27 January 2021

The Year of Thorns and Honey | Excerpt + Giveaway

JustRead Publicity Tours


Nina is a photographer who really appreciates control. She likes to set up just the right shot with the perfect composition, but life is not always as pretty as her pictures. The lighting is off, the timing is wrong, and the subjects just won’t do like she wants them to.

She’s engaged to her ex-husband, her teenage daughter is testing all the boundaries, and her childhood memories have a For-Sale sign on them. She’s also keeping a secret about the chance of a lifetime, but what she’ll have to give up to get it might not be worth it. Just when she thinks she’s got it all figured out, an important someone resurfaces and forces her to take a hard look at what she really wants and why.

Life can be as prickly as it is sweet. Will Nina be able to let go of the perfect picture she had in her head and let her heart find the sweetness that life has to offer.

Release Date: September 15, 2020



“Here’s the thing,” Oliver says. “You’re trying to fix a broken vase. You said once that you’re having trouble forgiving and forgetting, that was your clue. That’s where you’re putting the pieces back together in the wrong places. You’re stuck at forgiveness.”

“I don’t get it, though,” I say. “How does being ok with the house selling help me forgive my mother?”

“It doesn’t.”

“Well, what about gluing the vase together? The vase is my childhood, right?” I ask, squinting at him. “Do they teach you to speak in metaphor?”

“The vase is your relationship with your mother.”

“Can we do this in English after all?”

He smiles. “I’m talking about grace. You won’t ever be able to fix the vase. You won’t be able to forget that it broke, and you might not ever be able to use it for flowers because it might leak water. But you can still appreciate it, value it, treasure it for what it is without regard for what you wanted it to be or even what it once was. You can make it into something new.”

“I could put pencils in it.” I tilt my head, considering the idea.

“That’s a start,” he says.

“I hate when you do that thing where you’re wise,” I say, glancing at him and then toward the front of the now empty church.

“No, you don’t. Not really.”

“It freaks me out a little bit, though.”

He takes the songbook from where I have it open on my lap. He flips through it and finds “Amazing Grace.”

“Grace?” I ask. “That’s the other side of forgiveness?

“That’s a good way to think of it,” he says. “That’s what your mother is asking you for.”

“How did you know she was asking?”

“We’re all asking each other for grace. I have to tell you, though, it can be harder than forgiveness.”

My shoulders slump. “I can’t win for losing.”

He laughs, and the empty sanctuary sucks up the sound, swishes it around and sings it back out at me. “I didn’t say any of it was easy.”

“Why is grace harder?”

“Forgiveness is a state of mind. Grace involves action,” he looks away for a second and then looks back.” Actions we take and sometimes actions we want to, but don’t.”

I sit back hard in the pew. “These things aren’t that comfortable to sit in, you know.”

“They’re not supposed to be,” he says.


Amy Willoughby-Burle grew up in the small coastal town of Kure Beach, North Carolina. She studied writing at East Carolina University and is now a writer and teacher living in Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband and four children. She writes about the mystery and wonder of everyday life. Her contemporary fiction focuses on the themes of second chances, redemption, and finding the beauty in the world around us.

Amy is the author of the short story collection, Out Across the Nowhere, and the novels, The Lemonade Year and The Year of Thorns and Honey. Amy says, “God didn’t give me the desire to understand algebra or the knowledge of exactly when and where to use a semicolon, and I’m not that great of a speller, but He did give me a wild imagination, the ability to string words together, and the desire to tell stories. I hope I can do Him proud.


(1) winner will receive a The Year of Thorns and Honey prize package!

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight January 26, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on February 2, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

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  1. Hi! Thank you for having me on your blog! What an honor! I look forward to getting to know you better through this blog. I always love finding new places communities and sites to sooth the soul. :-)

  2. This seems like an amazing read! Adding to my tbr!

  3. I liked the excerpt, thank you for sharing.

  4. Thanks for sharing Loved the blog post!

  5. the cover looks really nice

  6. What a fun prize package! Interesting how the title will play out in the plot!

  7. Anonymous27/1/21 15:14

    Thank you so much! - JustRead Tours

  8. nice excerpt

  9. Thank you for being part of the blog tour for "The Year of Thorns and Honey".

    Enjoyed reading the excerpt and can't wait for the chance to read the book.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  10. This sounds like a really great book.