Tuesday, April 12, 2016

"Burying The Honeysuckle Girls" by Emily Carpenter

Look at that cover! It's gorgeous and alluring. It is exactly what initially drew me to this novel. The second thing that made me want to read, of course, was the description.

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.

Multi-generational family secrets set in the deep south, a very damaged main character, and a mystery to be solved with limited time to unravel the truth. These are things I love in a mystery. This book did not disappoint! I swallowed it up and couldn't stop thinking about it when I wasn't reading.

I loved how the author, Emily Carpenter, switched back and forth between present day and the 1930s. As a reader I got to experience the mystery and hear the story from two different points of views simultaneously. Reading about the mystery of this family's past from the beginning and how it affected the family through the years up to present day added a depth to the novel that, I think, was presented perfectly.

There was a point in the story that I had to put the book aside and make a family tree. I was getting confused with all the names and dates and writing out a family tree really helped me get a visual picture of who was who. Because I received this ebook from Netgalley as an eARC I am not sure if the final print will have a family tree graphic somewhere between its pages, but if not it might help if you draw out your own. 

(Family Tree Chart drawn by me) 

This is a fast paced mystery and its twist and turns left me guessing right up until the very end. Character development was simple, yet complete, and I really felt like I got to know Althea and her great-grandmother, Jinn. The scene descriptions of The South were perfect and drew me into the story while adding more mystery.

This was a quick, exciting, and mysteriously haunting read. From the first page when Althea pulled up to her southern family mansion I was hooked. I liked the ending- it solved "the mystery" yet still kept me thinking about other aspects that were apart of Althea's life... was it circumstances of a horrific family past or were mystical southern family curses at play? One may never know... 

This novel just really took hold of me. I loved all the connections and similarities between generations of Althea and the women of her family. The circumstances surrounding her family mystery really hit home and left me thinking about my own family past. Does history repeat itself? I recently started digging into my own family history and found that 100 years ago my 3x great grandmother lived an eerily similar life to me. She was a stay at home mother of 3 kids whose husband was an electrician on the railroad- exactly like my life now! Even if you already know about your family tree, or havent ever thought about it, I think this book will bring out interest regarding every reader's family tree. Are there any buried secrets in your family's past? 

I look forward to seeing other books published by this debut author. Thanks to Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for allowing me to read and review this 5 star book. It is due to be released April 26, 2016 so preorder now and add it to your TBR list! You can order it on Amazon here. 

Happy Reading!


  1. Thanks, Alicia! I'm so happy you read the book and liked it!

    1. It was my pleasure and delight! Thank you for writing such a great book!