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Mad Honey

By Jodi Picoult and

Jennifer Finley Boylan

A Delightful Interwoven Tale That is Grabbing and Gut-wrenching



Olivia McAfee was living in Boston and married to a successful heart surgeon twelve years ago.  She and her husband Braden were raising their young son Asher when Olivia had enough.  Braden is a charismatic gentleman in public but was controlling and violent at home.  And not just with her. Olivia takes Asher and heads to her family’s home in Adams, New Hampshire, and takes over her father’s family beekeeping business.

Years later, Ava Campanello, a forest ranger, and her smart and musically talented daughter, Lily, are looking for a fresh start and are running away from a past. They also land in Adams, New Hampshire, for Lily’s senior year of high school.  Lily and Asher meet at school, and they quickly become close. Finally, Lily is the happiest she has ever been. But she is unsure if she can trust Asher with the reality of her past.

When Olivia receives a phone call from Asher, their lives are changed forever.  Lily is dead, and the police are questioning Asher.  Lily knows there is no way Asher could have hurt Lily,  but when she thinks of her ex-husband's violence, Asher’s father, she wonders…

Mad Honey comes from bees that forage on rhododendrons and mountain laurel, and it’s full of poisonous grayanotoxins. It causes dizziness, nausea and vomiting, convulsions, cardiac disorders, and more. Symptoms last for 24 hours and although rarely, if left untreated can be fatal.


MAD HONEY is about secrets kept and secrets revealed.  It’s a delightfully interwoven tale that is both grabbing and gut-wrenching. It’s a love story, a murder mystery, a family drama (or two), and a courtroom brawl all rolled into one book.  It’s a highly compelling and enlightening story.

Co-author Jennifer Finley Boylan dreamt this captivating novel into being.  She woke up one morning from a  dream that she had co-written a novel with Jody Picoult with characters similar to Olivia, Lily, and Asher.  She mentioned her dream on Twitter, and these two fabulous best-selling authors got together and actually made it happen. And what a story they wrote.

The writing is delightful, and the descriptions are vivid. About halfway through the book comes an unexpected, revealing moment that will have you gasping.  Not only did the authors illuminate significant issues, but they also interspersed fun and educational information about bees and beekeeping.

The story is told from both Olivia's and Lilly’s perspectives.  Olivia's storyline is in the present, moving forward with flashbacks to the past.   Lily’s timeline starts with her death and goes backward in time.   Both Olivia's and Lily's stories are full of strength, determination, and courage. MAD HONEY just may be your next great read.

Thanks to Netgalley for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

“The secret weapon of mad honey of course is that you expect it to be sweet, not deadly. You’re deliberately attracted to it. By the time it messes with your head, with your heart, it’s too late.”

Publisher    October 4, 2022

Published   Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine

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