Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for The Year of Thorns and Honey by Amy Willoughby-Burle, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!
ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: The Year of Thorns and Honey
Series: Stand-alone follow-up to The Lemonade Year
Author: Amy Willoughby-Burle
Release Date: September 15, 2020
Genre: Clean Women’s Fiction
Nina is a photographer who really appreciates control. She likes to set up just the right shot with the perfect composition, but life is not always as pretty as her pictures. The lighting is off, the timing is wrong, and the subjects just won’t do like she wants them to.
She’s engaged to her ex-husband, her teenage daughter is testing all the boundaries, and her childhood memories have a For-Sale sign on them. She’s also keeping a secret about the chance of a lifetime, but what she’ll have to give up to get it might not be worth it. Just when she thinks she’s got it all figured out, an important someone resurfaces and forces her to take a hard look at what she really wants and why.
Jumping into the story, I quickly realized that even though I was told this could be read as a stand-alone book, it really is better reading The Lemonade Year first and then picking this book up as the natural Book 2 progression. It was a little too jarring for me to be dropped into a story that had me questioning relationship statuses and wishing I had more background on certain situations.
The two main characters, Nina and Jack, are ex’s who are now dating –again.
“…marriage is hard work- still it comes as a shock when that turns out to be true. Everyone thinks that their relationship will somehow supersede all the thousands of others that have come before them. Hope is magical. It turns delusion into possibility.”
The ‘why’ they are dating was probably explained in Book 1 and was not presented in Book 2. Instead, we find that Nina is hesitant to remarry Jack because she’s looking for a life of her own. Her own goals and aspirations. I think a lot of women can relate to this idea of loss of self in marriages and so I connected to that storyline right away.
They share a teenage daughter, Cassie, who has just the perfect amount of snark to be considered a sassy teenager without being disrespectful.
““So, what’s my punishment this time?” she asks as if I just love to punish her for things. “I don’t get to leave the house for twenty years?” That’s more of a punishment for me.”
There is a great cast of characters who are really well-written and by the end of the book, I really came to like them all. So much so that I will probably consider picking up a book 3 if it is written.
The writing style is very straight-forward and there are passages throughout that are so spot on to every-day issues that I found myself pausing several times throughout the book to really think about how true those words were.
“He looks at me, and I see our childhood in his pain-filled eyes. Years of hoping our mother would stop drinking. Years of not believing it when she did. Years of waiting for her to slip and start again. Worse, years of him becoming just like her.”
The story itself was interesting, the characters were nicely written and likable. My only complaints are that I wish I had read book 1 first, I felt adrift for the first 1/3 of this book which was a bit frustrating. Additionally, the book was overly long in getting to the point. A bit repetitious in certain areas that were unnecessary. 50 pages could easily be removed from this story and it would be a much smoother read. Were it not for those two items, I would have rated this book 4 stars, instead of just 3.
A warm tale of family, friendships and a woman finding her place among her passions and her responsibilities. The ending was also a very nice touch!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amy Willoughby-Burle grew up in the small coastal town of Kure Beach, North Carolina. She studied writing at East Carolina University and is now a writer and teacher living in Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband and four children.
She writes about the mystery and wonder of everyday life. Her contemporary fiction focuses on the themes of second chances, redemption, and finding the beauty in the world around us.
Amy is author of a collection of short stories entitled Out Across the Nowhere and a contributor to a number of anthologies. She is the author of the novels The Lemonade Year and The Year of Thorns and Honey.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.
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