By Melissa Amster
**Giveaway is now closed**
There are times when I like to have a book take me to the south, as I don't spend much time there to begin with. I find it fascinating to get caught up in the imagery of the stories that are spun by authors who know the south like the back of their hands. And Beth Hoffman definitely fits into this category. With "Saving CeeCee Honeycutt," she takes her readers on a trip to 1960's Savannah, Georgia and introduces us to a bunch of eccentric and fascinating women.
Twelve year-old Cecelia Rose Honeycutt has the unfortunate task of looking after her mother, who still thinks she's the 1951 Vidalia Onion Queen. With her outrageous temper and outlandish dress habits, her mom manages to ruin her own reputation in their Ohio suburb and take Cecelia down with her. Then a tragedy strikes and Cecelia is whisked off to Savannah to live with her great aunt. There she meets a bunch of different women who offer her advice on how to live her life and she also learns about the power of female friendships.
With "Saving CeeCee Honeycutt," Ms. Hoffman drew me into the story right away with her captivating prose, strong visualizations and interesting characters. Cecelia is a very sympathetic narrator who is both strong and vulnerable at the same time. Each character who came into her life had their own style and was memorable, as a result. The dialogue was honest and refreshing, as well as easy to follow along. There were morals and sage words of advice dished up in a way that wasn't preachy and left me longing for more southern women wisdom. There were also a lot of funny parts that made me laugh out loud. I could definitely see this story being made into a movie someday.
Overall, "Saving CeeCee Honeycutt" reminded me of some Fannie Flagg novels I have read. This is a good thing, as I am a fan of Ms. Flagg's work, as well. However, it was also original and will stick out for me for years to come. It had a lighthearted flair, but was also meaningful. It made me think about and treasure all the female relationships in my life from the ones with my grandmothers to the ones with my newfound friends. I recommend this for anyone who wants a "feel good" story any time of the year.
Thanks to Shannon Twomey from Viking, Penguin Books for the review copy and for offering five copies to some lucky readers in the US and Canada.
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US/Canada only. Giveaway ends Sunday, December 5th at midnight EST.