Saturday, November 26, 2022

In the Middle of Hickory Lane by Heather Webber


I thought I'd finally post something for November! It's been a very busy month at work and then I immediately got sick for a week. On the backside of that, and finally feeling better. I did read a few books while I was at home and I'll review those later. They are both YA historical novels for a high school library project. 

This is another delightful magical novel by Heather Webber. I've read all of her novels: Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe, South of the Buttonwood Tree, and The Lights of Sugarberry Cove. She's an author I immediately buy, no questions asked. I'm guaranteed a satisfying read. 

This novel takes place in Sweetgrass, Alabama. A typical small Southern town with old homes, solid lifetime friendships, and secrets that are bound to come to light. 

Emme Wynn arrives with just a suitcase to her grandmother Glory Wynn's home. Emma has lived her short life with a mother who was a con artist, always on the run. As soon as Emme turned eighteen, she was on her own. Now twenty-six, she yearns for a family and home to call her own. Emme's got an interesting gift-she can immediately see a person's strongest characteristic. In Glory, she sees loving. In Cora Bee her cousin, she sees softhearted. It's a talent that has saved Emme from some bad situations in her past. She doesn't feel like she belongs, and is a fake, but Glory and her friends immediately draw Emme into their circle. 

What's interesting about this special neighborhood is the garden that exists smack dab in the middle of, you guessed it, Hickory Lane. It's a magical place, complete with a bubbling spring water pool that sometimes reveals the past to those who stop to gaze. There's a vibration in the earth, and flowers that bloom way beyond their lifespan. It's also the place where a sinkhole opened up, revealing the skeletal remains of someone who died long ago. Could it be Bee Gipson, who disappeared fifty years before? Bee is the sister of Glory, and the grandmother of Cora Bee. She's the one who began the magical garden on Hickory Lane. 

Using bits of Bee's diary, her story slowly unfolds as Emme slowly lets her guard down and begins to enjoy living and learning with Glory, and becoming friends with Cora Bee. Each character's secrets slowly come to light--with a little help from Cora Bee's special skills at reading people's colors. You might say the women in the family all possess some magical skills, and all help them navigate their way into new possibilities.

I thoroughly enjoyed this mix of gardening, bees, family, sweet treats, and healing. I'm a sucker for any kind of magical tale that involves flowers, gardens, and, of course, bees. Emme is a character who definitely grows in confidence and opens up in spite of her terrible childhood. Cora Bee is also on a path of healing and has a chance at happiness, too. Glory is the glue that holds everyone together through it all. 

If you're looking for a gentle read, this is it. Perfect for gifting to a friend, or for yourself. Settle down, take a break from the whirlwind of the holidays, and enjoy! You'll want to have a sweet treat, FYI. 

Rating: 4/6 for a novel that doesn't hold many surprises, but was a delight to read. The setting, the characters, and the plot all flowed easily and it was a refreshing break from a busy month. 

Available in hardcover, ebook, and audio. 

No comments :

Post a Comment