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The Prophecy of Bees

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When Lindy, a recently widowed American expat, buys a large manor house in the Cotswolds, she thinks it’s the fresh start she and her wayward daughter Izzy need. Stagcote Manor is a large, rambling house with a rich history and Lindy is thrilled at the prospect of their new life there.

Izzy, however, is less convinced. She longs to be back in the hustle and bustle of London. There's something unnerving about the house that she can’t quite put her finger on. And as Izzy begins to immerse herself in Stagcote life, she gradually realises the locals have a lot of strange and disturbing superstitions, many of them related to the manor.

When Izzy begins to investigate the history of the house, her unease soon darkens to fear as the manor’s dark past finally comes to light.

352 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published November 20, 2014

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R.S. Pateman

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 72 reviews
Profile Image for Aditi.
920 reviews1,332 followers
March 31, 2015
“Believe only half of what you see and nothing that you hear.”
----Edgar Allan Poe

R.S. Pateman, an English author, has penned a spine-chilling and intriguing tale about old manors, small English countrysides, folklore, trumpets and bees in his latest thriller-cum-horror novel, The Prophecy of Bees.


When Lindy, a recently widowed American expat, buys a large manor house in the Cotswolds, she thinks it’s the fresh start she and her wayward daughter Izzy need. Stagcote Manor is a large, rambling house with a rich history and Lindy is thrilled at the prospect of their new life there.

Izzy, however, is less convinced. She longs to be back in the hustle and bustle of London. There's something unnerving about the house that she can’t quite put her finger on. And as Izzy begins to immerse herself in Stagcote life, she gradually realizes the locals have a lot of strange and disturbing superstitions, many of them related to the manor.

When Izzy begins to investigate the history of the house, her unease soon darkens to fear as the manor’s dark past finally comes to light.

Isabella along with her mother, Lindy, leaves their posh upstate home in London to their new manor in Cotswolds for a fresh start in their lives. Upon their arrival, Isabella, a.k.a, Izzy started to realize the unnatural essence of some one's presence in the air. Slowly mystery started to unfold when one unnatural event after another happens in the manor forcing Izzy to believe the impossible, on the other hand, her mom, Lindy thinks the opposite. Lindy believes that her rebellious daughter who didn't want to throw away her London life, is concocting stories to force them go back to their home in London. Will Izzy be able to make her mother believe about the legends surrounding the manor which if not paid heed to might kill them, like those other manor residents?

The plot building is done brilliantly by the author. As the story progresses, tension builds up gradually at every nook and corner thus keeping us thoroughly engrossed within it. The writing is fantastic and in a way- gripping with carefully chosen words. The visual imagery of the whole backdrop is quite vivid thus letting us see every detailing of this weird and old manor. The more we read, the more we lose ourselves in the underlying mystery of this manor. The author has woven the mystery layer-by-layer running deep into the heart of the story which contains an entangled web of conundrum.

The characters are well-developed unfortunately they lacked bit of realism. The characters had lot of flaws, especially the central character, Izzy, a 17year old feisty teenager is often loud not only through her mannerisms but also through her narration. Izzy's mother, Lindy is a firm and confident woman who makes sure to provide a better living for her daughter against her daughter's wishes, thus creating a tension between this mother-daughter relationship all throughout the book. And I believe the situation that the author tried to depict through his story about Izzy's issues on moving to a old, backward town away from the humdrum of the city life, can be related with our lives. The supporting characters are striking enough to keep us engaged in their conversations.

I think, I would love to give 10 stars out of 5 to this book because of it's mind-blowing climax, which managed to threw me off the edge. So please don't try to anticipate the climax, since the author has tightly wrapped his mystery with threads of complex twists and turns. The mystery is too good and the fear and panic that the author creates with his tale is edgy and haunting, thus forcing us to keep turning the pages of the book until we see it's end. And technically, the main character of this book are a bunch of bees, and if you don't believe in their humming noise, ah well, you're in grave danger, my friend!

Verdict: This book will appeal to the horror and mystery genre readers!

