Orange Mint and Honey by Carleen Brice

Orange Mint and Honey: A Novel

Orange Mint and Honey starts with Shay burnt out from grad school and unable to complete her master’s thesis in epidemiology. Nina Simone (yes, THE Nina Simone) appears to her and tells her that she needs to return home to Denver Colorado to see her mother. What results is a whirlwind of emotion, self-discovery, forgiveness, and understanding around her mother’s past alcohol addiction, her younger half-sister, old friends, new loves, and of course growing up and facing the demons that live within. Brice creates characters that are unapologetic and at the same time remorseful for their situations. Rounded out by the cyclical connections of sister/mother/daughter relationships and gardening, this novel puts emotions past and present into full view.

Shay is constantly plagued by her childhood and wants her mother to pay for what she still feels today. She has no male or really female friends, she pulls her hair, and she can’t finish her thesis. She wants so much to not be like her mother that in some ways she is just like her. With difficulty the two seem to push against each other less and the kinks begin to loosen. In this story we see that forgiveness takes great effort and is only the beginning and that the amount of love that women hold for each other is powerful.

I read and enjoyed this book last year and was reminded of it when I saw a post on the author’s blog. The book is being adapted into a tv movie and Jill Scott is set to play the mother. So I wanted to revisit my thoughts on this book. Brice has released Children of the Waters this year which is something that I want to check out.

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