by Jodi Picoult
While I am always open to reading something I might not normally pick up, there is comfort in having an author that you can rely on; you know what to expect and look forward to the familiar. In this librarian’s opinion, Jodi Picoult is one of these masters of reliability, offering full reads that are intriguing, complex, moving, and always with a twist that seems to come out of nowhere. Add a partner author in the mix – activist and bestselling author Jennifer Finney Boylan – and you have a sure-fire success guaranteed to have its reader considering bigger questions of identity, authenticity and whether one can ever truly leave their past behind. The result? Mad Honey.
Olivia McAfee knows all about starting over, and every sacrifice she has made has been for her son, Asher. Although she had never seen herself ending up back in her hometown and taking over her father’s beekeeping business, she knows it’s for the best: for both Asher and herself. Lily, Asher’s girlfriend, knows a thing or two about starting over as well. Having finally found a place where she feels accepted and loved for who she is, Lily couldn’t be happier. Then, the unthinkable happens: suddenly, Lily is dead, and Asher is the primary suspect. Olivia is certain of her son’s innocence. He can’t be guilty, after all she has done to keep him safe. As the trial begins, though, Olivia begins to wonder if Asher might have some secrets of his own.
I have read a number of Picoult books, and this partner project with Boylan is easily high on my list of favourites. It is suspenseful and fiery, with the courtroom scenes easily reaching “unputdownable” status. Beneath the signature intrigue, though, lie some deeper questions: how well do we really know the ones we love the most? What does it mean to truly embrace who you are? And perhaps, above all else – to what extent does the past that you leave behind remain a part of you? To the thrill-seekers and deep-thinkers reading this review, if you are looking for your next engrossing read, check out Mad Honey.