The themes of claiming identity and self-acceptance are prevalent in The Guilt of a Sparrow.
Magnolia ‘Maggie’ Porter has mastered the art of being invisible. After her father abandons the family, her older brother’s destructive behavior and her mother’s paranoia at being the object of town gossip caused Maggie to diminish herself, lest she draws attention from the judgmental eyes of Fox River or her family.
Cotton MacKenna was at odds with Maggie’s brother, Luke, for most of their young lives. Their constant fights were almost always a result of Luke’s treatment of his sister. When Cotton found out his squabbles with Luke didn’t save Maggie from anything, he took up the practice of avoiding Maggie whenever possible. So much so, she thought he revisited her brother’s misdeeds on her.
Luke is gone now and Maggie and Cotton must come to terms with what some already know—they have feelings for each other. Nothing is standing in their way except their pasts… and Maggie’s mom, Stella, who can’t let go of the past.
But letting go has to happen in this poignant read. Maggie has to let go of her teen-like self and be a twenty-four-year-old woman even though it means pushing back and standing up to her mom.
Cotton needs to let go of his self-hatred and constant fear of screwing up because of his temper. He is an honorable man, he just needs to believe it.
He has great support from his brothers who call him out on his choices and behavior. Younger brother, Dominic, is hands down my favorite in this read and the force which keeps it moving forward.
Maggie didn’t have a bad relationship with her mom, but she knows they’re co-dependent. She also knows it’s unhealthy and will keep her from moving forward, so lines will be drawn.
I have no doubt Maggie’s BFF, Alyssa, cared about her and had her back. Yet, I didn’t care for her. Far too pushy and intrusive. Dominic used a guiding hand—Alyssa was more controlling, making the decisions she thought best for Maggie. Meh.
This light romance shines when Maggie and Cotton are together talking. Not stumbling around for words, second-guessing themselves, or finding reasons to walk away. They’re more in sync than they realize, and will have to admit their fears from the past… then leave them there.
An enjoyable read, The Guilt of a Sparrow will appeal to readers in several genres, including women’s fiction.
Magnolia Porter has spent the entirety of her twenty-four years satisfying her mother’s guilt. She was the good girl to her trouble making brother, Lucian – the one left behind to hold her mother together after he died. She is an invisible girl in a small town carrying the burden of her family’s loss and pain. Maggie was nobody trying desperately to be somebody.
Cotton MacKenna is the one with the temper. Of the five MacKenna boys, he’s the one most likely to throw the first punch. Never mind all those fights were a decade ago, all in an attempt to save a sweet girl from her bullying older brother. Now, Cotton has grown up, with his own photography business, yet as the fourth in the line of MacKennas, he would only ever be known for his past. Time for a change.
Maggie and Cotton are more than the labels placed on them, put there by their families, the town, and themselves.
A meddling best friend. Bluegrass jams. Small town gossiping. Love, loss, and family ties. Learning how to be who you are outside of who you were told to be. With humor and plenty of romance, of course.