Published April 26th 2016 by Lake Union Publishing, Brilliance Audio
With Emily Carpenter’s new book being released this month, I wanted to go back and read The Honeysuckle Girls. I was fortunate that I was able to get a copy of the audiobook and I really enjoyed listening to this one. The narration was well done and added to my enjoyment of the book.
Althea Bell comes from a long line of mountain girls. Superstition has led people to believe that these girls all carry a madness inside. The last three generations of women, including her mother, supposedly have gone crazy on or before their thirtieth birthdays and been committed to Pritchard, the local asylum. All Althea knows about her mother is what her father told her, that her mother died from seizures on her way to the asylum. Althea has just returned home from drug rehab, and is about to turn thirty. Her father is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, and her brother tells her that she will inherit nothing if she does not check herself in to Pritchard by her birthday. Wynn and his wife have moved in with daddy to care for him. Wynn is also running for governor and he does not want his crazy sister derailing his campaign. Althea knows this is her last chance to find out what really happened, not only to her mother, but her grandmother and great-grandmother. What is her family’s dark secret? With just a cigar box full of clues her mother left her, Althea sets out to solve the mystery.
The story alternates between Althea in the present, and her great-grandmother Jinn back in the 1930s. I was hooked by both of their stories and could not stop listening. I had to know what happened to Jinn and how would this effect Althea. The author did a wonderful job building a suspenseful feeling. The secrets that Althea uncovers with the help of her childhood friend are tragic. I would label this book a Southern Gothic Mystery as it takes place in Alabama and it is dark. This was an amazing debut novel. There were some inconsistencies in the book, some slower sections, a bit of extraneous information, but not enough to cause a problem with the story. Overall, this was a great story, it was suspenseful, tense, dramatic with racial and prejudicial overtones. I definitely recommend this one.
About the Book: Althea Bell is still heartbroken by her mother’s tragic, premature death—and tormented by the last, frantic words she whispered into young Althea’s ear: Wait for her. For the honeysuckle girl. She’ll find you, I think, but if she doesn’t, you find her.
Adrift ever since, Althea is now fresh out of rehab and returning to her family home in Mobile, Alabama, determined to reconnect with her estranged, ailing father. While Althea doesn’t expect him, or her politically ambitious brother, to welcome her with open arms, she’s not prepared for the chilling revelation of a grim, long-buried family secret. Fragile and desperate, Althea escapes with an old flame to uncover the truth about her lineage. Drawn deeper into her ancestors’ lives, Althea begins to unearth their disturbing history…and the part she’s meant to play in it.
Gripping and visceral, this unforgettable debut delves straight into the heart of dark family secrets and into one woman’s emotional journey to save herself from a sinister inheritance.
About the Author: Emily Carpenter is the critically acclaimed, bestselling author of suspense novels, Burying the Honeysuckle Girls, The Weight of Lies, and Every Single Secret. After graduating from Auburn with a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication, she moved to New York City. She’s worked as an actor, producer, screenwriter, and behind-the-scenes soap opera assistant for the CBS shows, As the World Turns and Guiding Light. Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, she now lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her family. You can visit Emily at emilycarpenterauthor.com and on Facebook and Twitter.