Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Audio Book Review: Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan

Genre: Audio/Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: October 4, 2022
Publisher: Random House Audio
Source: Personal Copy
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "Olivia McAfee knows what it feels like to start over. Her picture-perfect life - living in Boston, married to a brilliant cardiothoracic surgeon, raising a beautiful son, Asher - was upended when her husband revealed a darker side. She never imagined she would end up back in her sleepy New Hampshire hometown, living in the house she grew up in, and taking over her father's beekeeping business. Lily Campanello is familiar with do-overs, too. When she and her mom relocate to Adams, New Hampshire, for her final year of high school, they both hope it will be a fresh start. And for just a short while, these new beginnings are exactly what Olivia and Lily need. Their paths cross when Asher falls for the new girl in school, and Lily can’t help but fall for him, too. With Ash, she feels happy for the first time. Yet at times, she wonders if she can she trust him completely.... Then one day, Olivia receives a phone call: Lily is dead, and Asher is being questioned by the police. Olivia is adamant that her son is innocent. But she would be lying if she didn’t acknowledge the flashes of his father’s temper in him, and as the case against him unfolds, she realizes he’s hidden more than he’s shared with her. 'MAD HONEY' is a riveting novel of suspense, an unforgettable love story, and a moving and powerful exploration of the secrets we keep and the risks we take in order to become ourselves."


Olivia McAffee is a single mother with a difficult past. She was married to a very successful surgeon in Boston and has a beautiful son, Asher, but her husband was horribly abusive. She and Asher left Boston and her husband behind for a more quiet life in New Hampshire where she is a professional beekeeper. Fast forward many years and Asher is well adjusted, plays hockey, has a girlfriend, and things seem pretty normal. That is until they aren't. Asher's girlfriend, Lily, also had a difficult past. Like Olivia, Lily has left behind some difficult things for a fresh start in this sleepy small town. Recently, Lily and Asher had a fight like many high school couples, and afterwards Asher went over to check on her. Shockingly he finds her dead at the bottom of the basement stairs. Even though Asher is the one who found her body, he's arrested and then everyone is accusing him of murdering his innocent girlfriend. Enter a very contemptuous courtroom case that exposes so many secrets. There are secrets about Lily, secrets about Asher, and even secrets that Olivia was trying to escape when she left Boston. Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan is one of my favorite books of 2022---100%, without a doubt, it's compelling fiction!

Olivia is an interesting character in Mad Honey. I listened to the audio version of this book and was totally absorbed in it, especially since the fantastic Carrie Coon was the narrator of Olivia's chapters. Olivia is a bit of a fragile person escaping a difficult past and making a new life for herself in New Hampshire. She thinks she knows her teenage son, but after Lily's tragic death, new secrets start floating to the surface that make her not only question her son, but also how their difficult past may have impacted both of them.

The chapters in Mad Honey alternate between present day (Olivia) and then Lily's chapters give us insight into her life before he death. Lily is a character that tugged on my heartstrings. She, like Olivia, did not have it easy and I was rooting for Lily to find some happiness. Slowly through Lily's chapters we learn more about what her life was like before Asher, her interests, her experiences, and maybe some clues leading up to her death. As Picoult and Boylan insert a jaw dropping plot twist that I didn't see coming a mile away, I then started questioning Lily, her death, and her murder. Let's just say things weren't looking good for Asher.

Picoult and Boylan really do a great job with the courtroom trial in Mad Honey; in fact, some of the court scenes were my favorite part of the novel. The suspense, the line of questions, the plot twist, and the slow discovery of the truth were all outstanding. 

Mad Honey is such a fantastic novel that touches on such important and timely issues. I don't want to give anything away, but it was such a memorable read and one that truly opened my eyes to some of the issues many people face today. I learned a lot, which I didn't think was possible from a contemporary fictional novel, but I did, and the lessons will stay with me for sure.

So, are you a fan of Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan? Have you read Mad Honey? Is it on your TBR list? Let me know in the comments below.


  1. I haven't read Jodi Picoult in awhile, but courtroom drama scenes are really interesting to me - might have to check this out!

  2. It was really good! It was, shockingly, my first Picoult. I was impressed! Thanks for visiting, Angela!

  3. I just finished Mad Honey last night! One of the things I love about Jodi Picoult's books is that I learn about subjects I never really explored before. Among the obvious subject (I don't want to give anything away), I also learned a lot about bees and beekeeping. I knew they were amazing creatures but I learned so much more about them. After reading Jodi Picoult's books over the years, I have come to expect plot twists and sort of suspected what is revealed in chapter 11 (again, I don't want to give anything away). Love your review of this book!


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