Dark, Fiction, NetGalley, Thiller / Mystery

Dark Southern Thriller About Family Secrets – Or Is It Really? Burying The Honeysuckle Girls by Emily Carpenter

Burying the Honeysuckle Girls

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★★✬☆☆  2.5 stars

Good, important topic. Nice suspense. Okay execution. Almost unbearable characters. I guess it was alright?

This book has been lying around on my Kindle for at least a year. It’s one of the first NetGalley eARCs I’ve downloaded, and to be honest, the premise sounded fab:

Althea, fresh out of rehab, returns to her rich Southern home and finds herself absolutely unwanted there. Suffering trauma of losing her mother, torn between wondering if she’s actually mentally ill, or if the worrying omens she’s seeing are actually there, she tries to start (or rather – finish) solving the mystery of her Mother’s death when she was but a child. Althea begins to unravel the dark secrets of her family and finds her own part in this story.

Southern mansions, old money with dark, dangerous secrets? Ooh! Yeah? Yeah, I thought so too.

But, in reality…

Well, alright. Southern dark secrets? Yes, they’re there. In the book’s defense, the ending was really good, the story well thought out, but… It’s in how it reached that ending. And that fell flat.

First of all, the characters. Gosh… I know that Althea was supposed to be a walking problem, just out of rehab, unable to cope with her own urges or really even really believe in herself. But… That doesn’t sanction her being a total ditz, succumbing to a childhood sweetheart like a total puddle of patheticness. It didn’t even seem realistic. Get a grip, woman.

Let’s also discuss this particular childhood sweetheart. Nowhere in any blurb I have seen was he ever mentioned. Had I known of any swoon-worthy sweet beefcakes, I would have never hit the request button. Knowing my tastes, I would have plainly ran off and off into the sunset from a book like that. Policeman (or fireman?) that saves the day? Please. Please please please. Ditzy chick needs to be saved, I guess?

So, all of that unsanctioned romance was not to my liking, nor were any, and I mean, any whatsoever of the characters, but I must agree that the story it told did have meaning and was strong. Some of the parts really did work as a thriller, although of course I didn’t agree to parts of the execution. The ending might jolt you, it’s… Really got some important things to say, and to make you think about. Unnecessary women… “Inconvenient women”. The rule and tyranny of those in power. All very important topics to talk about, and I’m glad this book did, even if it didn’t do it in the best way possible.

Summing it up, the best I can come up with is 2.5 stars. I wouldn’t read the book again, and this book won’t work in the favor of thrillers in my eyes, which I already don’t really jump up and down to read. But if you go for thrillers and don’t mind the occasional romance, it’s okay. I would have liked the “paranormal-or-not” question to have been resolved, but it wasn’t, at least not to my satisfaction. I would also have to warn you about the possible triggers, which are animal abuse, violence, rape, sexual abuse, substance abuse, pretty much any kind of abuse – you name it. It’s not an easy book to read (that’s particularly why the ditzy chick and the savior cowboy didn’t seem to work for me at all.)

If you still want to read this book, consider buying it from Book Depository, as you are supporting this blog by doing that.

Do you love Southern mysteries of thrillers? And do you read books with as many triggers as those? Have you read something with a similar subject matter? I would love to hear your thoughts.

15 thoughts on “Dark Southern Thriller About Family Secrets – Or Is It Really? Burying The Honeysuckle Girls by Emily Carpenter

  1. HAHAHA: “Had I known of any swoon-worthy sweet beefcakes, I would have never hit the request button.” XD XD XD Girl. I adore you. That line has me in stitches. In my office. At work. Freaking out everyone. You. Are. The. Best.

    But seriously– I think books like this are why I really struggle with NetGalley; why I go hot and cold with it. Once I read a book which I feel firmly Meh about I tend to avoid all new releases for FAR too long. Poorly crafted characters are my biggest turn off in reading. I can get past unrealistic settings, plots, magic systems, whatever– but unrealistic or poorly crafted characters? No. Not at all.