Courtesy: Thanks to the author, R.S. Pateman, for giving me the opportunity to read and review his book.
Profile Image for Maxine (Booklover Catlady).
1,305 reviews1,234 followers
July 18, 2016
Just re-read this one as loved it so much. Still enjoyed it second time around! This was a fantastic read! I devoured this one in 2 hours without any breaks, marathon reading sessions are always a sign you have a good book i your hands. One of the more unique reads I have read this year and an unexpected little treasure of suspense, chills and surprises. Then ending knocked my socks off!

Meet one of the stars of the book..

When Lindy, a recently widowed American expat, buys a large manor house in the Cotswolds, she thinks it’s the fresh start she and her wayward daughter Izzy need. Stagcote Manor is a large, rambling house with a rich history and Lindy is thrilled at the prospect of their new life there.

Izzy, however, is less convinced. She longs to be back in the hustle and bustle of London. There's something unnerving about the house that she can’t quite put her finger on. And as Izzy begins to immerse herself in Stagcote life, she gradually realises the locals have a lot of strange and disturbing superstitions, many of them related to the manor.

A book to escape into..

This book is not marketed as a YA novel, yet many reviewers are viewing it from that perspective. My thinking on this is that it's spoken from the viewpoint of Izzy who is a teenager for 98% of the book. BUT this is not specifically a YA novel, it's got a broad appeal and I can see why it's not marketed as a YA novel.

So. Izzy is a typical teenager, miserable and angry about moving to the end of the earth in the country with her mother (her father has died), away from busy London and all she knows. Her mother believes she is doing it to help Izzy move on from some traumatic moments, Izzy is of course at opposition to her mother and does not welcome the move to this strange, huge rambling house in the Cotswolds.

From the moment they arrive in this twee little town they encounter the locals and their many superstitions and strange beliefs. Izzy thinks they are all bonkers, her mother thinks it's all so very charming (not for long!). Bit by bit those beliefs, rituals and traditions become ever so cloying and suffocating in the lives of these two women. They should have turned the car around and zoomed back to London.

The book gradually builds with tension and an undercurrent of mystery, darkness and foreboding. You just know things are going to get ugly. The house, they soon are told is believed to be cursed and pretty soon Izzy is experiencing some things that go bump in the night. She is drawn into the stories of tragedy around the house and is absorbing all the superstitions and bizarre folklore practices the locals share with her. Her mother remains resolute that it's all "stuff and nonsense" much to Izzy's dismay.

Things start to get very dark as incidents come together to be more than just coincidence, Izzy's fear factor is rising and she is looking for answers, the more she digs into the history of this strange house and it's curse, the more she is convinced she needs to get her Mother and their housekeeper to move from this place.

Izzy can be dramatic as a character, some readers did not like her, I did, I think she was typically a teenager with her moments of tantrums and sulking, but also intelligent, entertaining and determined. Her mother on the other hand annoyed me no end, one minute she is saying she wants what is best for Izzy the next yelling at her and not listening to a word Izzy says. Her mother is also very controlling it is revealed. So for me, of the two, Izzy is by far the more likeable character.

This village with it's ancient beliefs, rituals (the bees need to be spoken to and can show signs of impending doom, hence the title), strange practices, curses and superstitions is suitably atmospheric. The author does a good job of taking the seemingly normal moments and painting them with a touch of the sinister and evil, just enough to get you on the edge of your seat.

As events unfold both in and around the house and Izzy is caught up in the middle of it, the book accelerates considerably to one of the most astounding endings, what a brave author for going there. It was a strangely satisfying ending, not at all expected (at least by me).

I enjoyed this book, pure escapism, lots to like here. 4 stars from me, Booklover Catlady. https://www.facebook.com/BookloverCat...

I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks.
Profile Image for TL .
1,820 reviews35 followers
December 25, 2015
3.5 Stars.... For most of the story I was intrigued but not impressed, but as the story went along I got more interested in it. Not the "Oh My God I have to know what happens next or I'll burst" type of thing but more "Hmm, this is interesting... wonder where this is going"

Don't get me wrong, it IS a good story... the set up takes its time (a bit too long, it's a couple hundred pages before the tension really gets going) but the little clues, hints, and bits of history sprinkled throughout keep the story going at a nice pace.

