HONEYSUCKLE SEASON – Mary Ellen Taylor
Bluestone, Virginia – 1940's & Present Day
As HONEYSUCKLE SEASON opens, it's 1994 and Olivia Carter is at the bedside of her dying longtime friend (not named). The story then shifts to 1943 as Sadie Thompson is frantically evading the sheriff after she committed a crime. She is going to have to leave her infant behind with her mother and head to another city. Did she make it?
Libby McKenzie came home to Bluestone, Virginia, to care for her dying father and has been in a daze since he died six months ago. She is living in her childhood home and has started a photography business. Today, she will be going to Woodmont Estate for a shoot at a wedding. Libby hasn't been at Woodmont since she and her late mother toured the gardens when she was thirteen years old. The place has fascinated her, and she finally meets the current owner of the property, Elaine Grant, who had consented to have the wedding there as a prelude to opening the venue to more events. Elaine Grant is Oliva Carter's granddaughter…
At the wedding, Libby encounters the bride's brother, Colton Reese, a single father of two young boys. Libby's heart aches when she sees the boys because she has suffered three miscarriages while married to her now ex, Jeremy. Something zings between Libby and Colton, but she dismisses it because she feels like she has nothing to offer a man. Yet, their friendship soon turns into something more. Meanwhile, Libby is invited a couple of times to Elaine's residence at Woodmont Estate. Why is the older woman wanting a friendship with someone she has just met?
HONEYSUCKLE SEASON flips back and forth from present day with Libby and 1942 with teenaged Sadie Thompson. We learn that Sadie's mother is widowed and struggling to meet ends as World War II has recently started. One older brother has gone off to war and another is about to leave. They make honeysuckle moonshine that they sell to the locals, including Dr. Edward Carter, who recently returned from England with his English bride, Olivia. Sadie strikes up a friendship with Olivia, one that is frowned on by Edward. Then, tragedy strikes. How will the stories of Sadie Thompson, Olivia Carter, and Libby McKenzie be connected by the end of HONEYSUCKLE SEASON?
Mary Ellen Taylor has penned a poignant tale of three women in HONEYSUCKLE SEASON. Sadie Thompson longs for a life where she is not struggling to help put food on her family's table. Olivia Carter is trying to adjust to life in the United States and understanding the man she married is much different from the one who wooed her. Libby misses her dad yet hasn't seemed to let go of the past. In fact, Libby has been stalking the social media posts of her ex, and is stunned to learn when he shows up during the wedding reception that not only has he moved on with another woman, but he is about to be a father with her. Libby wanted a child so badly, but fate didn't cooperate. After Libby finally decides to go through her father's personal papers, she comes across a file with a letter from Olivia Carter. The contents of the letter provide for a startling moment in HONEYSUCKLE SEASON, one that could change the lives for a couple of characters. Meanwhile, the fledging romance between Libby and Colton begins to heat up…
HONEYSUCKLE SEASON is one of those books that you need to keep reading as the red herrings are revealed and you find out what you suspect is true or not. What was in the letter from Olivia Carter? How is it tied to Libby…and Sadie? I will admit that I figured out the answer to how it affected Libby, but Sadie's was the harder one. If you're like me, you will want to keep reading until all the answers are revealed.
HONEYSUCKLE SEASON is a heartwarming and charmingly poignant tale that you don't want to miss.