- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (April 26, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1503935019
- ISBN-13: 978-1503935013
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,427 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,571 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Burying the Honeysuckle Girls Paperback – April 26, 2016
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“This novel doesn’t stop running, and neither would you if you were Althea Bell. She’s just learned that for three generations the women in her family have vanished or died on their thirtieth birthday—and hers is fast approaching. To survive, she must race to solve a century-old mystery. Emily Carpenter has written a hell of a thriller with language as lush as its Southern setting.” —Benjamin Percy, author of The Dead Lands, Red Moon, The Wilding, and Refresh, Refresh
“Southern Gothic in all its creepy inbred finery. I found myself rooting for recovering addict Althea as she teeters on the brink of relapse while uncovering the horrific secret behind her family’s inherited madness and premature death.” —Amy Plum, international bestselling author
“Emily Carpenter weaves a masterful web of Southern gothic family drama and spine-tingling mystery. A must read.” —M.J. Pullen, author of The Marriage Pact and Regrets Only
About the Author
Emily Carpenter, a former actor, producer, screenwriter, and behind-the-scenes soap opera assistant, graduated with a bachelor of arts degree from Auburn University. Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, she now lives in Georgia with her family. Burying the Honeysuckle Girls is her first novel. Visit Emily online at www.emilycarpenterauthor.com.
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With nothing but a cigar box of small mementos from her family's past given to her by her mother right before she passed, along with an urgent message, "Wait for her. For the honeysuckle girl. She'll find you, I think, but if she doesn't, you find her." Althea, fresh out of rehab, is determined to find answers before her birthday.
Some of Althea's poor and very dangerous decisions were at times frustrating. She reminded me very much of someone close to me in a similar situation who has been in and out of rehab, battling drug addiction, depression and has lied and stolen from family countless times. Althea's character was well written and she felt very real. I wanted to see her succeed, discover the truth and overcome her demons.
Althea's journey to uncovering the mysteries and dark secrets of her family's past kept me glued to the pages. I loved how the story alternated between her and her great-grandmother, Jinn. In the story, Jinn made and sold her own honeysuckle wine. I love a good book and a glass of wine so I needed to pair this beautiful book, just look at that stunning cover, with a honeysuckle wine. The problem is, no one makes anything close to Jinn's top secret recipe in my neck of the woods, so I had to improvise.
Carpenter's writing kept me guessing through all the twists and turns right up until the incredibly satisfying ending. I would recommend this book to anyone in the mood for a good mystery and if you are a wine lover like me, pairing this book with a delicious Moscato or Riesling infused with aromas of honeysuckle may help transport you back in time to the 1930s in Alabama where Jinn's tragic story begins.
A good suspense novel will have an ending that makes it feel like the author wrote backwards from the end, meaning they knew the conclusion and all of the clues they were going to disperse along the way. In this one, the author clearly had plans for a big finish, an ending that was a mystery even to her, and then tied herself in a knot trying to wrap up all the loose ends.
That being said, there were good elements to the piece. The suspense was well-maintained throughout the first portion of the book, and the parallels between the present and flashback sections were well-paced. The parts about Jinn, especially, were enjoyable to read (until their conclusion, of course). Another main issue with the writing, however, also is most apparent in Jinn's sections. The whole book, in retrospect, reads like a manifesto against men. The premise for the villainy in the book seems to just be that all men are backstabbing, misogynistic, and abusive. There is only one half-decent man in the book and even he makes some pretty infuriating mistakes. The women, on the other hand, alternate between valiant and incompetent. Although the relationship between a female abuse victim and her abuser can often be extremely complicated, the way that some of the women behave feels illogical, though this seems to be more because of bad dialogue and description than poor character development. For example, one female character faces off against a former abuser in a confined space, and awkwardly flip-flops between casual small talk and accusations, as if she has completely forgotten that he is bigger than her and, as shown by past experience, perfectly capable of manhandling and manipulating her; everything about the scene just felt stilted, and so did many more similar scenes to follow.