Mary McDonough welcomes readers back to the small town of Oliver’s Well, Virginia, in a story of holiday and homecoming, as three siblings gather for a Christmas that brings unexpected gifts.
Even in a town as picturesque and rich in history as Oliver’s Well there’s something special about the Reynolds house on Honeysuckle Lane. Sturdy yet graceful, well-proportioned outside and within, it’s where Andie, Emma, and Daniel Reynolds grew up—before they began to grow apart.
For Danny, this first reunion since their mother’s death is a chance for him and his sisters to relive cherished holiday traditions—attending the church concert, lighting the town tree—before finally settling their parents’ estate. But readying the house for sale proves no easy task when every piece of furniture and every moment together stirs up the past.
Andie, the oldest sibling, didn’t just leave home years ago, she left her young daughter too. Though she’s found fulfillment and fame as a self-help author, coming back shakes her equilibrium. How can she presume to guide others if she can’t be honest with those closest to her, much less herself? Middle child Emma struck out on her own instead of accepting her father’s offer to share his business. Yet now she finds herself drawn back to her town’s quiet rhythms and routines, wondering if it’s possible to start over.
The house on Honeysuckle Lane contains a lifetime’s worth of joys and dreams, and its share of regrets too. This Christmas, it will be the place where Andie, Emma, and Danny come together to remember, laugh, fight, plan—and find their way forward as a family once more.
I loved reading about the Reynolds family… I loved it so much, I wanted to leap into the pages and smack some sense into one of the siblings when Andie, Emma, or Daniel were thinking or behaving foolishly. That’s how believable and relatable these characters are. They feel like people you’ve known for years… the kind of connection readers hope to feel with characters as they read.
The siblings are in the midst of an emotional time—grieving for what was, and what might have been—when they come together at Christmastime to settle the final details of their parent’s estate after the loss of their mother. Six months have passed since their mother’s passing, and this is the first time they’ve all been together since her funeral, and a difficult task is made even harder by strained relationships within the family.
We’ve all experienced loss in our lives. Grief can (and often does) change the dynamics of a family following the loss of a loved one. Relationships that were once good become fraught with tension, and some families are torn apart in the aftermath of the loss. This book, while fiction, shows how grief can cause family to behave as strangers with one another, and how important it is to work through it and learn how to move forward together.
I thought this story was written beautifully. The House on Honeysuckle Lane handles a delicate subject in a way that is realistic, while honestly portraying the wide range of conflicting emotions felt by those who are left behind. I highly recommend adding this one to your reading list!
Author: Mary McDonough
Title: The House on Honeysuckle Lane (ARC)
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Expected Publication: 9/27/2016 by Kensington Books