Honeysuckle Season for Cook the Books April/May Edition

I have read more books during the pandemic than I did the year prior our pre-COVID experience.   In January, I set my Good Reads 2021 goal at seventy books.   At the time this posts, I am over 50% done with that goal.

I’ve enjoyed my time rediscovering the pleasures of reading just for fun and this new attitude has allowed me to read books that I probably wouldn’t have picked up before.  For instance, I often shy away from anything “romance-y” and I always state I do not like romance novels.  That being said, I did choose Honeysuckle Season by Mary Ellen Taylor for the current Cook the Books pick.  

About the book:

From bestselling author Mary Ellen Taylor comes a story about profound loss, hard truths, and an overgrown greenhouse full of old secrets.

Adrift in the wake of her father’s death, a failed marriage, and multiple miscarriages, Libby McKenzie feels truly alone. Though her new life as a wedding photographer provides a semblance of purpose, it’s also a distraction from her profound pain.

When asked to photograph a wedding at the historic Woodmont estate, Libby meets the owner, Elaine Grant. Hoping to open Woodmont to the public, Elaine has employed young widower Colton Reese to help restore the grounds and asks Libby to photograph the process. Libby is immediately drawn to the old greenhouse shrouded in honeysuckle vines.

As Libby forms relationships and explores the overgrown—yet hauntingly beautiful—Woodmont estate, she finds the emotional courage to sort through her father’s office. There she discovers a letter that changes everything she knows about her parents, herself, and the estate. Beneath the vines of the old greenhouse lie generations of secrets, and it’s up to Libby to tend to the fruits born of long-buried seeds.

About the author:

A southerner by birth, Mary Ellen Taylor’s love of her home state, Virginia, is evident in her contemporary women’s fiction, including Winter Cottage, Spring House and her latest Honeysuckle Season and The Words We Whisper. She’s also celebrated the city of Alexandria and its storied history in her books The Union Street BakerySweet Expectations,  At the Corner of King Street and The View from Prince Street.

As do so many people, her protagonists search for their place in the world, exploring issues of family, home, love and belonging. Inevitably, Mary Ellen’s stories entwine with those of the places in which they’re set, and the mysteries at their core span past and present.

Mary Ellen is also known nationally as New York Times and USA Today bestselling suspense novelist Mary Burton. Together, they have published forty-five novels and five novellas. Mary Burton’s latest, Near You, debuts April 2021.

When not traveling or holed up writing, Mary Ellen spends time with her husband enjoying their empty nest and spoiling their miniature dachshunds, Buddy, Bella and Tiki.

So, maybe I confuse the genre of “romance” with “contemporary women’s fiction.”  Regardless, I enjoyed reading Honeysuckle Season and I hope you will as well.  As always, Cook the Books is open to anyone.  Just pick up the latest selection, read and get inspired.  Whip up a dish sparked by your reading and post during April or May.  For more information and guidelines, click here.

Note that there are recipes listed at the end of the novel for Buttermilk Pie, Chess Pie, Honeysuckle Syrup, and Lemon Cake.   There’s a huge amount of food mentioned in the book, too, everything from scrambled eggs to home baked goodness.

Deadline for contributing is May 31, 2021.  Just jump on over to Cook the Books and leave a comment with your link OR email me at eliotseats@gmail.com prior to the deadline.  (The announcement post should be up this weekend at CTB.)


I’m not sure what I’m making but it might have to do with a good Southern Bourbon and maybe some honeysuckle.   🙂

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