Today’s post features the book review of Honeysuckle Season. I do love books written in dual timelines and told from multiple POVs. This book — Honeysuckle Season — satisfies both those conditions, and that was one of the main reasons I picked it up (in addition to a couple other reasons I state in my review below).
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Book Review: Honeysuckle Season
From bestselling author Mary Ellen Taylor comes a story about profound loss, hard truths, and an overgrown greenhouse full of old secrets.
Adrift in the wake of her father’s death, a failed marriage, and multiple miscarriages, Libby McKenzie feels truly alone. Though her new life as a wedding photographer provides a semblance of purpose, it’s also a distraction from her profound pain.
When asked to photograph a wedding at the historic Woodmont estate, Libby meets the owner, Elaine Grant. Hoping to open Woodmont to the public, Elaine has employed young widower Colton Reese to help restore the grounds and asks Libby to photograph the process. Libby is immediately drawn to the old greenhouse shrouded in honeysuckle vines.
As Libby forms relationships and explores the overgrown—yet hauntingly beautiful—Woodmont estate, she finds the emotional courage to sort through her father’s office. There she discovers a letter that changes everything she knows about her parents, herself, and the estate. Beneath the vines of the old greenhouse lie generations of secrets, and it’s up to Libby to tend to the fruits born of long-buried seeds.
The title and the cover of the book of course first drew my attention when I saw it as part of the Amazon First Reads last year. And the synopsis ensured I wanted to read it. But I did not read it at the time I first got it. I finally decided to pick it up as it met the ‘book I bought (well, not really, but.. ) last year but didn’t read’ mini-challenge for the AtoZ Reading Challenge; also, among the books I had bought, this had many 4+ star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.
So What I Do Like About This
I did keep turning the pages, even if it was very often to confirm my thoughts on its many mysteries. I did love a couple of the characters (the little boys definitely, and Sadie in the 1940s timeline, for example) as well as some of the family drama itself.
While it was somewhat disturbing, the depiction of reproductive rights abuses in the earlier timeline definitely intrigued. And I also enjoyed descriptions of the setting – the Blue Ridge mountains – in general (certainly helped in the armchair traveling which is the only option currently!). Oh yes, and I loved those many references to moonshine making and selling..
One last thing, the author includes a few delightful recipes at the end that I am yet to try.
What Did Not Make it a Wow Read For Me
It was simply too predictable (at least for me) right from the start. The romance in this seemed a little too bland, and the ending too rushed.
Also, while I love and appreciate well-written long descriptive passages, as I mentioned earlier regarding those that enabled armchair traveling, the book could have done without a few others.
This is my first read by Mary Ellen Taylor; and though the book itself did not wow me, I did enjoy her writing style, so I will most likely pick more books by her in the future.
Note: while the current timeline is based in 2020, since the author most likely wrote the book before the pandemic really became what it is, there are no references to the same.
A book that will work for those who love this genre, this setting, and/or fiction revolving around family drama.
Olivia had locked away so many memories over the years that they had tangled together. She feared a tug on one would unravel the whole lot. Confession might be good for the soul, but by her way of thinking, it did little else.
When people looked at the camera lens, they became self-aware and ceased to notice her.
“Ah, the rest. It can fill up a great deal of time.”
“There are no secrets that time doesn’t ultimately reveal,”
“Mama always said if you aren’t a little afraid, then you aren’t living.”
“Logic and emotion rarely spoke the same language.”
“Sometimes there’s no choosing between right and wrong. Sometimes you have to pick the best of the worst solutions and hope for the best……”
This book is for the 2021 AtoZ Reading Challenge – for the letter H, of course, as well for the January mini challenge.
It also fits a few prompts for the 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge, including Book with discussion questions inside, and A book with multiple character POV). I have currently read about 5 books across prompts and will update those with reviews over the coming week. If I read another book which fits any of those prompts, then more for those… but I will get started on filling them for now.
Settings, multiple timelines and POVs, and other similarities:
- Also set in the Appalachian mountain ranges — The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
- Dual timelines and multiple POVs — The Book of Lost Friends, The Book of Lost Names, and The Lions of Fifth Avenue
And Now, the End of This Post
Dear reader, have you read this book or others by this author? Any other similar reads to recommend? Do let me know. As always, your thoughts and suggestions are welcome.