There were times I wasn't sure if the curse was real, or if Isabella was losing her mind and that just amped up everything else around her.

This creeps up on you slowly, getting its hooks in you. The "twist ending" (official term? haha) was well done, didn't see it coming for sure.

That ending... well, haha. Kind of diabolical and very creepy for sure. The history revealed, I was just as caught up as Isabella and paid attention to only some of the right things and didn't dig any deeper. When you think back on it, it makes sense and that makes it even chillier to contemplate.

A good addition to the genre, would recommend... happy reading!

Figgy's review here
Profile Image for Figgy.
678 reviews219 followers
July 11, 2015
Featured on my 2014 favourites list!

‘What do we do?’
‘Just tell them your name and who you are,’ Howard said.
‘You’re joking me,’ I said.
‘Just say it. Come on. For Cedric’s sake.’
‘I’m Isabella,’ I said in a poor copy of Cedric’s singsong voice. ‘But you…’ I pointed at the hives with a single finger, ‘you can call me Izzy.’
Howard glared at me.
‘My name’s Izzy,’ I said, enunciating clearly. ‘And I live at Stagcote Manor.’
The thrum of the hive intensified.

The Prophecy of Bees harks back to something that was all the rage ten to fifteen years ago; small town superstitions and weirdness.

Inevitably, in these stories, the main characters will be new to a town and they will see that something is off, but their friends and families won’t listen to them.

There will be little hints, things that don’t add up, strange superstitions about how sharpening your knives after sunset is inviting thieves to the house. And then you’ll hear the scratching. Then the stories of unfortunate endings begin to come to light. And still, no one will listen, because you’ve been “crying wolf” all along.

The rest of this review can be found here!
Profile Image for Liz Barnsley.
3,430 reviews990 followers
November 2, 2014
I thoroughly enjoyed this story – a haunting and clever read, intriguing characterisation and a flowing engaging tale following Lindy and Izzy as they move into a new home and discover the myths and legends surrounding it.

Izzy is annoyed and upset at having to move to the country, having had some problems her Mother decides a new start is in order. Stagcote Manor may not be the best choice however, as a dark curse apparently haunts those who live there…

The theme of Superstition and belief is very well done here – how much our own beliefs influence us, how sometimes seemingly small things can change our perspective – I found it fascinating stuff as Izzy, starting off with a sceptical point of view, is slowly but surely drawn down the rabbit hole and becomes more and more convinced that she and Lindy are in grave danger. The author weaves a web around her, allowing different interpretations of events and grounding the tale in reality whilst leaving open endless possibiities.

I have to say that I did not always like Izzy – she often came across as an entitled brat but she also has a sympathetic side – a troubled teen who takes her frustrations out on her long suffering Mother, the relationship between this pair is one of the best things about the story. Even taking away the more mystical aspects, as a snapshot view it is also a coming of age tale. Izzy is forced by a series of seemingly odd happenings to grow up and develop a better appreciation of Lindy and the sacrifices she has made.

Added to that there is the village and its occupants – the author manages to create a tense and off kilter atmosphere to the community as a whole, again allowing Izzy to tell the tale but the reader to interpret for themselves – they are a strange and eclectic bunch with old and far reaching traditions that pull Izzy and her family ever further into the mire. The tension racks up in a very addictive and creepy way, the sense of place is simply terrific, I was left with a distinctly uneasy feeling every time I put this down to do something else. Also in my opinion, the ending was absolutely perfect, I shook my head as I finally put this aside then picked it up and read the end again…always a good sign.

For me this was a bit like a homage to “The Wicker Man” ( the movie based on Ritual by David Piner) – that was what it put me in mind of while I was reading, even though the two tales are VERY different, atmospherically speaking the pervading sense of menace it induced in me as a reader was very much the same as I experienced years ago watching the fantastic Edward Woodward trying to untangle the minutae of Summerisle – so in a way this was a nostalgic read, old school storytelling at its best.

