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 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.
Emily Carpenter is the critically acclaimed, Amazon bestselling author of suspense novels, Burying the Honeysuckle Girls, The Weight of Lies (which received starred reviews by both Kirkus and Publishers Weekly), Every Single Secret, Until the Day I Die, all released by Lake Union. Her most recent release is REVIVING THE HAWTHORN SISTERS, which Publishers Weekly called a “refreshingly modern gothic tale” and Kirkus called “an exciting, gothic-tinged quest.” 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. She’s a member of Tall Poppy Writers, International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime. 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 (@EmilyDCarpenter) and Instagram (@emily.d.c).
EXCERPT: I drew the box to me and lifted the lid. Closed my eyes, then opened them again, hoping nothing else had been taken. It hadn't. Everything was the same as the first time I'd opened the box all those years ago.
I pulled each item out, one by one: the prayer Dr Duncan had held, the pill bottles (six total, all of them empty), an old wine bottle label (Jinn's Juice - The Most Refreshing!) with a name and address scratched on the back in pencil: Tom Stocker, Old Cemetery Road. An old brass and ivory hair barrette with a tiny bird, wings outstretched, in the middle of it. A postcard sized amateur watercolour painting, the paper folded into fourths, showing two women sitting under an arbor, deep in conversation. A few odds and ends like arrowheads, papery locust skins, and bottle caps.
I arranged the items in a row on the counter, the way I used to line them up across my comforter every night before I went to sleep. I touched one now with reverent fingers, like they were holy relics.
And now that thing was happening, the way it had always happened when I opened the box. The memories were taking over, expanding inside me, suffocating me. Blotting out everything reasonable and sane.
ABOUT BURYING THE HONEYSUCKLE GIRLS: 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.
MY THOUGHTS: What a wonderful debut novel. I am kicking myself that I waited so long to read this.
The characters are wonderfully developed. With the family history of madness, Althea seems bent on self destruction, maybe as an antidote to the fate that no doubt awaits her on her thirtieth birthday. Her character is at once fragile and surprisingly strong as she determines to break the cycle and solve the mystery of the fates of the previous three generations of women. I was rooting for her from beginning to end, even when she did stupid things, counterproductive to her goal. And Jinny, my heart just broke for her.
The story is told seamlessly over two timelines: Jinn, Altheas great-grandmother in the 1930's, a time when people were broken by the war, devastated by the depression; and 2012 by Althea, the only one left who could discover what had happened to the women in her family.
The plot is superbly crafted, it doesn't stall at all and kept my attention throughout. I just had to know if there actually was a strain of insanity running through the female line of this family, or if there was something more sinister afoot. There's an old abandoned psychiatric hospital that features prominently in the family history, starting from the times when a man could have his wife committed if she wouldn't do as she was told. And even more frighteningly, a newer but no less austere hospital has been built in the grounds of the old one, and it is the threat of this that Althea's family hold over her head.
The writing is beautiful. The prose encompassed me, I could hear the strong Alabama accents as I read. I could smell the honeysuckle, almost taste the wine.
I loved this book. I loved the characters, and if I didn't love them, I loved to hate them. ⭐⭐⭐⭐.6
THE AUTHOR: Emily Carpenter, a former actor, producer, screenwriter, and behind-the-scenes soap opera assistant, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Auburn University. Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, she now lives in Georgia with her family. (Amazon)
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Lake Union Publishing via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Burying the Honeysuckle Girls by Emily Carpenter for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com
Althea Bell has come home to Alabama, she is fresh off a stint in re-hab for a drug addiction she has battled her entire life. Once home she is not greeted with open arms. Her dying father is yelling about how she is evil and something about her turning 30. Her snobby sister-in-law and political brother Wynn both loathe seeing that she is home. They inform her that her father's will specifies that she must go into a mental institute when she turns 30 or she will inherit nothing.
What is it about turning thirty with the women in her family? Several generations of her female relatives have all turned up at the local mental institute called Pritchford once the clock tolls on that birthday..and Althea's thirtieth birthday is just days away. She must battle with her addiction and her family's determination that she needs locked away to find out the secrets her family shelters. (I totally wrote that fancy didn't I?)