    And it seems like there are a BILLION other things wrong with this. Trigger warnings are important. Did you expect any of that going into this book? I mean, I totally get an important message. But there must be better ways to share it?
    Jackie B. recently posted…The Underground RailroadMy Profile

    1. XD I’m glad I made you laugh! (And also probably made your coworkers think you’re smuggling some illegal feel-good chemicals into your office xD)

      Truth be told though, I DID enjoy reading this book, although it got predictable and boring in places… but it wasn’t terrible. So I sometimes feel like maybe I was being too rough about it? 😀 still. Beefcakes.

      Yeah, I did expect most of those trigger warnings – but probably not for the reason you normally would. It’s because I have silly preconceptions about thrillers, mostly because I’ve probably only read ones like this one xD however, that animal violence scene… that was very bad and it did quite a bit of harm to my sanity at the time (I’m very sensitive, especially when it comes to animals.) Shook me like crazy. I don’t see why people should wrote about things like this at all, but maybe that’s just me…

      1. You are welcome to write how you think and feel, don’t feel bad about that just because this book didn’t quite work for you. and I *totally* get you about animal abuse. I just… I just don’t even understand why that should be written down. Ever. I know it’s real, and we shouldn’t ignore what is right in front of us, but I am not reading books to learn more about animal abuse! Ugh.
        Jackie B. recently posted…The Best We Could DoMy Profile

        1. Yeah.. I mean, if we’re reading it and shuddering, it’s clearly not reaching the people it should be reaching. I didn’t understand it either :/

    1. Oh my god, Laura, that’s the best compliment ever 😀 you and Jackie have both said that now! Thank you so much, so glad you liked it. It’s also why I like writing bad reviews 😀 they’re just… fun 😀

  2. Eh, you know I had been thinking about picking this book up but now after reading about the unexpected cowboy romance I feel a little less inclined to do so. I’m surprised that there is a romance given that it isn’t advertised anywhere and isn’t in the book’s synopsis. That’s just odd that they would leave that out. I can appreciate the occasional romance novel but I have to be in the right kind of mood to read them. Also I don’t mind books with triggers (usually) there is only one that I read recently that was too violent for me and I was honestly surprised. Usually I love the darker themes that are often present in southern mystery novels and I’ve been loving the thriller genre recently. Perhaps this book was simply mismarketed? I’ve been seeing that more recently with some other thriller books that I’ve read that were more drama than mystery. Oh well, a swing and a miss. Thank you for the great review Avalinah! The gifs you used are also perfect, the one with the kid cracked me up!
    Jamie recently posted…Shimmer and BurnMy Profile

    1. Thank you Jamie! <3 yeah, I was SO surprised about the love interest. It almost felt like the book didn't have him first, and then he was put in there last minute. You know what I mean?
      But other than that, it's not a bad book. Minus the animal violence. That should be in no book whatsoever, but that's just my opinion.
      This book could have been very good, the premise is great. But I feel like it needs work. It's definitely no romance, it's a thriller like it's said to be, but it's got gaping holes and they're stuffed up with things like the cowboy. At least that's how it feels to me.
      Thank you for reading and visiting!

  3. So Althea sucked huh? Lol or all of the characters actually. 🙂 Seriously though, sorry this was a dud. Sounds like good topics to address but execution and characters not so much. That’s a bummer, looking at it blurb- wise you would think it might be good. I’m not usually a fan of paranormal-or-not being unresolved- I like to know either way.
    Greg recently posted…Bookcover Spotlight #114My Profile

  4. So I had all this well though super witty comment to tell you and then I stomped into Brad in Legends of the Fall and now I can’t remember LOL! I hate “total puddle of patheticness”s that need to be saved by “woon-worthy sweet beefcakes” and yes I CAN picture you running towards the sunset, had you known! I try to suck any unsanctioned romance too! 🙂
    just so you know though, Brad is a totally acceptable beefcake, though ! 🙂
    VERY FUNNY REVIEW 🙂
    Dragonfly @ Our Familiarium recently posted…Productive Procrastination – The Rocket Science of #BookstagramMy Profile

    1. Oh my gosh 😀 well, it happens to the best of us! Especially me xD (sieve brain… yeah?) But it’s the thought that counts! And hey, we haven’t been talking enough lately 😀 must be vacation syndrome!
      As for Brad. Am I the only one who doesn’t get it..? Like xD I don’t think he is handsome! AT ALL! I wouldn’t look at him twice! 😀 (I’m serious :D)

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