Burying the Honeysuckle Girls by Emily Carpenter

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“I’m bad odds.”

The cover of Burying the Honeysuckle Girls by Emily Carpenter is misleading, it looks southern and sweet, like a breezy summer read, an escape from the noise. Instead I was pleasantly surprised by this debut. Althea is out of rehab and estranged from her family, her father in particular seems downright furious by her presence. From the start, the reader knows everything isn’t as it seems. This isn’t just about being a wild child. The women in her family seemingly go batty at 30, but why? Now, this is where I gave it three stars. I was far more invested in the flashbacks with Jinn. In fact, I found myself grumbling ‘aw.. I want this whole book to be set in the 30’s and who cares about Althea.’ But that’s my hunger for bygone times talking. The old southern ideas about what is sane, and what it means when someone is ‘touched’ would have a lot of us in trouble today. Just send them to Pritchard, because it was easy to throw women away to mental institutions when they dared step out of line. That isn’t such a fiction of the past, a shameful one at that. That was the heart for me, the ‘crazy’ women whose only insanity came from the families who were supposed to love them.
Is she or isn’t she going to lose her mind? What are the secrets and who is the honeysuckle girl? This is women’s fiction but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s a light read. It was darker than I expected, not to say terrifying or nightmarish- more dark hearts than anything else. But certainly not a sweet little romance, though for those of you that have a sweet-tooth for love, there is that too. A good story.

 

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