Althea's battle with trying to prove she is not mentally unstable reads so well that I felt that trapped feeling along with her. She doubts herself at times and the people around her completely think she is borderline of finally crossing the line. What happened to parading our crazy on the front porch in the south is one thing I wondered about. (Not that it really happens-even in my state there is an old mental institute that has been long closed down because of some of the terrors that took place there.) Anyways...that sinking feeling...
Then there is a cigar box full of 'clues' that her mother left to her the night that she disappeared and later died. Along with the words "Find the honeysuckle girl." (That honeysuckle girl part drove me nuts turning pages to find out how it was going to wrap up.)
The women in Althea's family all had stories and they didn't really turn out like they all hoped. The history of how women were treated in the time period made me pretty ragey on their asshole male relatives.
Overall, this was a decent story that kept me reading. The only faults were that sometimes I felt like it went over the top and the ending wrap up seemed like a carbon copy of too many stories.
Burying the Honeysuckle Girls by Emily Carpenter is a 2016 Lake Union publication.
Wow, I got more than I bargained for with this novel!
The southern backdrop is perfect for this atmospheric tale of family secrets and retribution.
Althea has no idea what is in store for her when she returns home after a stint in rehab. Her brother is running or office and her power hungry sister-in-law will stop at nothing to see Althea does nothing to mess that up. But the most disturbing thing for Althea is seeing her Alzheimer’s ridden father in such a bad place and his horrible reaction to seeing her again.
But, she really gets a shock when she discovers that her upcoming thirtieth birthday is a milestone in more ways than one and she could be about to inherit a terrible legacy that has been passed down from generation to generation on her mother’s side.
In order to break that chain and discover the truth about what really happened to her mother and grandmother, Althea must stay one step ahead of her own family.
This is an incredible debut novel that held my attention from start to finish. The story flips back and forth between the present and the past, telling the troubling story of Althea’s grandmother back in the 1930’s alongside Althea’s present day struggles.
There is a definite race against time element in both threads and a real heart pounding sense of dread, mingled with the mystery and drama.
The story is both sad and utterly horrifying. The author does a terrific job of defining the characters, of creating a dark, emotionally taut force, and adding just a tiny pinch of Southern Gothic to top it off.
Overall, this book was a major surprise for me. I’m so glad I took a took a chance on this one in the Kindle store!!
I went into this blind no read reviews & I was amazed by the prose of this masterful visceral piece of literature that had me hooked from the very first page to the last, lets just say you get so much than you bargained for in this novel, the characters were lovable especially Ginn, Collie, Althea & Jay also engaging & very atmospheric dark at times which made this novel a gem to read. The timelines go from mobile Alabama 2012 - Sybil Valley Alabama 1937.
Althea Bell returns to her family home after a stint in rehab, she gets more than she bargained for when she sees her father who has Alzheimer's tells her to get out of his house, Wynn her brother who is running for governor tells her to leave now.
Althea & her child hood friend Jay look into the details of her mothers death, her father said she died of an aneurism but when they both look into Pritchard Mental institution they find out that her mother had Schizophrenia by the age of 30.
She finds out that her great grandmother Collie she took Haldol as well & had schizophrenia Sybil valley the marriage between Ginn & Howell Wooten wasn't a good one he had a wandering eye, he ended up in a psychiatric hospital but Ginn had secrets of her own!!
When it was Altheas 13th birthday when her mother was dying she told her wait for her the honeysuckle girl she'll find you if she doesn't you will find her.
So now its a race to see if the secrets that are buried within the family can finally be revealed, as Althea searches in her head she says I am not my mother the honeysuckle girl is not real I do not have gold dust under my fingertips there is no such thing as a red raven!!
This is my first read by Emily carpenter it was a fast paced read had me turning the pages quickly as I wanted to know the reveals this was well written Kudos to miss Carpenter for an amazing book will read more from this author.
A Southern Gothic family mystery......from 1937 to 2012.
There's a threatening omen that all the women from Althea Bell's mother side will lose their minds when they turn 30 years of age. Althea is almost 30.
Althea is angry, brags about having been self-destructive, ....is troubled! She's goes digging into her past - trying to piece together the puzzle pieces between her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Secrets have been hidden for many generations.
The story is written in two time lines: 1937 is Jinn's story. 2012 is Althea's story.
Alabama history - family drama -- filled with secrets, suppression, and suspense - mental Heath issues and tragedies.
Other than Althea came off as rather 'entitled'...I enjoyed the audiobook--a $1.99 'daily deal' awhile back.
