Eileen Goudge








Signet, June 2003
Reviewed by Barbara Fielding

The California town of Carson Springs is about to be treated to a revival of an old scandal. Gerry Fitzgerald, manager of Blessed Bee Honey, a line of honey products produced by the local convent, is at the center of the gossip. Gerry, divorced with two children, Andie, fifteen and Justin, eleven, makes a startling confession that turns their world upside down. Twenty-eight years earlier, on the eve of taking vows to become a nun, Gerry fled the church because she was pregnant. Now, after finding her child through a private investigator, Gerry wants to get to know the daughter she gave birth to so many years ago. When Gerry introduces her firstborn, Claire, into the lives of her family and friends, unsettling secrets and unfinished business bring changes to everyone involved.

Claire Brewster, a dissatisfied estate lawyer, seizes the opportunity to get to know her birth mother and redirect her life by moving to Carson Springs. She finds more than a new career when she opens a tearoom with the help of a carpenter, Matt, who renovates a vine-covered cottage for her new business. And when Claire confronts her biological father she unintentionally opens a Pandora's Box that threatens Gerry's working relationship with Blessed Bee Convent.

Newcomer to Carson Springs, Aubrey Roellinger, renowned symphony conductor, didn't expect to ever feel the things he feels for Gerry. The death of his first wife Isabelle and their unborn child left him emotionally isolated until a friend, Samantha Kiley, introduced him to Gerry Fitzgerald. Their no-strings affair gradually reawakened something in him, but will Gerry's old wounds and fears stand between them?

TASTE OF HONEY is a story which engaged me from the first page, a thought- provoking novel with a story current enough to have been ripped from today's headlines. The Carson Springs characters are honest and likable with ample drama to launch a new television series. Multiple story lines and a long list of characters are smoothly woven together. I would have found a casting list helpful, but Eileen Goudge's easy writing style carries you into the lives of these characters as though you had known them all your life. The conflicted feelings of Gerry's two younger children and Claire are carefully and truthfully addressed. Goudge's talent for creating young characters obviously began with her writing for the Sweet Valley High series.

TASTE OF HONEY is the second novel in the Carson Springs trilogy, following STRANGER IN PARADISE. Samantha Kiley, introduced in STRANGER IN PARADISE, plays a pivotal role in Gerry's story. Readers will enjoy revisiting Sam and Ian Carpenter's story. The third installment in this trilogy, WISH COME TRUE, is due out in hardback in June.

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