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Monday, May 3, 2010

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

Genre: General Fiction

Copyright: 2010

Length: 10 hrs, 4 mins

Rating: 4.5 Crowns

Synopsis: Twelve-year-old CeeCee Honeycutt is in trouble. For years, she has been the caretaker of her psychotic mother, Camille-the tiara-toting, lipstick-smeared laughingstock of an entire town-a woman trapped in her long-ago moment of glory as the 1951 Vidalia Onion Queen. But when Camille is hit by a truck and killed, CeeCee is left to fend for herself. To the rescue comes her previously unknown great-aunt, Tootie Caldwell.

In her vintage Packard convertible, Tootie whisks CeeCee away to Savannah's perfumed world of prosperity and Southern eccentricity, a world that seems to be run entirely by women. From the exotic Miz Thelma Rae Goodpepper, who bathes in her backyard bathtub and uses garden slugs as her secret weapons, to Tootie's all-knowing housekeeper, Oletta Jones, to Violene Hobbs, who entertains a local police officer in her canary-yellow peignoir, the women of Gaston Street keep CeeCee entertained and enthralled for an entire summer.

I found this book just delightful, like being wrapped in a warm blanket or relaxing in a garden swing on a warm spring day with the fragrance of jasmine or honeysuckle in the air. Beautifully narrated, the vivid imagery is a balm to the senses, it's a warm, tender, funny story that tugged at my heartstrings.

"A cool breeze lifted the hem of my nightgown. The birds began to chirp and sing and the first sparks of sunlight brought the dew drops to life.... When my fingers touched the back door, something inside me shifted - I could actually feel it. I knew Mrs. Odell was right. I felt the flutter of a page turn deep within me as a chapter in my Life Book came to a close."

As CeeCee comes to terms with her traumatic past and the death of her mother, the reader accompanies her as she heals and discovers her sense of self, enveloped by the love of some colourful southern women. The charm of this book is not just in the cast of quirky characters, but the ambience created by the southern setting, the beautiful descriptions of gardens, homes, mouth-watering food, the strong female friendships, pearls of wisdom and giggle worthy moments. I fell in love with many of the characters, Aunt Tootie, Oletta, Mrs Odell and Oletta's hilarious Aunt Sapphire. The "black boomerang of karma" and slug saga cracked me up as did many of the antics of the eccentric Ms Goodpepper and horrid Ms Hobb.

Despite the sad beginning this isn't a sad story, it's an uplifting story infused with humour, a story of love and friendship and new beginnings. It evoked such a myriad of feelings in me, I cried and laughed and cringed and cheered. What more can I say, I was completely captivated by this wonderful debut novel, I highly recommend it in audio format and I look forward to more from Beth Hoffman.

Visit Beth Hoffman's website to find out more about the author and her work. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is available from audible.com or  Amazon or The Book Depository (free international postage)

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Blodeuedd said...

It does sound truly lovely :) I can't wait to read it

Anonymous said...

This one sounds like the perfect summer read. I really like to listen to books. I hope the library has this one.

Alaine - Queen of Happy Endings said...

I completely agree, I loved this book! Great review!

Teddyree said...

Blodeuedd ~ hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Teddyree said...

librarypat ~ you can't go wrong with this one on audio, very easy listening and such a delightful story. Along the lines of The Help but a little lighter.

Teddyree said...

Alaine ~ thanks, can't wait to see what everyone thinks of it from your Around the World tour.