3.5 Althea comes from a long line of mountain girls, superstition and folklore has it that these girls are tainted with a strain of madness. The last three generations of women, including her mother have said to have gone crazy on their thirtieth birthdays, in fancy Althea does not know what happened with her mother, was told by her father her mother died as she was being taken to Pritchard, the local asylum. But was she? Althea, now out of rehab, and days away from her own thirtieth birthday needs to know.
So starts a very engrossing tale, a story that includes the male members of her own family. Have to admit this tale definitely kept me reading,, wanting to find out what really happened. Still there were a few inconstancies I had a hard time overlooking. There was also alot of running hither and yon, with not much of a reason that made a whole lot of sense. But all in all a suspenseful read that definitely drew me in. Beautiful cover too.
What a wonderful debut novel by Emily Carpenter. I was captivated and taken in right away by the beautiful cover. If you love books about the South and family dramas/mysteries this one is for you. It reminds me a bit of Karen White's novels...which I adore.
Althea Bell is newly released from a stint in rehab for her drug addiction. She returns to the family home in Alabama. She is still troubled as she is turning thirty soon. All the women in her family have died at that age. She begins a quest to find out her mother's, grandmother's and great-grandmother's story and what really happened to them.
The book also tells the story of Althea's great-grandmother Jinn in 1937.
It tells a mysterious family story that kept me guessing throughout.
Thanks to Netgalley for an advanced reader's copy. I think this is perfect summer reading material.
Burying the Honeysuckle Girls is a great, although tragic tale about four generations of women that are said to always get schizophrenic by the age of 30. Althea Bell is turning 30 in a couple of days and she is worried that it's her turn to become ill. She and a childhood friend set out to find out the truth about her mother, her grandmother, and great-grandmother. Women that she doesn't know much about. But, there are those that want to stop her search no matter the cost.
I was instantly intrigued by the story. I found Althea a fascinating character and the mystery surrounding her family was tantalizing. It's a book that made me both sad and angry at the men that have in generations suppressed women, even in modern time as Althea's story will show. It's an engrossing tale, we both get to follow Althea as she learns about her family's past and her great grandmother Jinn whose independence, or wish for independence is thwarted constantly by her family.
I couldn't stop reading the last part of the book, despite how late it was and that I had to work the next day. It was so fascinating to read and part of me was sad when I turned the page because I really, really came to enjoy reading about Althea, Trix, Collie, and Jinn.
It's a fantastic book! I recommend it warmly!
I want to thank Lake Union Publishing for providing me with a free copy for an honest review!
This was such a great story, I had a VERY difficult time putting it down!
I was in the mood for a dual time novel, and this one called out to me. The story of Althea and her family is full of suspense and secrets and mystery. The twists and turns kept me on the edge of my seat and I couldn't await to see what happened next.
I knew very little going into this book and I believe it is the way to go. You will be pleasantly surprised.
Thank you, Netgalley, for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
First, I have to say that this is an impressive debut novel! The blurb intrigued me, though I wasn't quite sure what to expect. What I got was gut-wrenching emotion, complicated characters, a puzzling mystery, and a dash of magical realism.
Wait for her. For the honeysuckle girl. She’ll find you, I think, but if she doesn’t, you find her.
Set in Alabama, the story centers around Althea, a troubled young woman who's come home to visit her ailing father. It seems that she, too, carries the burden of a curse that strikes the women in her family on their 30th birthday. With her 30th birthday just a couple weeks away, Althea is faced with the seemingly impossible task of saving herself. 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 easily wrapped up in both of their suspenseful tales, on pins and needles waiting to know their fates. The author knows how to build a suspenseful feeling of dread. Great book, would recommend to anyone. 4.5 stars!
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Many thanks to Netgalley and Emily Carpenter for my copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Was this ever suspenseful and downright amazing! This is currently a "read now" on Netgalley and will be published this month as well to the general public. Bravo to this debut; I'm ecstatic to see how much fantastic emerging talent is coming on the scene this year!
I think its safe to say this book was made for me. After realizing how scary it was having so much in common with the author, I knew I had to read this one (This book is set in Mobile, Al where I'm from; the author is also from Alabama. We both went to Auburn University (WAR EAGLE!!!) and both currently reside in Georgia (yay for Coca Cola and peaches)).
