Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Review: Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters by Emily Carpenter


Title: Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters
Author: Emily Carpenter
Published: October 2020, Lake Union Publishing
Format: ARC Paperback, 332 pages
Source: Publicist

The bestselling author of Burying the Honeysuckle Girls returns to uncover a faith healer’s elusive and haunted past.

Dove Jarrod was a renowned evangelist and faith healer. Only her granddaughter, Eve Candler, knows that Dove was a con artist. In the eight years since Dove’s death, Eve has maintained Dove’s charitable foundation—and her lies. But just as a documentary team wraps up a shoot about the miracle worker, Eve is assaulted by a vengeful stranger intent on exposing what could be Dove’s darkest secret: murder…

Tuscaloosa, 1934: a wily young orphan escapes the psychiatric hospital where she was born. When she joins the itinerant inspirational duo the Hawthorn Sisters, the road ahead is one of stirring new possibilities. And with an obsessive predator on her trail, one of untold dangers. For a young girl to survive, desperate choices must be made.

Now, to protect her family, Eve will join forces with the investigative filmmaker and one of Dove’s friends, risking everything to unravel the truth behind the accusations against her grandmother. But will the truth set her free or set her world on fire?

My thoughts: The very first book I ever read by Emily Carpenter was Burying the Honeysuckle Girls and that made me fall in love with her writing, and Southern Gothic fiction. So of course, I was thrilled to find out that she was revisiting some of these characters with her newest book and I absolutely loved it!

There is just something addicting about Emily's books and this one was no exception. I usually listen to them, but this one I read and I flew through it. I actually read this in one sitting - I was that captivated by both the characters and the storyline. I loved the dual narrative and was completely invested in both timelines, so eager to find out exactly what was going to happen next and how it would all be resolved. 

I am always a fan of stories that involved buried secrets and this one is chock full of them. And they are not only from the past. Eve has her share of secrets that she is keeping from her mother and brother and we learn about about Dove and her secrets. As these secrets are revealed, will family reputations be damaged? Taking us back into a time when traveling evangelists were big and exposing their shady ways, I was completely captivated...it was hard not to be caught up in all that went on during these events. And I loved how the author links Eve and Dove - it's such a subtle link, one that isn't too hokey but allows for a possibility that is really could happen.

This is such a richly atmospheric, compelling novel. Emily Carpenter has always been a must-read author and this book just cements that reason. Burying the Honeysuckle Girls was my favorite, but this might have just topped it. I highly recommend picking this one up...you won't be disappointed!

***Stay tuned - I'll be posting a Q&A a little later with Emily Carpenter!


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