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Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

Beth Hoffman‘s debut novel, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, has become a New York Times bestseller, and what a debut it is.  Her novel is a prime example of what’s great about southern fiction from the enveloping summer heat of Georgia to the fragrant aroma of orchids and other flowers.  CeeCee Honeycutt is a young girl living in Ohio mainly with her mother as her father travels weekly for his job, but she’s got more worries than just school and peer pressure — her mother is slowly losing her grip.

“‘Oysters are a lot like women.  It’s how we survive the hurts in life that brings us strength and gives us our beauty.’  She fell silent for a moment and gazed out the window.  ‘They say there’s no such thing as a perfect pearl — that nothing from nature can ever be truly perfect.'”  (page 255)

Eventually, CeeCee comes to live with her great aunt Tallulah “Tootie” Caldwell, who is a busy society woman interested in preserving the historical structures in Savannah.  In many ways the restoration of these homes resembles the rebuilding CeeCee must accomplish after her life is irrevocably altered.  At the young age of 12, CeeCee must contend with tragedy, being an outcast, the confusing emotions about her parents, and fitting in with a society that is foreign to her.

“Momma left her red satin shoes in the middle of the road.  That’s what three eyewitnesses told the police.”  (Page 1)

Hoffman creates dynamic characters in CeeCee, Mrs. Odell, Oletta, and Tootie, but she also has crafted a supporting cast of eccentric older women who are neighbors and have their own problems and tensions with one another.  Picture large hats, garden parties, and soirees, and you’ll be transported in CeeCee’s Georgia, away from her hometown in Ohio.

“The bedsheets were damp with humidity and sleep, and from the pillowcase I detected a familiar scent:  it was just like the lavender sachets Mrs. Odell made every year as Christmas gifts.  I rubbed my eyes and tried to sit up, but I was nestled deep in the feather bed, like a baby bird in a nest.”  (page 57)

“Though she’d long since passed the zenith of youth, unmistakable remnants of a mysterious beauty oozed from the pores of her porcelain-white skin.  Swirling around her ankles, as light as smoke and the color of midnight, was a silk caftan splashed with bits of silver glitter.”  (page 81)

Readers will be absorbed in CeeCee’s evolution from young, responsible woman caring for her mother to a mischievous child lashing out and back to a young lady becoming content in her own skin.  Hoffman does an excellent job of painting Georgia and its traditional society in a nostalgic hue that enables readers to grasp that CeeCee is remembering this period of her life fondly and with greater clarity than she probably did as a child.  Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is captivating debut novel and coming-of-age story about a young lady who has lost her way, only to find a new chapter has begun.

About the Author:

Beth Hoffman was the president and owner of a major interior design studio in Cincinnati, Ohio, before turning to writing full time. She lives with her husband and two cats in a quaint historic district in Newport, Kentucky. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is her first novel.

Thanks to Penguin and Inkwell Management for sending me a free copy of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt for review.

Check out the other tour stops:

5/17 & 5/18 – Devourer of Books

5/19 & 5/20 – Diary of an Eccentric

5/21 – Savvy Verse & Wit

5/22 – Medieval Bookworm

5/23 – lit*chick

5/24 – A Novel Menagerie

5/25 – The Tome Traveller’s Weblog

5/26 – Peeking Between the Pages

5/27 – Steph Su Reads

5/28 – Galleysmith

5/29 – The Literate Housewife Review

Giveaway details — three copies for US/Canada readers and one copy for an international reader:

1.  Leave a comment about why you want to read this book; don’t forget to let me know if you are living outside the United States or Canada.

2.  Leave a comment on the guest post.

3.  Blog, Tweet, Facebook, or otherwise spread the word about the giveaway and leave a comment on this post.

4.  Become a Facebook fan of the blog and leave a comment.

Deadline is June 2, 2010, at 11:59 PM EST.

This is my 33rd book for the 2010 New Authors Challenge.

  • Sandra K321

    I would love to read this. It sounds like the author did a great job with developing the characters, and I always enjoy characters that are a bit eccentric.

  • I am really looking forward to reading this novel. It sounds so good. No need to enter me, Serena. I already have a copy of my own. Good luck to all the entrants!

  • Margie

    Made a comment on Savvy Verse and Wit Facebook.

  • Margie

    Made a comment on the guest post.

  • Margie

    I’d like to see how CeeCee matures in this book. I enjoy books based in the South…Savannah is a beautiful city.

  • Amy

    I really like coming-of-age stories as well as southern literature. I have also read several wonderful reviews of this book, including your own. I have had Beth Hoffman’s book on my tbr list for a while and just haven’t had the chance to get the book yet. I would love to win this giveaway!

    Thank you !

    ~ Amy
    [email protected]
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..Book Review, Orange is the New Black =-.

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  • Oh my gosh, your reviews are getting better and better! I loved this book too.

    • Are you trying to say my reviews were crappy previously?! LOL This was a great book.

  • Glad to see you enjoyed this one as much as I did. Great review!

    No need to enter me.
    .-= Anna´s last blog ..Review: Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman =-.

  • Pam Keener

    I love fiction set in the south. I have heard so many good things about this book and it has been on my wish list for forever it seems.
    Love & Hugs,
    Pam

  • I have this one sitting on my shelf, and I know I just need to make time to read it. With an exception or two, all reviews of this book have been glowing. I love southern fiction and I think this one fits the bill perfectly.
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday: Maui #10 =-.

  • Linda B

    Before I started seeing this book mentioned on the many reading blogs I follow, a very good friend recommended it and said it was an all-time favorite of hers. Since then I’ve read reviews that reinforced my desire to read it for myself. Thanks for the giveaway.

  • Mariska

    I’ve been hearing so many great reviews about this book. And i’m so want to read it !

    – International reader
    – i tweeted : http://twitter.com/becunique/status/14408939301
    – a Facebook fan