The plot is what intrigued me in the first place (you can read the blurb here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2...). I kept seeing this book pop up on various friend's feed updates and I had to find out if Althea and the women in her family were crazy or if something else was at play. I was absolutely pleased with the execution and conclusion of the plot; if you like a satisfying, tidy ending, this book is for you.
Things I loved: The characters! They were all so real and deep. Everything in this novel was inner-connected: the characters, the timeline, plot, etc.
I absolutely loved the format in which the story was told. We jump between 2 POVs: Althea (modern day) and Jinn, Althea's great-grandmother back in the 1930's. There was no confusion in the time jumps, it only accentuated the story and suspense.
The writing style- the language the author uses is both beautiful and hilarious. She knows how to take you from a seriously beautiful description, to 3 pages later using all kinds of hilarious southern phrases that made me laugh (and people in public think I was crazy).
Things I hated: I can't think of any right now, other than I didn't want to say goodbye to Althea and her lineage!
I can't recommend this book enough and couldn't stop thinking about it when I had to put it down! Lovers of suspenseful, historical mysteries should rush to grab this one. Highly recommended!
***THIS AUTHOR'S NEW BOOK "REVIVING THE HAWTHORN SISTERS" WILL BE OUT THIS OCTOBER, 2020***
Great debut novel from this talented writer! This book got my attention quickly and kept me glued to the book for hours.
I guess I would call this a Southern gothic mystery because of where it takes place and that the fact that the story of the Honeysuckle girls is almost a legend in this town, one that the main character, Althea, learns about on her return from a year long rehab facility for alcoholism.. She returns to the town to be reunited with her father and brother but what awaits her is not anything that she could have imagined.
She returns to find her brother and his wife have moved in with “daddy” as he is slowly deteriorating from Alzheimer’s disease. Her brother, Wynn, is running for governor and is none to happy to have Althea back. She later discovers that all of the women in the family, and she can date this back to her great grandmother, have had mental illness, supposedly schizophrenia, and at age 30 they were all committed to the local insane asylum, Pritchard, never to return home.
Althea has a cigar box full of items that her mother left with her along with a message that her mother whispered in her ear. She uses these as clues to unlock the mystery of the women’s disappearances.She is certain that there is more going on here than mental illness. She meets an old high school friend whom she feels a strong connection to but after some startling events she isn’t sure that she can trust him. She knows that her brother is anxious to have her declared mentally ill by the local doctor and locked away where she can’t say or do anything to hurt his campaign.
I was really caught up in this family mystery/drama from the very beginning. It is cleverly written and the story flows from the past to the present and back seamlessly.
I would recommend this to everyone!! Try it, I’m sure you will like it.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
2.5 stars. Good, important topic. Nice suspense. Okay execution. Almost unbearable characters. I guess it was alright?
This book has been lying around on my Kindle for at least a year. It's one of the first NetGalley eARCs I've downloaded, and to be honest, the premise sounded fab:
Althea, fresh out of rehab, returns to her rich Southern home and finds herself absolutely unwanted there. Suffering trauma of losing her mother, torn between wondering if she's actually mentally ill, or if the worrying omens she's seeing are actually there, she tries to start (or rather – finish) solving the mystery of her Mother's death when she was but a child. Althea begins to unravel the dark secrets of her family and finds her own part in this story.
Southern mansions, old money with dark, dangerous secrets? Ooh! Yeah? Yeah, I thought so too.
But, in reality…
If the images don’t load, you can also read this review on my blog.
Well, alright. Southern dark secrets? Yes, they're there. In the book's defense, the ending was really good, the story well thought out, but... It's in how it reached that ending. And that fell flat.
First of all, the characters. Gosh... I know that Althea was supposed to be a walking problem, just out of rehab, unable to cope with her own urges or really even really believe in herself. But... That doesn't sanction her being a total ditz, succumbing to a childhood sweetheart like a total puddle of patheticness. It didn't even seem realistic. Get a grip, woman.
Let's also discuss this particular childhood sweetheart. Nowhere in any blurb I have seen was he ever mentioned. Had I known of any swoon-worthy sweet beefcakes, I would have never hit the request button. Knowing my tastes, I would have plainly ran off and off into the sunset from a book like that. Policeman (or fireman?) that saves the day? Please. Please please please. Ditzy chick needs to be saved, I guess?
