorted as Vance’s groan turned into another dry heave.
Foxy patted his bare shoulder. “I hope you feel better, cutie.”
He mumbled something before dry heaving again. Man, his stomach muscles were getting a wicked workout. Foxy and I glanced at each other and then back to the contracting peaks and valleys of his abdomen, tilting our heads to get a better look.
“Is it wrong to enjoy the view with him in such misery?” Foxy whispered out the side of her mouth without looking away from Vance.
“So wrong,” I agreed with little conviction.
- Vance only knows how to love with his entire heart.
Even after Austin breaks up with him, he continues showing up when she needs him. When she asks him why, his reply is this: “I still haven’t figured out how to stop loving you.”
I dare you not to fall for the guy too! Bet you won’t be able to figure out how to stop loving him either!
Note from Carrie: I’m pretty sure I’m already half-in-love with Vance after this post! That ‘i still haven’t figured out how to stop loving you’ line … SWOON!!! ♥♥♥♥
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 number one bestseller. She lives with her husband and family in coastal South Carolina. Find her at tilowe.com or on Facebook (T.I.Lowe), Instagram (tilowe), and Twitter (@TiLowe).
T.I. Lowe (author of Lulu’s Café, The Carolina Coast series and Under the Magnolias) is going to be participating in an online, interactive book discussion with international bestselling author, Francine Rivers! They will discuss their Redeeming Love connection, Southern fiction, how they write fiction that’s grounded in truth, as well as what’s coming down the pipeline from each of them! This FREE online event is scheduled for May 13th, 7:00PM CT/8:00PM ET and you can register HERE
Tyndale House is offering a print copy of Under the Magnolias by T.I. Lowe to one of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What makes you want to read Under the Magnolias by T.I. Lowe? What do you think makes a good book boyfriend?