Tuesday 19 September 2023

🎧 Book Review ~ Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan

Hodder & Stoughton
Audio : November 2022
Paperback : August 2023

Olivia McAfee knows what it feels like to start over. Her picture-perfect life—living in Boston, married to a brilliant cardiothoracic surgeon, raising a beautiful son, Asher—was upended when her husband revealed a darker side. She never imagined she would end up back in her sleepy New Hampshire hometown, living in the house she grew up in, and taking over her father's beekeeping business.

Lily Campanello is familiar with do-overs, too. When she and her mom relocate to Adams, New Hampshire, for her final year of high school, they both hope it will be a fresh start.

And for just a short while, these new beginnings are exactly what Olivia and Lily need. Their paths cross when Asher falls for the new girl in school, and Lily can’t help but fall for him, too. With Ash, she feels happy for the first time. Yet at times, she wonders if she can she trust him completely . . .

Then one day, Olivia receives a phone call: Lily is dead, and Asher is being questioned by the police. Olivia is adamant that her son is innocent. But she would be lying if she didn’t acknowledge the flashes of his father’s temper in him, and as the case against him unfolds, she realizes he’s hidden more than he’s shared with her.

🎧 My Review..

Searching for something to listen to whilst I completed a complicated crochet project my eyes alighted on this beautiful honey bee cover and decided to take a chance on listening to Mad Honey. Jodi Picoult has long been one of my favourite American authors but I wasn't familiar with Jennifer Finney Boylan so did a quick google search to discover more about her.

Small town America comes alive in this coming of age story which looks at the poignancy of first love alongside a story of undeniable tragedy. Mad Honey is told in two distinct voices that of Olivia McAfee and Lily Campanello, a pretty teenager, who is involved romantically with Olivia's son, Asher. Both voices are compelling and during this dramatic and rather sad court room drama we get to know in intimate detail Olivia's past life with her ex-husband and the reason for her, and Asher, making their lives in Adams, New Hampshire. Lily Campanello is a fascinating enigma and it is her voice which comes across so breathtakingly beautiful that I was, at times, reading through tears of sadness.

Covering some relevant topics we learn of Lily's struggle to find her identity and of the prejudice which has followed her and her mother, Ava, from place to place. The small town of Adams offers another new start for them and it is here that destiny will bring Lily and Asher together. I'm conscious of not saying too much as I went into the story not knowing any of the details so when the reveal is made it came as a real surprise and took the story in a whole new direction. Sensitive and compelling Mad Honey had me captivated from beginning to end, and Lily Campanello's sad story will stay with me for a very long time to come.

Beautifully narrated by Carrie Coon and Key Taw, in two very different voices, this audio version of the story was particularly powerful and the 15 hours and 12 minutes flew by in a flash.

Twitter @jodipicoult #MadHoney



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