Absolutely fantastic and not to be missed! This marvelous book started off as one thing and ended up quite another. I also did not expect to learn so much about beekeeping but there you have it.
“People always talk about how their love for you is unconditional. Then you reveal your most private self to them, and you find out how many conditions there are in unconditional love.”
My heart! Olivia, a beekeeper and single mother to a teenaged son, Asher, left an abusive marriage to start over in her hometown of Adams, New Hampshire, a town so small and remote that news that the American Revolution had ended took two weeks to arrive there. Lily is the new girl in town who is also hoping for a fresh start along with her mother.
Asher and Lily fall in love but then Lily is found dead. Asher is the only suspect. Olivia begins to fear that Asher might be more like his father than she could have ever known. I felt for Olivia’s terror but also at the sheer tragedy of sweet Lily’s death.
“You tell yourself this wouldn’t happen in your hometown. You tell yourself this isn’t anyone you know. Until it does, and it is.”
Lily’s story is told in reverse, while Olivia’s is told in the present. This makes sense when you read the book and I found it be a brilliant technique for keeping the twist a surprise. I found both voices completely captivating. I read that Jodi Picoult mainly wrote Olivia’s chapters and Jenny Boylan wrote Lily’s. The writing was absolutely seamless.
Olivia’s beekeeping activities were surprisingly mesmerizing. I had no idea about the intricate lives of the bees and the many incredible properties of honey, including apparently, if you drink honey you won’t get a hangover. But it is the family drama and the fantastic courtroom scenes that steal the show in this book. This is only my second Jodi Picoult book and I am a fan for life. Highly recommend this gorgeous book. It is a must-read!
“This has always been my favorite fact about bees: in their world, destiny is fluid. You might start life as a worker, and end up a queen.”
(Huge thanks to the publisher for providing an advanced copy via NetGalley. All thoughts are my own.)
About the Book:
A soul-stirring novel about what we choose to keep from our past, and what we choose to leave behind.
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.
Mad Honey is a riveting novel of suspense, an unforgettable love story, and a moving and powerful exploration of the secrets we keep and the risks we take in order to become ourselves.