Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The Honey Queen

The Honey Queen by Cathy Kelly

Expected Publication: 1st March 2013 by Harper Collins

My shelves: adult-fiction, arc-or-review, books-i-own, chick-lit, mum-has, read, read-in-2013, realistic-fiction
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:

To discover the sweetest things in life, you sometimes have to lose your way…

It’s easy to fall in love with the beautiful town of Redstone – the locals wave and chat to each other, the shops and cafes are full of cheerful hustle and bustle. And amidst all this activity, two women believe they are getting on just fine.

Francesca’s boundless energy help her to take everything in her stride, including a husband who has lost his job and the unwelcome arrival of the menopause, which has kicked in – full throttle.

Peggy, on the other hand, has always been a restless spirit. But now, focused and approaching thirty, she has opened her own knitting shop on the town’s high street. It’s a dream come true, but she still feels adrift.

When Australian-raised Lillie finally makes it back home to Ireland, she is drawn right into the heart of Redstone’s busy, close-knit community. But what she thought would be an ending is actually just a beginning – all is not quite as it seems in the picturesque town.

Soon, Lillie’s hard-earned wisdom will be called into play as she helps new friends navigate unchartered territory…

Whilst this was only the second book written by Cathy Kelly that I've picked up, I was very excited to see what it was like. Cathy Kelly has already got a firm place in my mind as an author that I can turn to when I want something that I can really get absorbed into. This is a book that I felt I could unwind with and read all day.

Though this is a book that I could easily relax with, that doesn't mean that it's lacking in substance. Kelly seems to have an ability to hook you in and feel comfortable with her stories, even if she is tackling some very difficult or taboo subjects at the same time. I love books that explore everyday problems and it is great to see them being explored in such a good, well thought out manner. There are a lot of things going on in this book - from one character mourning the death of her husband to the stabilisation of a rocky marriage and even to the issue of past abuse. Most of the characters mentioned are interlinked in some way - relationships understandably play a large part in this book and it's interesting to see how they interact and come together. 

Although I admire the author for being able to create so many well developed and complex characters with their own subplots, this was also, partially, a flaw in the book. Kelly introduced so many characters into this book that the first chapters felt quite confusing and even a little overwhelming - I think that most people will struggle to remember so many names and stories at first. Thankfully, as the book progressed I did find myself being more quickly able to identify each character.  It is certainly worth persisting with this book, even if you do become a little confused at first. Though there are a vast array of characters, Kelly manages to give them all very distinct and multi-layered personalities, which is such an impressive achievement.

I can't say that there was a particular character or story that I connected with most, which is actually quite a great compliment - I connected with each and every character and subplot. Though some of the characters were initially a little more difficult to relate to, I did grow to like them all, each in their own way with their own quirks - including the lesser mentioned supporting characters.

Although I've only read one other Cathy Kelly book (so far!), I would certainly imagine that if you're a fan of hers, you will enjoy this one - it does draw a lot of parallels from others, dealing with similar issues. It is so clear that Kelly is a talented writer and that she has a lot of experience alongside it. I'd certainly recommend this book to any adult who enjoys reading realistic fiction and/or books that deal with real-life problems. 


  1. Sounds like the author is worth it :) I think I'm going to try to check her out :D


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