3. 5 stars
Lily Owens grows up isolated, neglected by her father and lonely on a peach farm in Georgia in the 1960s. Her only friend is the woman who acts as her nanny, Rosaleen, a former field hand who’s taken care of her since Lily’s mother died in a tragic accident when Lily was little more than a toddler. When Rosaleen is forced to flee town after accidentally insulting some white men while on her way to registering to vote, Lily insists on coming with her. They decide to go to Tiburon in South Carolina, as one of the few things Lily has left after her mother is a small icon of a Black Madonna with the place name scrawled on the back.
As they make their way to Tiburon, Lily and Rosaleen discover that the Black Madonna is the logo of the honey produced by the three Boatwright siblings, who take the two in without asking too many probing questions. It is obvious that there is some kind of connection between the Boatwright sisters and Deborah Owens, Lily’s mum, but it takes quite some time for Lily to gather up the courage to ask, afraid she’ll be disappointed once more.
I was given this book as a birthday gift in 2005, and it’s been languishing on my bookshelf ever since. Several friends have borrowed it, even, I just never got round to reading it. So when “life” was one of the key words for February in the Monthly Key Word Challenge this year, and with the book fitting into a whole slew of my other challenges, it felt like it was finally time to pick it up. It was a perfectly inoffensive little book, I just don’t entirely think it was what I was in the mood for, and as such, I’m unable to rate it any more highly than I have.