To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyzes reviews to verify trustworthiness.
Honeysuckle Season had all the elements I normally like with a spectacular grand house with lots of history and secrets involving several generations who lived there. However, it didn't fully hit the mark for me and it was more of a romance than the mystery element I was hoping for.
There are a lot of characters and a little way in I wrote down names and any dates of birth and death I knew of each character to help me keep track of the plot. The storyline is written in two main timelines - one current in 2020 and the other at the start of World War II in the early 1940s. The book is set in Virginia, USA so the war is happening in the background in that Pearl Harbour is attacked in 1941 which causes the USA to enter the war but this is not a book primarily about the war at all.
I found the historical timeline confusing as it started in 1943 and then went backwards to 1942. I hadn't remembered that and had to reread some sections. It would have been helpful if the chapter titles reflected the date and not just the unimaginative Chapter One, Chapter Two, etc.
There are some triggers in the books which some potential readers might want to be aware of. One was a rape in the historical timeline. The perpetrator of this was briefly in the story later but I expected more of his character to feature.
Another trigger is that the patriarch of the family, Dr Carter, in the 1940s is a surgeon and is involved in eugenics in that he is sterilising women who are of 'simple mind'. This is mentioned at various times in passing but then was frustratingly not significant in the plot. It all felt a little gratuitous to keep mentioning this.
In the current day story a magnificent large octagonal greenhouse is being reopening and restored after being closed up for 40 years after some event in the early 1980s. Elaine, granddaughter of Olivia and Dr Carter, is the driving force of this project. Dr Carter had the greenhouse built in 1941 as a gift to his new English bride, Olivia. Elaine has engaged local photographer, Libby, who has recently returned to the area following her father's death, to record the restoration in photographs. Again, I was frustrated as I assumed that this magnificent greenhouse project was going to be central to the plot but it was just mentioned on occasion as a reason for some of the romance to happen.
I read this book as part of Amazon's First Reads so need to me more discerning in future as to my choices as this wasn't a great read for me but I did enjoy some elements so am giving it 3.5 stars rounded up to 4.
I can't put into words how much I loved this book. I also live in VA and love to read books with familiar locations. The characters and story line was amazing. The 1st coule chapters were a little different to keep everyone straight since it jumped from past to present, but you quickly catch on. I loved trying to figure out all the mysters involved and I was right about 3, but one was a complete suprise.
Trigger Warning: Unfortunately contains a rape scene as well, don’t know why the author feels the need to write them out as they are very triggering to some, BUT it was a very good read. I adore all the female characters. Sadie, Olivia, Libby, Sierra and so on. I truthfully enjoy Mary’s writing. The end was also so wholesome.
My goodness it think me a while to untangle this one. I had just if it figured out. I enjoyed reading to see how the author would go about untangling the confusion. I got stuck because I forgot about one character. I enjoyed the story. To much detail about photo business that really falls by the wayside. Goes to far with contractors and mercantile business which also is left at a dead end. But the family secrets were great.
I recognized so many places in the book. Using two different time periods to tell the story through different characters made it very appealing to me. My second book by the author. I also make though it has been years ago Buttermilk pie but mine has chopped pecans as a base layer over the crust. It always got rave reviews. So that resonated with me. Connie
I enjoyed this book so much. First time I had read anything by the author and was so pleased. I loved the authors writing style, the story and these characters. I quickly became invested in the storyline and can’t wait to read another book by Mary Ellen Taylor.
This is one of those books where I am sad when it is over. I came to know and care about the characters. The author does a wonderful job of bringing the story to life so that you can see it in your minds eye.
At first I wasn’t sure about this book but the more I read of it the more I couldn’t put it down. It’s a wonderful story of two women from very different backgrounds but befriended each other during the early forties. There was a lot of stereotypes for poor people back in the rural county in Virginia at that time. Then they bring in characters from the current day and it all ties in together. You don’t know until the end how it all works out but it is definitely worth the read. I would recommend this book to anyone.