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Women's Fiction Review   


For Molly
by Vicki Allen
Magnolia Publishing, 1999
ISBN: 096748804-4



In "a note from the author," Vicki Allen tells her readers how she came to write her first novel, For Molly. She started the novel as a teenager while growing up in her parents' house in Pineville, Louisiana. When she left home for college, she packed the manuscript in a manila envelope. Like many young women, her dream of becoming a published author was put aside while she pursued a career as a pharmacist while trying to balance family life. Sixteen years later, when the time came for her parents to move into a retirement home, she came across the manuscript while helping them clean out the house. Allen brought the 500 page manuscript she had written at fifteen back to her home in Louisiana, where she completed the book. Her hope is that the book is "a salute to family and friendship, a tribute to a friend long deceased, and a reminder of the consequences of paths chosen."

Ashley Stewart, the heroine of For Molly, has an enviable life. She has loving parents and good friends. As the novel opens, she lives in Pineville, Louisiana and attends Pineville High School. She works at her dad's pharmacy on Saturdays, goes on "no dates" with her best buddy Doug on Saturday nights, and attends church with her family and friends on Sunday morning. Ashley and her closest friends, Kate and Susanna, are inseparable.

When Ashley meets Jimmy Moreau, whose family has just moved to Pineville, she understands immediately what the phrase "love at first sight" means. After a bit of a bumpy start, Ashley's life plan seems complete. When she finishes high school, she and Jimmy will go to L.S.U., finish their degrees, marry, and spent their lives in Pineville near their families. But before beginning the rest of her life after her high school graduation, Ashley and her best friends, Kate and Susanna, need one last "girls' week out" at Destin while Jimmy and his best friend, Doug, need one last "guys' only fishing trip." When Doug dies in a car accident, Ashley's world falls apart. She spends the summer grieving.

As the summer comes to an end, Ashley decides to go to pharmacy school preparatory to taking over her dad's business. She had hopes of being a writer but they died with Jimmy. During her freshman year of college, she buries herself in her studies.

Eventually, Kate and their two suite-mates, talk Ashley into venturing out into society. When she received unwanted attention at a local bar, Rick LeNoir comes to her rescue. A new man and a new chapter in her life seem to be the answer to her prayers.

In Ashley Stewart, Vicki Allen has created a tenacious character who is above all, a survivor.


Pam Kingsbury
Southern Scribe Reviews


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