May 02, 12
Read in April, 2012
Title: The Secret Life of Bees
Author: Sue Monk Kidd
Synopsis (from bn.com): Sue Monk Kidd’s ravishing debut novel has stolen the hearts of reviewers and readers alike with its strong, assured voice. Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. When Lily’s fierce-hearted “stand-in mother,” Rosaleen, insults three of the town’s fiercest racists, Lily decides they should both escape to Tiburon, South Carolina—a town that holds the secret to her mother’s past. There they are taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters who introduce Lily to a mesmerizing world of bees, honey, and the Black Madonna who presides over their household. This is a remarkable story about divine female power and the transforming power of love—a story that women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come.
This was the April selection of my book club, Coffee and Cozies. I am so grateful to my book club for bringing it to my attention. It is not a book that I would normally read as it set in the South in the 1960′s during a time of racial discord – I don’t normally go for these books. Much to my surprise it was much less about race relations as it was about relationships and the power of togetherness.
I found this book beautifully written. The characters were engaging and interesting. The relationships between the characters was warm and loving, while at times humorous. This book definitely takes the reader of a roller coaster of emotions – pity, pride, questioning, anger, love, warmth, strength! You name it, this book has it!
Preceding each chapter was a short quote or paragraph about the life and activity of bees. I really enjoyed these and used them as a metaphor for the characters, plot, and relationship in the story. Which of the sisters was the Queen Bee? What was the role of the other sisters in the “hive”?
I really enjoyed this book! It demonstrated beautifully the power of relationships regardless of race, culture, or background and the incredible empowering strength that can be found in a group of women.
Enjoy the read!
Books Are Life,