It is 1943 in the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia, perhaps it is honeysuckle season. Sadie, a young teenager is being chased by the sheriff. She races over ground she knows well- the hills and hollows she was born into and is now running over to hide from an imminent arrest.
It could be that she and her brother’s illegal still has been found. It could be that she is being chased for selling moonshine. It could be a secret that will change everything for the families involved.
This is Honeysuckle Season by Mary Ellen Taylor.
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Sadie, the young girl, is from a poor mountain area, living without her father and two older brothers. The boys have joined the armed forces to travel to Europe where World War II is being fought. Sadie makes money by continuing to sell moonshine to locals.
Then one day Sadie meets Olivia in town. Olivia has married the owner of the Woodmont estate, Dr. Edward Carter, having met him when she and her family were hiding from bombs hitting their home in England. She has escaped that horror to become the mistress of the estate. It doesn’t take much for her to befriend Sadie and offer her a job driving her when she needs to run errands.
The making of the moonshine is an important part of Sadie’s life. They make a few pennies off selling it, but it’s their specialty that helps the family the most. During honeysuckle season their stills run all the time using honeysuckle juice as a sweetener.
Now the book jumps to present-day – June 2020.
Libby McKenzie arrives in Bluestone to live after a divorce brought on, in part, by multiple miscarriages. She is considering a move to her old hometown with her best friend Sierra, a young widow.
Libby is also there because her father has recently died and she is deciding what to do with the house and his belongings.
Libby is also a photographer and she takes off to the Woodmont estate to meet the owner, who is hosting a wedding. Libby will be photographing the event.
Libby meets Elaine Grant who later tells her that she is having the old greenhouse refurbished and would like Libby to photograph the redesign. Libby agrees and then meets the person in charge of the project- Colton. The greenhouse was originally built for Olivia after she married Dr. Carter.
Colton is the grandson of Woodmont’s housekeeper. He lives nearby with his two young sons and has become the handyman/groundskeeper of the estate. One of the first encounters of Libby and Colton comes on the day he finally gets the rusted door of the greenhouse to open. As Libby is going through the greenhouse taking pictures she finds the name “Sadie” carved into a glass wall. Hmmmm….
So, let’s think about the biggest question of the book so far! How are these people all somehow intertwined? Is Olivia related to Elaine? How does Sadie factor into the family drama? Was Sadie ever caught and arrested and what was it she had done?
Will Libby stay in Bluestone after she cleans out her father’s house? Will she find a new love interest? What about Elaine? What is her motivation for renovating the greenhouse? Why was she so eager to hire Libby for a part of the project?
Ahhhh, so many questions about this story! I will tell you the best part- this book was really good. I enjoyed it a lot and can definitely recommend it to you. It was well written with just the right touch of descriptions and conversation and a lot of drama. Five stars!!
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My rating system: 5 stars means perfection- the book was written well, held my attention, and I did not want it to end. 4 stars- the book was really good, but I had questions or concerns about parts of it. This might include the way it ended. 3 stars- the book was okay, but I just didn’t like it much. 2 stars- I skimmed most of it. 1 star- I could not finish it.