by Sherryl Woods

June 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7783-2846-9
Reviewer Graphic Button Mira Books
Mass Market Paperback

I heard a rumor regarding Honeysuckle Summer that I really didnít want to hear, and didnít likeÖHoneysuckle Summer was going to be the last book in the Sweet Magnolia series. It made me unsure whether or not I really wanted to read Honeysuckle Summer immediately or save it to savor later, but since it was a review book I really had no choice, and read it I did.

I am very glad that I didnít let the book languish in my TBR pile because if a favorite series must end it ended in a superb fashion, and one that left me quite satisfied. As I turned the last page I realized that there really was no more story left to tell, and that I could go to sleep content that all my beloved characters were moving on in life happily, and dream about what Ms. Woods might write about next.

Honeysuckle Summer focuses on Raylene, and her problems with agoraphobia. Itís not the first time we find out that Raylene is suffering from this problem, but it does come to a head in Honeysuckle Summer, and whether or not Raylene can conquer her fears is a large part of the story. Iím impressed by the fact that Ms. Woods doesnít shy away from tackling tough issues, and educating readers about warning signs, so that if they know someone like Raylene, or Annie they can perhaps help them to attain the help they need to get conquer their own fears and phobias and lead emotionally fulfilled lives.

A big part of Rayleneís decision to finally seek assistance in conquering her fears is her growing attraction to Carter Rollins who is introduced to readers as a somewhat staunch unbendable believer in law and order. While I agree that we want that sort of lawman on our side, itís nice to see that Carter can take criticism of the way he handles issues, and learn from them, and as happened between Raylene and himselfÖdevelop a friendship, and perhaps more.

Honeysuckle Summer isnít a light-hearted romantic romp, but neither is it oppressive and overly educationalÖin my mind The novel is a nearly perfect blend of romance and information. With the turning of the last page I was naturally saddened to be leaving Serenity for the last time, but realized that Ms. Woods was an intelligent writer who knew that it was time to put these characters aside and move on to some new ones.

Reviewed in June 2010 by Sandi.

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