So, all of that unsanctioned romance was not to my liking, nor were any, and I mean, any whatsoever of the characters, but I must agree that the story it told did have meaning and was strong. Some of the parts really did work as a thriller, although of course I didn't agree to parts of the execution. The ending might jolt you, it's... Really got some important things to say, and to make you think about. Unnecessary women... "Inconvenient women". The rule and tyranny of those in power. All very important topics to talk about, and I'm glad this book did, even if it didn't do it in the best way possible.
Summing it up, the best I can come up with is 2.5 stars. I wouldn't read the book again, and this book won't work in the favor of thrillers in my eyes, which I already don't really jump up and down to read. But if you go for thrillers and don't mind the occasional romance, it's okay. I would have liked the "paranormal-or-not" question to have been resolved, but it wasn't, at least not to my satisfaction. I would also have to warn you about the possible triggers,which are animal abuse, violence, rape, sexual abuse, substance abuse, pretty much any kind of abuse – you name it. It's not an easy book to read (that's particularly why the ditzy chick and the savior cowboy didn't seem to work for me at all.)
Althea Bell returns home after (another) stint in rehab to find her father further stricken by Alzheimer's and her older brother--who is running for political office--fully entrenched in the seat of power in the family. Wynn doesn't want Althea and her sketchy past to ruin his chances at political fame and fortune. Even worse, Althea is shocked when she learns that the women in her family have a history of mental illness, which seems to come on around age 30--and Althea is just a few weeks away from her own birthday. Althea's mother passed away at that age, and Althea is determined to discover what happened to her. But doing so will dredge up family secrets that it seems Wynn wants hidden--and he'll do anything to keep Althea from shaming the family name
This won't be a very long review, because I listened to this book on audiobook (technically the audio that comes with my Kindle Unlimited subscription), and I couldn't take any notes or do any highlighting as I listened, as I was in the car. But I do want to point out that this is the *first ever* audiobook that I've ever listened to from start to finish! I'm not very good with verbal listening--even in college lectures, I had to take copious notes to retain the information, and I could just never keep up with audiobooks: my brain always wandered off. But I was commuting a lot for work and gave this one a try. It stuck!
This book felt a little slow in places, but now I'll never know if it was because it was an audiobook or what. I felt bad for Althea, who really seems to have received a bum rap: mother dies when she's a kid, a pretty awful brother, drug addiction, and more. She's a rather compelling narrator, and her family's backstory is interesting. The whole "I'm going to go crazy when I'm 30" thing seemed a little overblown and histrionic at times--seriously, you can't truly think the moment you turn 30, everything changes. But, I still found myself caught up in Althea's story, and I really loved hearing about her grandmother and her own struggles in the '30s. There were pieces of this book that were really touching and heartbreaking and the last half, especially, really got to me.
Overall, it was fun to explore an audiobook. It sure made my two-hour (each way) commute more palatable, and I found myself fascinated that one-person could do the voices of so many people. I found this story pretty compelling and liked the fact that it spanned several generations. The points it made about mental illness--especially the way women were treated in the past (and even now, really)--were very illuminating and well-done. 3.5 stars.
Story starts 1937, three generations of heart wrenching secrets. Mental diseases, drugs and alcoholism. Brother is determined to be president, wants to keep all the family skeletons locked away in their closets. Year 2012, everything know out in the open. This story was very hard to read, if you have many things around you going wrong, don't read this book. Well written book.
The problem is that the ending doesn't deliver. The reasons behind what happened to her family was just stupid and pointless. I honestly had a hard time believing the reason given for her great grandmother's death. It was just stupid.
And the deaths after that were truly and completely unbelievable. The whole secret was just stupid. Maybe, MAYBE, that might've happened to the great grandmother but it was completely unnecessary for the others -- in fact, it was more dangerous than anything else. Who would've believed them? Who honestly would've believed them? "Oh some chick said she saw such-n-such" and that would've done what? Absolutely nothing. None of them had any proof whatsoever.
On the other hand, making women disappear because they knew a bit of hearsay gossip was ten times more dangerous. I mean, JFC! Give me a break!
The reason her brother was after her was just as stupid. WTF is going to care about what your great grandparent may or may not've done? WTF would that hurt your political ambitions? It's ridiculous to even attempt to pass that off as a credible reason. I do know attempted murder and trying to commit a family member to a psych ward on the basis of some ridiculous thing that happened 80+ years ago is quite bad for your political ambitions. /sigh It was all just unbelievable.
