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.
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.
Emme is an outsider–cast aside, neglected, and abused by her con artist mother and desperately looking for a family to be part of. When Glory, her father’s mother, finds her and offers her a job, Emme warily accepts, hoping for a family, although she knows something Glory does not. Cora Bee has experienced rejection, heartbreak, and betrayal of her own, and is dealing with the aftermath. Slowly Cora Bee and Emme form a friendship, but can either of them ever trust anyone? At the same time, a body has been discovered in a sinkhole in the community garden. Do some of the residents of Hickory Lane know more than they are telling? Rejection, secrets, judgments, and missing pieces all come together in this wonderful novel set in Sweetgrass, Alabama.
When I think of small-town fiction, this is what I want. I want a community of interesting characters who are so fun and engaging that I feel like I’ve joined the town myself. I want secrets, big personalities, loss, misunderstandings, and hope of belonging. This book meets all of that and more. Now here’s the kicker: throw in a bit of magical realism! I was hooked! I laughed and cried, and I wondered how in the world I missed Heather Webber’s 25 other books! I definitely want to go and live on Hickory Lane, but in the meantime, I’m going to be catching up on this author’s other works, which I hope are as delightful as this one. This book is perfect for fans of Fannie Flagg’s small-town novels.
I listened to the audiobook and enjoyed an absolutely stellar performance by Hallie Ricardo and Stephanie Willis.
I received a free copy of this audiobook from Macmillan Audio via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Heather Webber, aka Heather Blake, is the author of more than twenty-five novels. She loves to read, drink too much coffee and tea, birdwatch, crochet, and bake. She currently lives near Cincinnati, Ohio, and is hard at work on her next book.