by Karin, guest reviewer from Savvythinker.com
Honeysuckle Summer is a Sweet Magnolia Novel.
I was given three ARCs in this series to review. I thought I had them in order, but I believe I am reading them out of order, and it doesn’t matter to me.
I loved this book from the very beginning.
It has everything that I love:
- Good friends
- Realistic characters
- Good story
- And a love story
As I said to Keira, if I had known how good it was, I would not have put off reading it. I’ve already started the second of the 3 books. I want to know how the individual stories unfold and where they go.
And there are other books in the series besides the 3 I was asked to review. So I will definitely read those and more by the same author in her other series.
The Sweet Magnolias are a group of tight friends that began with the mothers and now includes the grown daughters. They live in Serenity, South Carolina. Whenever they need to get together either to support each other or to celebrate, they bring the margaritas and the guacamole, strong friendships, shoulders to cry on, and good advice.
Separate from them are their husbands and significant others who support their women folk as strongly as they support each other.
Raylene Hammond has come back home to Serenity after a disastrous marriage, filled with physical and verbal abuse that ended with her physician husband in jail for beating her, not for the first time. As a result of this beating, she lost the baby she was carrying.
None of this happens on the page.
Her friends rally around her. The only place she feels safe is in the home of her friend Sarah. And ultimately she ends up not being able to leave the house without having panic attacks.
Carter Rollins in a sheriff’s deputy, new to Serenity. He shows up on her doorstep, angry, because when she was left for just a few minutes with Sarah’s children, as the babysitter ran a quick errand, the little boy escapes from the yard. Raylene is unable to look for him, but she has the presence of mind to call for help. Carter just happens to be the one who finds the boy. He misinterprets the situation, thinking that Raylene is the babysitter.
One thing about Serenity, they look after their own. And this is a very good thing.
Additionally, Carter is the guardian of his two teenage sisters, since their parents died. One sister is exhibiting signs of anorexia, which is something the Sweet Magnolias know something about first hand. Both this girl and Raylene find help with a psychologist.
Of course, you can guess there is a confrontation with Raylene's ex-husband, in which she holds her own and takes control of her life, but not without a lot of help from Serenity.
This book is 5 out of 5. I loved the warmth of the relationships within the town, within the main characters, between Raylene and Carter. I felt as if the characters were real, not figures on a page. The story is believable, with lots of information, without being didactic. I just loved it! (And I’m loving the second book too.)