Compelling and Powerful: Read an Extract from Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan

Compelling and Powerful: Read an Extract from Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan

From the moment I knew I was having a baby, I wanted it to be a girl. I wandered the aisles of department stores, touching doll-size dresses and tiny sequined shoes. I pictured us with matching nail polish—me, who’d never had a manicure in my life.

I imagined the day her fairy hair was long enough to capture in pigtails, her nose pressed to the glass of a school bus window; I saw her first crush, prom dress, heartbreak. Each vision was a bead on a rosary of future memories; I prayed daily. As it turned out, I was not a zealot . . . only a martyr. When I gave birth, and the doctor announced the baby’s sex, I did not believe it at first. I had done such a stellar job of convincing myself of what I wanted that I completely forgot what I needed. But when I held Asher, slippery as a minnow, I was relieved. Better to have a boy, who would never be someone’s victim.

Most people in Adams, New Hampshire, know me by name, and those who don’t, know to steer clear of my home. It’s often that way for beekeepers—like firefighters, we willingly put ourselves in situations that are the stuff of others’ nightmares. Honeybees are far less vindictive than their yellow jacket cousins, but people can’t often tell the difference, so anything that stings and buzzes comes to be seen as a potential hazard.

A few hundred yards past the antique Cape, my colonies form a semicircular rainbow of hives, and most of the spring and summer the bees zip between them and the acres of blossoms they pollinate, humming a warning. I grew up on a small farm that had been in my father’s family for generations: an apple orchard that, in the fall, sold cider and donuts made by my mother and, in the summer, had pick-your-own strawberry fields. We were land-rich and cash-poor. My father was an apiarist by hobby, as was his father before him, and so on, all the way back to the first McAfee who was an original settler of Adams.

It is just far enough away from the White Mountain National Forest to have affordable real estate. The town has one traffic light, one bar, one diner, a post office, a town green that used to be a communal sheep grazing area, and Slade Brook—a creek whose name was misprinted in a 1789 geological survey map, but which stuck.

Slate Brook, as it should have been written, was named for the eponymous rock mined from its banks, which was shipped far and wide to
become tombstones.

Slade was the surname of the local undertaker and village drunk, who had a tendency to wander off when he was on a bender, and who ironically killed himself by drowning in six inches of water in the creek. When I first brought Braden to meet my parents, I told him that story. He had been driving at the time; his grin flashed like lightning.

But who, he’d asked, buried the undertaker?

Continue reading the extract here…

Buy a copy of Mad Honey here.

Reviews

Poignant and Powerful: Read Our Review of Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan

Review | Our Review

19 October 2022

Poignant and Powerful: Read Our Review of Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan

    Publisher details

    Mad Honey
    Authors
    Jennifer Finney Boylan, Jodi Picoult
    Publisher
    Allen & Unwin
    Genre
    Fiction
    Released
    05 October, 2022
    ISBN
    9781760528775

    Synopsis

    A riveting novel about what we choose to keep from our past, and what we choose to leave behind, from the New York Times bestselling author of Wish You Were Here and the bestselling author of She's Not There.

    Olivia McAfee and Ava Campanello have each had a change of life forced upon them. Olivia never dreamed that after her messy divorce she would find herself back in her sleepy New Hampshire home town, living in the house she grew up in and taking over her father's beekeeping business. Ava is also in search of a fresh start, moving to Adams with her daughter Lily, who is in her final year of high school.

    For a short while these new beginnings are just what everyone hoped for. Olivia's son Asher falls for the new girl at school, and Lily can't help loving him in return. With Ash she feels happy for the first time, yet she wonders if she can trust him completely.

    Then one day Olivia receives a phone call. Lily is dead and Ash is being questioned by the police. Olivia is adamant that her son is innocent, but she also recognises the flashes of his father's dangerous temper in him. As the case unfolds she realises Ash has hidden more than he's shared with her.

    Fan favourite Jordan McAfee, previously in The PactNineteen Minutes and Salem Falls, returns as Ash's lawyer and Olivia's brother.

    Mad Honey is a gripping novel of suspense, a poignant love story, and a moving and powerful exploration of the secrets we keep and the risks we take.

    Jennifer Finney Boylan
    About the author

    Jennifer Finney Boylan

    Jennifer Finney Boylan is Professor of English at Colby College and the author of the bestseller She's Not There, as well as the acclaimed novels The Planets and Getting In. A three-time guest of The Oprah Winfrey Show, she has also appeared on Larry King Live, Today, and 48 Hours, and has played herself on ABC's All My Children. She lives in Belgrade Lakes, Maine.

    Books by Jennifer Finney Boylan

    Jodi Picoult
    About the author

    Jodi Picoult

    Jodi Picoult is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of twenty-six novels, including A Spark of LightSmall Great ThingsLeaving TimeThe StorytellerLone WolfHouse RulesNineteen MinutesThe Pact and My Sister's Keeper. She is also the author, with daughter Samantha van Leer, of two young adult novels, Between the Lines and Off the Page. Jodi lives in New Hampshire.

    Books by Jodi Picoult

    COMMENTS

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *