BURYING THE HONEYSUCKLE GIRLS by Emily Carpenter

Burying the Honeysuckle Girls
BURYING THE HONEYSUCKLE GIRLS by Emily Carpenter
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

First, I have to say that this is an impressive debut novel! The blurb intrigued me, though I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. What I got was gut-wrenching emotion, complicated characters, a puzzling mystery, and a dash of magical realism.

Wait for her. For the honeysuckle girl. She’ll find you, I think, but if she doesn’t, you find her.

Set in Alabama, the story centers around Althea, a troubled young woman who’s come home to visit her ailing father. It seems that she, too, carries the burden of a curse that strikes the women in her family on their 30th birthday. With her 30th birthday just a couple weeks away, Althea is faced with the seemingly impossible task of saving herself. What is her family’s dark secret? With just a cigar box full of clues her mother left her, Althea sets out to solve the mystery.

The story alternates between Althea in the present, and her great-grandmother Jinn back in the 1930s. I was easily wrapped up in both of their suspenseful tales, on pins and needles waiting to know their fates. The author knows how to build a suspenseful feeling of dread. Great book, would recommend to anyone.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

THE VANISHING YEAR by Kate Moretti

The Vanishing Year
THE VANISHING YEAR by Kate Moretti
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Enthralling and emotional domestic suspense! THE VANISHING YEAR is the story of Zoe, a woman on the run from her dark past. Her new husband, Henry, has pulled her into his opulent world of wealth and power. Zoe will never want for anything again, as long as she can keep her secrets buried deep. Then one day, her seemingly perfect world begins to unravel.

I thought that this was a well-written psychological thriller. Gave me a feeling of unease from the beginning. I wasn’t sure which characters to trust, and what twist was waiting around the next corner. There were three *big* jaw-dropping moments, which I loved. I dislike spoilers, so I’m not going to say anymore about the plot. Enjoy the sweet (and disturbing!) surprises on your own. The epilogue was emotional and bittersweet, made me teary-eyed.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

A DESPERATE FORTUNE by Susanna Kearsley

A Desperate Fortune
A DESPERATE FORTUNE by Susanna Kearsley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Susanna Kearsley’s The Shadowy Horses and The Firebird are favorite books of mine, but unfortunately I had a hard time getting into this one. The story is told in dual time periods, which I love, but the modern couple Sara & Luc weren’t very compelling. I couldn’t feel any chemistry between them. Sara’s code-breaking ability was interesting though, which takes us to the historical portion of the story, the better of the two.

Mary Dundas is the daughter of a Jacobite exile, and Sara’s job is to crack Mary’s journal’s cipher from the 1700s. Mary gets wrapped up in some political intrigue that takes her on a road trip across Europe to Rome, which she records in her diary. Even this part of the book was slow-paced, and I was a wee bit let down by the outcome of the big “intrigue.” With a secret coded diary at the story’s center, I was expecting more. However, I loved Hugh MacPherson, the Highlander assigned as a bodyguard for Mary’s group. His backstory was tragic! Mary’s first impression of him made me giggle though. I could have spent all my time with Mary and Hugh in the past.

Clearly this book was meticulously researched. I think I was looking forward to the suspenseful Gothic feeling I’ve gotten from her previous books, but it wasn’t present in this one.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.