Underneath The Honeysuckle Vine

Beyond Cedar Cove, Book One

Fiction - Drama
143 Pages
Reviewed on 02/01/2022
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Cynthia Ulmer, author of The Cedar Cove Chronicles, was inspired by childhood memories to create her characters and the novels she writes. Her southern upbringing provides endless information to add to her imagination. Like many other southern authors, she creates character driven, down-home stories that will linger with the reader. Underneath The Honeysuckle Vine is a look into narcissist Meg's mind and into the mind of her sad, withdrawn, daughter, Carin. Forced to live in conditions Meg believes are beneath her, she seeks the life she thinks she deserves, no matter the cost.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Courtnee Turner Hoyle for Readers' Favorite

In Underneath the Honeysuckle Vine: Beyond Cedar Cove, Book One by Cynthia Ulmer, six-year-old Carin Evans struggles to understand the ridicule she endures in a town where her mother's family is revered. As she takes in the beehive hairdos and limited views of the 1960s, she's bullied by everyone, even her own mother, Meg. Carin's friend, Tammy, and her new church life improve her situation, but she still suffers from verbal abuse. Her mother hopes to regain her family's favor and wealth by lying. When it doesn't work, Meg embarks on a plethora of bad decisions. Carin wishes she could have birthday parties and a father, like her friend's family, but her mother stays locked in her mind, making choices that could cost them everything they have.

Cynthia Ulmer's story will hold you in place until the end. Readers will become deeply invested in Carin and her story and are curious about Meg, and Carin's father. At times, I wished I could protect Carin from her schoolmates' bullying and her mother's neglect and indifference, and I was so pleased when she and Tammy became inseparable friends. Most readers know at least one person like Meg, who feels she is entitled to more, and it was infuriating to read about her decisions when they affected Carin directly. The story felt nostalgic as the author mentions era-specific products, styles, and trends. The descriptions of cars and fairs put readers in the timeframe. Readers who enjoy realistic rural stories set during the 1960s will enjoy Underneath the Honeysuckle Vine.

Stefan Vucak

Twenty-five-year-old Margaret Evans did not want pity from anyone, but for the last six years, everyone kept saying, ‘Poor Meg’. All because of her illegitimate little brat, Carin. Margaret considered herself special and wanted people to see it. She hated her parents, hated her stuck-up grandfather, did not want Carin, and hated being poor. At a local Baptist church ladies’ group, she told them she was raped, and that’s how she became pregnant. Instead of people whispering behind her back for being a slut, she basked in their sympathy. Not enough for her, she burned down the house her grandfather allowed her to live in and moved in with a friend, still figuring angles on how to advance herself and become special. Well, things did not turn out exactly as she expected.

With Underneath the Honeysuckle Vine, Cynthia Ulmer boldly thrusts readers into Margaret’s convoluted mind and mixed-up life. A short book, this is a little gem of a read, superbly written with engaging dialogue and narrative. Like her or dislike her, Margaret’s character takes charge, and readers cannot help turning pages to see what the fates have in store for her, or what little scheme she has in mind to achieve her dream of becoming special. Everything is somebody else’s fault, and she is a victim of circumstances. Underneath the Honeysuckle Vine is a simple story, but memorable, and readers will give a little sigh when they reach the end, wishing for more. Cynthia Ulmer is a gifted writer who managed to open a window into Margaret’s life that undoubtedly has a basis in someone’s reality.