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Season of Salt & Honey by Hannah Tunnicliffe
Publication Date: April 1, 2015 (Australian market); September 1, 2015 (US market)
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
TBT Review Date: June 12, 2015
Francesca 'Frankie' Caputo has it all figured out. She's finally going to marry the man she loves and then they will live happily ever after. But when a freak accident cuts her fiancé Alex's life tragically short, all of Frankie's future plans suddenly disintegrate.
Drowning in grief, Frankie flees from her overbearing Italian-American family, and escapes to an abandoned cabin owned by Alex's parents in a remote part of Washington forest.
As her heart slowly begins to heal, Frankie discovers a freedom that's both exhilarating and unsettling to everything she has always known for sure. So when her old life comes crashing back in, Frankie must decide: will she slip quietly back into her safe, former existence? Or will a stronger, wiser Frankie Caputo stand up and claim her new life?
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions shared are 100% my own.
Frankie has just lost her husband - or rather, the man who was supposed to have already been her husband if it hadn’t been for him waiting so VERY long to propose. Frankie & Alex started dating in high school and over a decade later, they were just in the throws of planning a wedding when Alex dies in a surfing accident. Frankie runs away from the funeral to Alex’s family’s old cabin in the woods. She hopes to escape the pain of her losses -.her mother and now her fiance - but instead finds a colorful cast of characters who help her find a path through her pain. Along the way, she reconnects with her sister and forms a deeper bond with her would-be brother-in-law.
The best characters in the book are the secondary characters. Frankie herself is not terribly likeable. She hung on to Alex for years past when most people would have demanded a significant other to “fish or cut bait”. While at the cabin, Frankie learns that Alex had secrets from her that shake her even more. But, honestly, with many of the descriptions of Alex, it didn’t surprise me at all and made me wonder, yet again, why on Earth Frankie stayed with him. She really lacks self-confidence in the area of Alex and her job and many other aspects, but then conversely, she acts very “better than thou” to her sister. Her sister was a a bit of a troublemaker but Frankie was portrayed as pretty uncaring and unsupportive of her. Frankie has spent all her life trying to be “the good one” and blames her sister for this but ultimately, I think this is on Frankie’s shoulders. Alex, even dead, also turns out to not be a terribly likeable character.
The author makes up for much of this by creating a cast of secondary characters who are all deeply caring and likeable. Her sister Bella is a much stronger and caring person than Frankie gives her credit for in her own mind and memory. Alex’s brother, Daniel, turns out to be more caring and kind than Alex ever was. And the cabin neighbors, Jack, Huia, and Merriem, help Frankie in a myriad of ways. The secondary characters really redeemed the book for me. Frankie wasn’t a sympathetic person to me and I have a difficult time continuing a book when I don’t like the main characters. She is redeemed in the end though, thanks to the lovely friends she makes in the woods. And that redemptive nature of the book, the fact that Frankie does learn and grow, won back the book for me. I did enjoy the book and, as a big fan of camping, I had no arguments with the serene setting that the author did a magnificent job of painting in the mind’s eye.
Note: The cover here is from the Australian publication which is the one I received from Netgalley. The US cover is different. This book is due to be released to the US market on September 1, 2015.