The blurb: When Camille Sugarbaker Honeycutt, the pretty but crazy 1951 Vidalia Onion Queen, dies suddenly, her twelve-year-old daughter CeeCee has barely a hope left in the world. To her rescue arrives Great Aunt Tootie in the most magnificent car CeeCee has ever seen, and she is whisked away to the storybook city of Savannah. For some flowers, Aunt Tootie holds, are born to bloom only south of the Mason-Dixon line and soon, among the sweet scent of magnolias and the loving warmth of Tootie and her colourful collection of friends, it looks as though CeeCee has arrived in paradise.
But when a darker side to the Southern dream threatens this delicate, newfound happiness, Aunt Tootie and her friends must rally to CeeCee’s aid. Warm yet heartbreaking, and generously spiced with humor, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is the story of a girl who loses her mother but finds many others under a balmy Georgia sun.
My review: This was a very sweet book. I loved The Help and To Kill A Mockingbird so was looking forward to dipping my toes back into the deep south of an author’s imagination.
The characters are beautiful as is the prose, they come to life and are heart-warming in their acceptance of every new challenge, this being the famed Southern hospitality. Women are key in this narrative, there isn’t a single male character that stands out.
Slightly too saccharine in places for me, there were moments where I thought Hoffman was about to create real drama, a crisis or turning point in the characters lives but this was far too gentle a book for conflict or confrontation. The words for this book is gentle drama, even the circumstances that lead Cecelia into her new life, the problems in her family, are dealt with quickly and logically, with minimal distress that is quickly overcome by the friendship of others, this could almost be a children’s book. The ‘darker side to the Southern dream’ as is quoted on the blurb doesn’t really materialise.
I’d definitely recommend this book to someone going on holiday and wanting a peaceful story to float away on in the sunshine, it doesn’t demand it simply entertains.
6 out of 10 stars ******!