Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
Celebrate southern women with Beth Hoffman’s debut novel Saving CeeCee Honeycutt. CeeCee is a young girl who had an unhappy childhood in an unstable home until she moved to Savannah to live with her Aunt Tootie. She notes “I had been plunked into a strange, perfumed world that, as far as I could tell, seemed to be run entirely by women.” It was these women who taught her the gifts she possessed and what it meant to be loved.
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is about a young girl who had an unhappy childhood in an unstable home until she moved to Savannah to live with her Aunt Tootie. She notes “I had been plunked into a strange, perfumed world that, as far as I could tell, seemed to be run entirely by women.” It was these women who taught her the gifts she possessed and what it meant to be loved.
Book Summary Adapted From BethHoffman.net
For years 12 year old CeeCee been the caretaker of her psychotic mother, Camille— the crown-wearing, lipstick-smeared laughingstock of an entire town. Though it’s 1967 and they live in Ohio, Camille believes it’s 1951 and she’s just been crowned the Vidalia Onion Queen of Georgia. When tragedy strikes, Tootie Caldwell, a previously unknown great-aunt comes to CeeCee’s rescue and whisks her away to Savannah. Within hours of her arrival, CeeCee is catapulted into a perfumed world of prosperity and Southern eccentricities—a world that appears to be run entirely by women. But CeeCee’s view of the world is challenged in ways she could have never imagined: there are secrets to keep, injustices to face, and loyalties to uphold. Just as she begins to find her ballast and experiences a sense of belonging, her newfound joy collides with the long-held fear that her mother’s legacy has left her destined for destruction.
Book Club Party Ideas for Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
What to Wear
|Aunt Tootie gave CeeCee a white straw hat with a red flower pinned to its wide yellow band as Ceecee got into the car to head to Savannah. Here is a hat from Amazon that is similar (just need to tie a yellow ribbon around it).|
CeeCee’s mother told her “if you want to glow like you are lit from within, CeeCee, wear pearls and a pale pink sweater.” She tells CeeCee how an oyster makes a pearl. She then says “Oysters are a lot like women. It’s how we survive the hurts in life that brings us strength and gives us our beauty.”
On the drive to the beach CeeCee, Oletta and Oletta’s friends listen to Martha and the Vandellas and all sing “Nowhere to Run.“
When a resident at a nursing him CeeCee visited sang Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” CeeCee, observing the women around her, thought “Yes, this really is a wonderful world.”
Oletta picked a vase of yellow roses to welcome CeeCee to Savannah. Another option for flowers would be orchids, which Miz Obee grew inside a beat up old car and gave as gifts to several of the women. A great way to use both of these flowers is to use an orchid in a pot and then sprinkle yellow rose petals on the table.
Another option for a floral arrangement is a camellia, her mother’s namesake.
Be sure to drape a white bra over something at the party!
Book Club Menu for Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
When the girls all get together, they like to drink Long Island Iced Tea. CeeCee notes “whatever Long Island iced tea consisted of, it sure made these women happy.”
When planning a menu for a book club party for Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, Oletta’s cooking provides lots of inspiration. I can just imagine her pouring so much love into everything she makes. The food below is a mixture of Oletta’s cooking and the garden party the women threw to honor CeeCee.
- Creamy Chicken Salad with Grapes and Walnuts
- Mini Mushroom Tarts
- Southern Beaten Biscuits with Whipped Honey Butter
- Loaded Chocolate Chip Cookies with Walnuts
- Glazed Lemon Cookies
- Peachy Keen Fruit Salad- As the women in her new life peeled peaches and chatted about peach pies, CeeCee sat listening. “And as the sweet aroma of the fresh peaches mingled with the sound of their voices, I folded the memory into myself, feeling a peace I’d never before known.”
Other foods made by Oletta in Saving CeeCee Honeycutt include:
- Scalloped potatoes (sprinkled with brown sugar after she pours on the cream)
- Brownies with icing
- Sweet potato pie with nutmeg.
- Banana bread
- Seven-layer chocolate cream cake
- Cinnamon rolls with icing
- Ham and cheese sandwiches, potato salad and raspberry cobbler for their trip to the beach
Book Club Resources
Ratings at the time this post was published
|Goodreads: 3.87 stars (13097 ratings)|
|Amazon: 4.5 stars (423 reviews)|
|Barnes & Noble: 4.5 stars (481 ratings)|
|My Rating: 5 stars|
- “This book unfolds like a lush southern garden, blooming with vivid characters, beauty and surprises.”-Kim Edwards, bestselling author of The Memory Keeper’s Daughter
- “Readers who enjoy strong female characters will appreciate CeeCee, a survivor despite her heartbreaking childhood, and Aunt Tootie and her friends, all of them steel magnolias. Exemplifying Southern storytelling at its best, this coming-of-age novel is sure to be a hit with the book clubs that adopted Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees.”-Library Journal
- “This is Beth’s debut novel and I promise you that it is definitely a winner. She has created extremely memorable characters and her descriptions of Savannah and the South are just beautiful” - Booking Mama
Book Club Discussion Questions for Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
- There are so many colorful and strong characters in this novel. Which character is your favorite? Why?
- What is the significance of the setting and time period of the story (the South in the 1960s)?
- Despite the tragedy of having to take care of her mentally ill mother, do you think the experience benefited CeeCee to some degree?
- How did Oletta, Aunt Tootie and the other Southern women help CeeCee heal?
- Describe how you imagine CeeCee’s life 5 years after the novel ends.
Purchase Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
About the Author
Beth Hoffman was the president and co-owner of a major interior design studio in Cincinnati, Ohio. She sold her portion of the business to pursue writing full time. She lives in a quaint historic district in northern Kentucky, with her husband and three very smart cats. This is her first novel.
Read more about Beth Hoffman.
My Favorite Quote
Oletta, who runs Aunt Tooties’s house, tells CeeCee “Don’t go wastin’ all them bright tomorrows you ain’t even seen by hangin’ on to what happened yesterday. Let go, child. Just breathe out and let go.” (I get teary-eyed each time I read this. I love Oletta!)
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