Even the reason behind the age 30 thing was stupid. /sigh
First of all I would like to thank Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley for allowing me to read this incredible book. It is hard to believe that this is Emily Drake Carpenters' first novel. It is an amazing story from beginning to end. I read this book in one day, that is how amazing it is. You will not be able to put this book down. It is written flawlessly and is vividly descriptive. I could actually smell the honeysuckle, I swear. The characters are so richly developed and absolutely believable. I love how she connected the past to the present. Full of family drama, family secrets and mystery, you will be hooked from page one. It takes us from 1937 to 2012 so smoothly, shows us how much the past can affect the future. It alternates time periods every few chapters and does it effortlessly. This is an absolute must read. I really can't say enough about this book, but I don't want to give anything away. Please read this book or you will be missing out on one exquisite read. I highly, highly recommend this book for everyone. I would give it a million stars if I could. Well done, Emily! I look forward to reading many more books from this author, as this is her first.
I saw all the great reviews on this book, but for some reason, it just didn't live up to my expectations. It's a tragic tale about unraveling the mystery of why four generations of women who all seem to lose their minds on their 30th birthday. When the mystery is finally solved at the end, it was anticlimactic. The book dragged in places, especially the last quarter the book. Althea, the main character, sets out to find out the truth about her mother, her grandmother, and her great-grandmother. Her brother wants to stop her, but then you have to ask yourself why he goes to such lengths to hide the past and why he thinks the past will be a deterrent to his run for the governorship of Alabama. For me, this book was a letdown and should have been edited better, so it wouldn't have just drug on.
I think if I read the book, I may not have liked it much, as the characters were based on your average southern stereotypes, but I thoroughly enjoyed the audio version. I can't believe Kate Orsini has only narrated this and one other self-help title. She made this so much fun, I really liked the Southern accents, but even more than that I loved the way she made the book come to live. This was no ordinary reading, but instead she acted out all the emotions, this worked especially well as the main character is on the edge of a nervous breakdown. With regards to the story itself, I liked the difference in pace between the current day and 1930's storyline, I though they were in perfect balance. I also enjoyed the touch of magical realism. I would have rated it higher if the characters were more genuine, in other words if the villains weren't only evil etc.
This book! At first, I wasn’t too sure how I’d like it. It was a slow start. But then I felt like I was exploring a family’s hidden past as I dug through clues on Ancestry.com.
The way Carpenter weaves the story between the past and present is thrilling. As the plot quickly unravels, I found myself rooting so hard for Althea to figure out what’s been plaguing her family since the 1930s. It seems to be that all the women in her family “die” on their thirtieth birthday. But there are mysterious circumstances surrounding each death and their respective husband’s involvement.
Questions arise, like: “Why do all the husbands feel the need to silence their wives... permanently?” Or “Is there a secret that could taint the entire political lineage if leaked?”
Unfortunately, it was the ending that crippled a perfect rating. It was rushed and bizarre. For a plot with such solid momentum, it’s ending was half-hearted. The deep-rooted questions that arose were only politely answered. And the mood shifted. There wasn’t that angst and desperation anymore. It seemed like both the author and the characters were just tired.
This author has a new book being released soon and the announcement reminded me that I'd had Burying the Honeysuckle Girls on my TBR shelf for some time and since it was free through Kindle Unlimited, I started reading it in between sessions with another 700+ page book. I really liked it and was very impressed with Ms. Carpenter's writing. The story was interesting, it flowed very smoothly and the characters were believable. Once again it took me a long time to read on my laptop but that's not a reflection on the book at all. I'd recommend this book to a friend and definitely look forward to reading more of Ms. Carpenter's books. I just hope the library stays open so that I can have a physical copy of the book to read.
It feels good to have finally read Emily Carpenter's first book, Burying the Honeysuckle Girls! I have now read all of them except for one, and just like all the others I was really impressed with this book. Carpenter's writing is engaging, and I was so impressed with everything she managed to fit into this novel. It is heartbreaking, hopeful, and frustrating all at the same time. I read Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters first, not realizing it had a couple of the same characters so of course I had to go back to this one. Althea frustrated me to no end, and I hated some of the decisions she made, but I was so drawn into the story and I had a hard time putting it down.
