Wild Honey

To open yourself to love is to open yourself to the potential of loss.

Ebba Lindqvist used to be Sweden’s foremost relationship guru with her own talk show and numerous bestselling books to her name. But after a very public divorce she has hit rock bottom because let’s face it – who wants romantic advice from a sad divorcée? She is barely scraping by, paying the bills by constructing crossword puzzles and turning her old catch phrases onto her own dismal situation with hilarious irony. When she is asked to write a puff piece about long-lasting marriages she accepts the job reluctantly. Beggars can’t be choosers after all. She travels to a quaint fishing village in order to interview a woman who was apparently happily married to the same man for sixty years.

Veronika Mörk is seventy-nine years old and lives in a retirement home, but she is no meek elderly lady. She is salty and elegant and Ebba is immediately drawn to her. Yet Ebba’s encounter with Veronika is not the straightforward interview she had expected. Veronika reminisces about a great love – but it is not her deceased husband she is talking about.

Flash back to the summer of 1955. Veronika is seventeen years old and working at her mother’s inn in the picturesque summer town of Båstad. The role of women in society is slowly changing, but the choices for a young working class girl are still limited. Veronika wants more from life than to attend housekeeping school, and most of all she yearns for love and to find an outlet for the shameful desire bubbling inside her. While her cousin Francie is a bold Marilyn Monroe look-alike, Veronica is a wallflower. And she is hiding a darkness that stems from a family tragedy no one will speak about. One day, a young art student named Bo comes to stay at the inn and with the crinkle of his leather jacket, Veronika’s world is turned upside down.

Back in the present, Ebba finds herself on a mission. She may not be able to salvage her own catastrophic love life, but perhaps she can bring some joy back into Veronika’s? Ebba is determined to understand what happened back in 1955. Why did the two lovers not end up together after all? And what if Bo is still alive? What begins as a fumbling interview grows into a fond friendship between two unlikely compatriots in the tricky game of love that will change the course of both their lives.

Wild Honey is an irresistible relationship novel that spans two centuries and balances perfectly between salt and sugar. With loveable characters and a disarming sense of humor, Sara Paborn draws the reader into the throws of youthful infatuation while also asking serious questions about what it means to be a woman then and now. In the end, we all yearn to surrender to the greatest thing of all: love.

Sara Paborn is a writer from Sölvesborg, Sweden. She has written five critically acclaimed novels to date and her sixth novel, Wild Honey, will be published by Albert Bonniers Förlag in April, 2020.

Learn more about Sara Paborn