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.
First of all, I love Heather Webber’s books. MIDNIGHT AT THE BLACKBIRD CAFE is part of the reason I started a book blog. That said, I honestly believe that this is her best book yet.
Emme and Glory Bee are the point of view protagonists and both are so fully lovable, unpredictable, relatable, and realistic that I feel like I’ve met two dear friends. The author’s focus on their found family is the center of this beautiful novel, and I’m a sucker for a found family story.
Furthermore, the author’s use of flower symbolism to reveal the mystery at the center of Hickory Lane—the novel begins with a sink hole opening up to reveal a skeleton—is so well written that it had me spinning. Honestly, this should be a major book club pick this season.