Title: In the Middle of Hickory Lane
By: Heather Webber
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
Emme Wynn has wanted nothing more her whole life than to feel like part of a family. Having grown up on the run with her con artist mother, she’s been shuffled from town to town, drawn into bad situations, and has learned some unsavory habits that she’s tried hard to overcome. When her estranged grandmother tracks her down out of the blue and extends a job offer—helping to run her booth at an open-air marketplace in small-town Sweetgrass, Alabama—Emme is hopeful that she’ll finally be able to plant the roots she’s always dreamed of. But some habits are hard to break, and she risks her newfound happiness by keeping one big truth to herself.
Cora Bee Hazelton has her hands full with volunteering, gardening, her job as a color consultant and designer, and just about anything she can do to keep her mind off her painful past, a past that has resulted in her holding most everyone at arm’s length. The last thing she wants is to form close relationships only to have her heart broken yet again. But when she’s injured, she has no choice other than to let people into her life and soon realizes it’s going to be impossible to keep her heart safe—or her secrets hidden.
In the magical neighborhood garden in the middle of Hickory Lane, Emme and Cora Bee learn some hard truths about the past and themselves, the value of friends, family, and community, and most importantly, that true growth starts from within. (Goodreads)
Well all that I can say is WOW! As an introduction to the writing of Heather Webber, In the Middle of Hickory Lane was a great first book to read. I was totally spellbound by the story as well as the characters. Each of the main character’s development and growth throughout the story was captivating. One of the interesting things about this story is that at the beginning of each chapter we get a short glimpse of the past, which certainly plays into the current events throughout the story. While I am not a huge fan – it was well done and I was not distracted by this feature.
The story begins with Emme Watson coming to Sweetgrass, Alabama to start her life over again (for the umpteenth time I might add – no thanks to her grifter mom) with the other members of her family, whom she has not had a chance to get to really know. Glory Wynn (Emme’s grandmother) sought Emme out and asked that Emme come to Sweetgrass to help her run her booth at an open-air marketplace. Emme meets her relatives and starts to develop real feelings and connections. There are certainly bumps along the way as everyone must come to terms with the past, present and the future. One will also witness the familial healing that will take place amongst the Wynn clan as everyone learns many truths! The reader will experience the journey first hand (and the deep, dark secrets hidden in Hickory Lane).
I found the author created characters which were relatable, having them live in a town similar to any readers’ neighbourhood with challenges and secrets. And lets not forget the magic that was thrown in. What is it with the bees? Well – you will have to read the book to find out (I know – I am teasing you…☺).
One of my favourite parts was when Emme first met Glory (we learn so much them both):
“I wasn’t sure when my ability to identify a person’s personality at first glance had started, but it wasn’t until I was older that I became aware the talent was something special. Special because it was never wrong.”
I enjoyed the unraveling of the family history and seeing how each family member worked, first from within, and then for the betterment of the whole family (including the extended family – i.e. – neighbors). The personal growth of Emme and Cora Bee was a journey well worth taking, even though it was fraught with some anxious moments.
And for the romantic at heart – there is more than one love story that is told. Each journey was fraught with the usual misunderstanding, etc. but I must say – the journey was worth taking for each couple. It certainly kept me rooting for the misunderstandings to be solved in a positive manner so that there might be one, two or more (?) HEA’s…?
I also liked that the artwork on the cover was eye catching and pretty ☺
Would I pick up another book by Heather Webber – yes. Would I recommend this book – without a doubt! If you want to read an engaging book with interesting characters and an intriguing family story – this is your book.