Monday, October 3, 2022

Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult & Jennifer Finney Boylan

A soul-stirring novel about what we choose to keep from our past, and what we choose to leave behind.

Olivia McAfee knows what it feels like to start over. Her picture-perfect life—living in Boston, married to a brilliant cardiothoracic surgeon, raising a beautiful son, Asher—was upended when her husband revealed a darker side. She never imagined she would end up back in her sleepy New Hampshire hometown, living in the house she grew up in, and taking over her father's beekeeping business.

Lily Campanello is familiar with do-overs, too. When she and her mom relocate to Adams, New Hampshire, for her final year of high school, they both hope it will be a fresh start.

And for just a short while, these new beginnings are exactly what Olivia and Lily need. Their paths cross when Asher falls for the new girl in school, and Lily can’t help but fall for him, too. With Ash, she feels happy for the first time. Yet at times, she wonders if she can she trust him completely . . .

Then one day, Olivia receives a phone call: Lily is dead, and Asher is being questioned by the police. Olivia is adamant that her son is innocent. But she would be lying if she didn’t acknowledge the flashes of his father’s temper in him, and as the case against him unfolds, she realizes he’s hidden more than he’s shared with her.

Mad Honey is a riveting novel of suspense, an unforgettable love story, and a moving and powerful exploration of the secrets we keep and the risks we take in order to become ourselves.

Kindle Edition, 464 pages
Expected publication: October 4th 2022
by Random House CA
3.5/5 stars

Be forewarned that I am going against the majority in my thoughts on this book, which is really disappointing since I wanted to love Mad Honey and I sure love this UK cover.

Jodi Picoult is joined by Jennifer Finney Boylan and after reading the notes at the conclusion from both  told of the unique way this story came to be and how many years in the making it was.

Mad Honey is told from the POVs of Olivia, single mom to Asher and keeper of bees. The other is Lily, girlfriend of Asher.  When I started reading, I was entranced and captivated right away, the setting was unique with the inclusion of bees and their habits, I received an educational lesson throughout the story. The sudden passing of Lily is when things slowed down and the past had to be revisited. But things started to slow down, and even when the twist came (which totally took  me my surprise) it was the slow pace that took over which also slowed my reading down.  The mystery started to drag, and the way the story jumped from present day to past memories felt jarring at times.

Known for her twists the first one totally caught me off guard, but honestly, it wasn’t enough to redeem how I was starting to feel. The story drag for the last half, and even the conclusion was underwhelming it left me with some unanswered questions, anticipating a little more.

It's hard to say exactly what this story is about without revealing spoilers, but suffice to say Mad Honey is a story of fresh starts, young love, acceptance and family.

White this isn't a favourite read I will continue going through Picoult's back list.

My thanks to Random House CA and Netgalley for a digital arc in exchange for a honest review.

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