Burying the Honeysuckle Girls flips back and forth between Althea in present day Mobile, Alabama, and her great-grandmother Jinn in 1930s Sybil Valley, Alabama. I loved getting to see both stories and then how they came together at the end, but both were at times hard to read due to how atrocious most of the men were. There is lots of abuse and general awfulness towards women which both broke my heart and made me insanely angry. So if those are triggers for you then watch out.
I would definitely call Burying the Honeysuckle Girls Southern Gothic, and I love the way Carpenter can weave a tale. It was atmospheric and thoroughly engrossing, and I would recommend it to anyone that doesn't mind a mystery with triggers that looks at different generations of one family. This was really an amazing debut for this author, and I am looking forward to reading Carpenter's books for a long time to come.
I couldn't put this book down! It kept me in suspense the whole time, surprising me with plot twists and turns and vivid details of multiple time periods and locales as the story grabbed me by the shirt and pulled me across the state of Alabama. I'll be thinking about the people I met in BURYING THE HONEYSUCKLE GIRLS for a long time to come.
Fantastic mystery/thriller/suspense novel. Not so much a roller coaster ride as it is a seat on a speeding train that's carrying a time bomb that continues to go *tick-tock-tick-tock-tick...*
In many ways it reminded me of a Dan Brown novel, (only MUCH better written) as we are led from location to location trying to unravel the mystery before the possibly life-threatening deadline. Perhaps we don't visit exotic European locations with famous art, but we are brought all through Alabama and a great collection of quirky southern mountain dwellers.
The story is about four generations of women who all appear to lose their minds and die on their 30th birthday. Althea is the current woman in line, and her life has not been an easy one as she struggles with the knowledge of what will happen to her in a mere two weeks. The story moves back and forth easily between Althea's search for a possible cure for her upcoming madness, and then to her great grandmother Jinn and what led up to her 30th birthday. The result is a family full of secrets that affect each generation even worse than the one before.
Jinn's story begins in a time and place where a woman is her father's property until she is literally "given" to her husband to do with as he chooses. The author really brings history to life and brings us so closely inside Jinn's mind that we understand why she cannot consider leaving, even if we cannot comprehend living that life in this day and age.
Drug-addicted Althea takes us on her adventure as she seeks out the answers and the truth, and her shenanigans bring some humor to the story. But always in the background is the old insane asylum where her mother and grandmother were locked up until death. I had visceral feelings of dread in my gut whenever Althea set foot on the hospital property during her search for the truth, and it is not often that a book can make me feel like that.
We only know Althea for a couple of weeks, and it wasn't enough for me. Although the mystery of the Honeysuckle Girl is solved in this story, I hope we can read about further adventures with Althea and the many other characters we meet in the story. It's been hard to give this book up; as scary as it was, I just didn't want to leave Alabama and the characters in this book.
Thank you so much to NetGalley for giving me a copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I knew absolutely nothing about this book going into it, and it was probably better that way. It really exceeded my expectations and I was very pleasantly surprised. I really enjoy dual time lines, multiple POV and family mysteries, and this book did not disappoint.
This story will suck you right in and you will keep reading way past your bedtime just to see what happens next. It is written so well that it is hard to believe that this is the author's debut novel. I am very much looking forward to more books by Emily Carpenter.
I absolutely recommend this book as the twists and turns keep coming and the mystery slowly unravels before your eyes.
This is a wonderful debut novel from Emily Carpenter. Althea Bell is recently released from rehab her homecoming is less than welcoming. Althea is about to turn 30 years old, the same age all of the women in her family have died. Althea is scared as to what will happen to her. Althea wants to investigate these previous deaths. She was only five years old when her mother died. Her mother left her a cigar box filled with clues. But who was the honeysuckle girl.? Read to find out.
This is a suspenseful Gothic mystery, that will suck you in from the very beginning. It is filled with twists and turns. I recommend reading it.
Mixed emotions about this one. There were things I really loved about it and I was definitely glued to it.. All the way through. I felt that there was just way too much packed into one book though and some things that happened that weren't necessary and or completely logical. Definitely entertaining and some gorgeous writing but imperfect
I've long been a fan of Emily Carpenter but for some reason, I skipped her debut, Burying The Honeysuckle Girls. Oh my! What a great story! Emily blends mystery, family secrets with a gothic element. This is one you don't want to miss. Her upcoming book, Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters(10/20/20), is the prequel to the Honeysuckle Girls and I can't wait!!