I knew right away Luisa's paternity, long before the scene of it emerged. Predictability is a comfort in Morris West's novels, rather than an annoyancI knew right away Luisa's paternity, long before the scene of it emerged. Predictability is a comfort in Morris West's novels, rather than an annoyance as it would be with lesser novels.
That's not to say that Morris West's works are predictable, but rather than he writes with such strength, such conviction, such felicity of characterization and leaves room enough for readers to debate many facets of his characters and about the Vatican itself that we'll follow him anywhere. Time spent with his novels is always well worth it....more
Initially, Sarah-Kate Lynch’s courtship of me to become my latest favorite author (i.e., who I’ll seek out on Facebook every other day, poring over thInitially, Sarah-Kate Lynch’s courtship of me to become my latest favorite author (i.e., who I’ll seek out on Facebook every other day, poring over the latest posts on her fan page, which nearly all of my favorite authors maintain themselves, hoping for news about their next book) did not begin well.
In The Wedding Bees she presents Sugar Wallace, a South Carolina beekeeper who has criss-crossed the country, letting her queen bee determine, by crawling on a map, where she moves to next. She stays in that state for a year and moves on. From this, she has amassed a wide network of friends, who still write her and send her gifts, blessed by her skill of making honey and making people feel better by it.
So, she’s from South Carolina. And she’s lived in Vermont, and California, and New Mexico, and other states. And Sarah-Kate Lynch lives in New Zealand when she’s not traveling the world for stories for Woman’s Day magazine. Being that Sugar is so obviously American, Lynch should have made sure that she kept to American vernacular in her writing. But she doesn’t, and it appears first from Marlena, an invaluable assistant to Theo, the main man of the story, when she uses the word “queued.” Her nationality is not revealed, and though she could well be American, it’s possible that she could be British, or had worked with the Scottish Theo so long that she absorbed his word usage and so “queued” wouldn’t seem like such an issue in these pages.
Then, in that caring apartment building in Alphabet City, there’s Mr. McNally, who uses the word “fecking” copiously. Irish, surely, and older enough to probably have moved from Ireland to New York back when it was more of a thing. As it turns out, after falling under Sarah-Kate Lynch’s fortunately irreversible spell, it doesn’t matter one word, because “The Wedding Bees” is infinitely wonderful. It’s cheerful, colorful, flavorful, and tasty in its descriptions of honey and its many uses, even through the emotional upheaval that Sugar faces in thinking back on her past, while helping her new New York City neighbors through their problems and sorrows, and making their lives better, while a delightful few prod her to make her own life better, including George, a retired doorman who she helps up from the street when Theo, talking on a cell phone, accidentally runs into him and knocks him down. Sugar is so conflicted about him, because she vowed never to fall in love again after a wedding incident memorable to her Charleston, South Carolina home, and has done well in sticking to that for so many years.
Lynch isn’t entirely balanced in her coverage of her characters. Lola, who runs a sad-looking balloon store in the basement of Sugar’s apartment building, and her little son, aren’t seen for quite a while at times, but Lynch has the immense skill of making the reader feel like they’ve been there the entire time when they do reappear, no matter the slight disappointment of not finding out what they’re up to while the rest of Sugar’s story is told. Yet, like the others, including the anorexic Ruby and Nate, the talented pastry chef, the end of Lola’s story feels like it has been waiting for Lynch to experience all the elements necessary for her to put it together and bring us with her to read it and love it as much as she does. That’s most important, too, that an author loves what she’s written, and there’s such a golden glow about it because of Lynch’s love for her characters and honey and New York City and gardens and Charleston, and so much more.
Those early quibbles mean nothing. In fact, in expressing Sugar’s eagerness to meet Nate, who lives very near here in this apartment building, Lynch writes, “She could not wait to meet such a dab hand in the baking department….” Without Lynch being who she is in heart and soul and words, I would have never known that “dab” could be an adjective, as well as that “dab hand” is a British expression. Therefore, what I originally thought were missteps are no such thing. By my hand, upon finding this book available at my local library, and my love of honey steering me to it, I have been gifted with exactly the book I had hoped to find for many months, reading many other books to get there, it seems, but not feeling the pure excitement and joy I’ve felt reading about Sugar scared of finding love again, and also suffusing everyone she meets with happiness they never knew they could have before she came along.
In fact, I’ve now put Lynch’s Bread Alone and Blessed Are the Cheesemakers on request at my local library, and ordered her House of Daughters, Dolci di Love and Eating with the Angels simply because my library doesn’t have them, and I don’t want to wait. I did have Blessed Are the Cheesemakers in one of my many stacks of books nearly two years ago in a mobile home park in Las Vegas, but gave it up along with so many other books when my family and I moved to nearby Henderson so I could have some room for myself in my new room, as well as eventually three stately bookcases, a book-shaped nightstand, and a reading recliner. I guess back in that mobile home, it wasn’t yet the right time to read Blessed Are the Cheesemakers After The Wedding Bees it is now.
Just like with Sarah Pekkanen, Stacey Ballis, Barbara O'Neal, Jay Gilbertson, Nicolle Wallace, and Sheldon Russell, I need to log onto Facebook and see if Lynch has anything new to announce, despite The Wedding Bees having just been published in paperback here in the U.S. last January. I'm impatient. I want more right now! I'm getting more with the chance to read her previous novels, but even after all that, I'm sure I'll still want more. It's not only that Lynch loves words, but she clearly loves life. That's what reading should always be about, and Lynch makes it that beautiful....more