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Feb 26

Falling in Honey by Jennifer Barclay Book Review

Falling in Honey By Jen Barclay Tilos Book

US and Canada Book cover for Falling in Honey a Memoir about Tilos by Jennifer Barclay from the UK

A Memoir

Scrolling through my Kindle library you can tell that Memoir’s are my favourite genre. I download them with wild abandon. If the first couple of pages don’t grab me, books just gather pixel dust in the ether somewhere.

But I Fell in Honey with this Jen Barclay’s new book.

What’s all this “falling in honey about?”

Let’s hear how Jen describes in in her “7 Questions interview” with author Samatha Verant:

“In my book, there’s a Greek friend who uses the phrase to mean falling in love. Isn’t that a wonderful image? Coming to a sticky end… but what a way to go! 

Drowning in sweetness… Tilos is famous for its honey and I found my new life here very sweet, living next door to a honey factory.”

A Meal not a Meze

My usual reading style is “Meze”. I jump around from book to book, tasting and nibbling chapters and paragraphs and devouring small portions of literary delights. It can take me month’s to get to the end of a book.

Falling in Honey By Jen Barclay Tilos Book Cover UK and Poland

I blame my Kindle. It keeps my place for me, and sorts my reading list by most recently opened so I can keep track of all the books I’m currently reading.

But – when I picked up Falling in Honey, it stuck.

I read it to the end and didn’t get distracted by any other book on my Kindle. It was a Literary Sunday Lunch and I didn’t leave the table until I’d finished it and I was full of daydreams!

My Falling in Honey Book Review

The full title of this book should really be “Falling in Honey after a couple of Lemons: Jen’s bitter-sweet adventure”.

I follow Jennifer’s blog “Octopus in my Ouzo” and was eagerly awaiting the publication of Falling in Honey. I didn’t read the book summary or reviews before buying it, I just bought it on the strength of the cover alone.

I just assumed Falling in Honey focused on Jen’s move to the Greek Island of Tilos. In fact it included a bumpy ride through a couple of Jen’s relationships, and her bitter-sweet  journey along the way.

There’s a famous quote from American Novelist and Poet Don Williams Jr.

The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination

 

Lisa in Tilos Falling in Honey

Lisa, the lovely half-Labrador dubbed by young Kyriakos as the ‘Tilos Devil’) Photo Copyright: Jennifer Barclay

This quote is indicative of Jen’s journey to Tilos. Falling in Honey narratives her lessons along her journey to Tilos, and as I read her story, I became vested in how the story ends. That’s the trick for any author – how to capture the readers attention between the Title and “The End”.

How Jen does it is by inviting you into her world. You’re sitting at a table with her in Tilos habour enjoying a coffee. You’re slicing pungent tomatoes on her balcony of her new apartment and licking the juice of your fingers; you’re watching lethargic goats eat roses from her garden. You’re a fly on the wall at another difficult situation where you wonder if it’s a friendly man with a platonic interest her or a friendly man with honey on his mind.

The book is a series of sweet moments, that runs through your fingers. There’s no great emotional climax in the story – but there’s enough pace to keep you vested in the outcome.

Megalo Horio Kafeneion Tilos

This is Megalo Horio, with the entrance to the Kafeneion on the left – Image Copyright Jennifer Barclay

Try a New Lifestyle on for Size

To get over the bitter taste of failed relationships, Jen becomes her own fairy godmother and grants herself three wishes: Freelance Fridays, A Vow of Celibacy and a Month in Greece. These three wishes provided an ideal way to distance herself from her old life, and see it from the outside looking in. It was a safe way to try on a new lifestyle to see if it fit, without making any dramatic commitments.

By all accounts it fit perfectly – and her story is an inspiration for others to test drive a new lifestyle for themselves.

 

Falling in Honey is a reminder that the ebb and flow of life is uncertain and constantly in flux. You can either surrender and takes the knocks from this bumper car ride called life. Or you can wait for the music to stop and walk away. At one point in her story I did begin to wonder if her journey would get derailed by one of her Testosterone infused Lemons, but she headed to Tilos regardless, and I needn’t have worried about the outcome.

Jen swapped her carnival ride of a life for something more tranquil, and now she has time to smell the flowers and watch the stars.

Meet Jennifer

Visit Jennifer’s Blog

Octopus in my Ouzo Falling in Honey