A very good debut novel that will give you all the feels
You won’t be surprised that what caught my attention about this book is its title… The romance genre is full of commonplace titles possibly to make clear the type of story to expect. It’s ok, I get that not all the books can be called The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo or The Lady’s Guide To Celestial Mechanics but it’s always exciting when something different comes up. Even better if the quality of the writing matches the title’s originality.
When Prosecutor Stella Carter’s husband is killed in the line of duty as the LAPD chief, Stella goes down a spiral of grief and depression. When her niece moves in with her to keep her company, Stella reconnects with LAPD Captain Elizabeth Murphy. Stella and Elizabeth were work colleagues who used to be at odds in their jobs but slowly they start building a friendship. Stella eventually discovers that she has romantic feelings for Elizabeth but there’s no way that her feelings are reciprocated, isn’t it?
Honey in the Marrow is the debut book by Emily Waters. It was born as a fanfic of the TV series The Closer and Major Crimes (thanks, Jude in the Stars for the info) but there are no similarities beyond the characters’ professions and ages. Kudos to Ylva Publishing for bringing fan fiction to the Sapphic book world for all of us to enjoy.
Even though Honey in the Marrow is a romance, bereavement and grief sometimes take the centre of the stage. It’s about the love of family and friends as much as the romantic kind, it’s the journey of two people getting to know each other, but also the inner journey of personal discovery and struggle. It’s about heartbreak but also about hope, and as much about darkness as the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s not an easy read but there is a good balance of angst, romance and tender moments that the reader will appreciate.
The book is written in present tense which took me time to get used to. I’m not sure if it was the right choice but it didn’t stop me from enjoying the story. It’s also written in third person exclusively from the point of view of Stella. I think that was a smart decision as the reader is in Stella’s headspace but not close enough to feel overwhelmed by her grief. As the reader isn’t privy to Elizabeth’s thoughts, she is an enigma to be revealed through Stella, which makes it frustrating as Stella isn’t in the right headspace to interpret her own feelings or someone else’s. However, much of the book’s enjoyment comes from this frustrating place. That, and the tender moments between the main characters that the author describes so well.
Overall, a very good debut novel that will give you all the feels. 4.5 stars.