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Reviewed by Francine Zane for Readers' Favorite
The coming of age novel Finding Magdalena by Shannon Condon is about orphaned Maggie Curan and her recovery from the loss of both parents while learning the ups and down of romance gained and lost. Meanwhile, Maggie's exotic beauty attracts the wrong kind of attention from an obsessive, violent man out to destroy what he cannot have.
New novelist Shannon Condon artfully created a multi-layered story that will appeal to young women looking for a large dose of romance wrapped up in the comfort of the familiar struggles every girl faces — balancing classes, part-time jobs and a social life — while struggling with the fantasy of being the most beautiful, smart and talented woman around. The men in Maggie's life are strong, devoted and protective. And through it all, Maggie stays true to herself.
Finding Magdalena is an evolving story that grows in richness as Maggie matures and survives heartbreak and violence that would break a weaker girl, and she manages to do it with dignity and grace. She inspires those around her with her resilience, her talent as a singer, and her sheer goodness. I particularly enjoyed how Maggie aspired to her own goals, no matter where her romantic interests lay, and how strongly her love of her parents led her toward the path to true happiness. While all the secondary characters are memorable and unique, my personal favorite is Shep. Everyone should have a Shep in his or her life. I look forward to reading more from Condon in the future.