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Review: Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finnay Boylan

Title: Mad Honey
Author: Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finnay Boylan
Year published: 2022
Category: Adult fiction
Pages: 464 pages
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location: (my 2023 Google Reading map)USA (NH, MA)

SummaryOlivia McAfee knows what it feels like to start over. Her picture-perfect life—living in Boston, married to a brilliant cardiothoracic surgeon, raising their beautiful son, Asher—was upended when her husband revealed a darker side. She never imagined that 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 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 Ash, 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.

Review: Somehow I started this book in January and didn't get around to finishing it until now. I can always count on Jodi Picoult to produce a novel that I will enjoy and this one was no exception. In late May when I attended my niece's Wesleyan University graduation, Jennifer Finney Boylan (a 1980 Wes graduate) was given an honorary degree and gave a speech. She was interesting so it made me want to pick up this book even more.

Reading this book you will learn a lot about bees and beekeeping; a bonus to a good storyline.

The characters in this book all seem to have dealt with trauma before the story beings: spousal abuse; abuse by a parent; abandonment; and more. I guess I say this as a trigger warning in case you need it. The past experiences influence their actions once Lily dies (which happens quite early) and that is really well done.

I think this book does a really good job of family, relationships, who do we believe, how does our past trauma/experiences help inform the way we perceive people and events in our present, how does the justice system work (or not). Lots going on in this really well done novel!

Challenges for which this counts: 
  • Big Summer Book--464 pages
  • Pope Sugar--longest book on my TBR list/pile

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