Overall then an excellent reading experience that could be marketed as Young Adult or Adult and would definitely be enjoyed by both – Recommended for fans of mystery with a magical edge.
Profile Image for Raven.
723 reviews205 followers
January 12, 2015
Yes, this was an all too familiar storyline- family decamp to spooky old country residence, bumps in the night, nightmare visions, creepy yokels who delight in dropping teasers to the bloody history of new residence etc etc -but for all that, I rather enjoyed this ‘Secret of Crickley Hall-esque’ thriller. To be honest, the familiarity made this an easy, although discomforting read, and although Izzy and her mother were intensely annoying in parts, there was much pleasure to be gained from the local rumour-mongers, who were totally spot on with their characterisation, and added a nice chilling frisson to the whole affair. I also loved the bees. The bees are integral to the plot (and to the future of the human race- take note everyone) and I loved the role of these magical flying soothsayers, within the mystery. Read for the bees if nothing else, and Pateman’s assured building of atmosphere and tension throughout. The ending’s rather good too…
Profile Image for Dor.
102 reviews4 followers
January 3, 2015
I must begin this review by extending my congratulations to this book's PR person who rejected my request for it some months ago on NetGalley. You, dear person, are brilliant at your job. I began cackling wilding on the second page when the narrator characterised the pupils of Cheltenam Ladies College and other public schools as make-up free bluestockings. A few pages later, when we encounter the quaint rural types with their quaint rural ceremonies and bee gossip obsessions, I went to check if the author was American (he isn't). To suggest this book wasn't exactly my sort of thing would be the wildest of wild understatements.

The Prophecy of Bees is narrated by Izzy, the rebellious daughter of a late business-business man who was enobled by the Blair government for his various good works. Izzy's mother, an American who really enjoys being Lady Griffin-Clark, moves herself and her daughter to Stagcote Manor in darkest Cotswoldscestershire so Izzy can have a fresh crack at her A Levels without any of the behavioural problems which marred her first attempt. But Stagcote Manor may or may not have a Dark And Terrible Secret - the yokels call it Heartbreak Hall, all who live there are cursed, and Izzy finds rural life is governed by bizarre superstitions designed to keep people safe from something nobody will fully explain.

Dun dun duuuuuuuuun.

Although this book is marketed as adult fiction, it's not really. The first 2/3rds are a mixture of light ghost story and what I call YAngst Lit: YA books in which the MC has legitimate problems presented in a desirable way (self-harm is a typical example), and which are dealt with maximum of drama and minimum of personal responsibility. YAngst Lit always has a parent figure who makes the decisions, often giving the pseudo-adult-aged MC something else to feel aggrieved about. It's the kind of thing I loved as a 12/13-year-old and a genre I mined in many a piece of exceptionally bad X Files fan fiction.

So, when she's not trying to uncover details of the supposed curse, Izzy mourns the loss of her wannabe rock-star boyfriend Cosmo and the baby her mother 'forced' her to abort, but she does so with all the emotional engagement of somebody who's missed out on the latest iphone. The abortion in particular only matters as a way to punish her mother, or when Izzy wants to feel hard done by. Izzy should be 17 (I don't think it's specified) which means she can legally leave school, get a job, and acquire a place to store as many sprogs as she cares to pop out, but she's too busy Gothing up in an attempt to embarrass her mother to consider any of these things.

The other trouble is that the voice is not that of a 17-year-old girl, especially not one as immature as Izzy, so the whine never felt deliberate. I'm all for an unlikeable, even bratty, narrators, especially ones whose personal problems have given their sense of entitlement a good inflate (see Gillian Flynn's first two novels, Dark Places and Sharp Objects), but Izzy just felt thin. She was all about telling rather than showing, about how she had done X, Y, or Z, but it was never the voice of somebody who had done that. Nor did I get the sense we were supposed to doubt her validity as a narrator. It's a pacey book which sits largely on the surface: Izzy mentally makes accusations she retracts in the next paragraph so there's no time to digest it or suggestion you should question what she's doing or how accurately she's narrating it.

As far as the actual story goes ... well, that wasn't going to be my thing either. One of the reasons I dislike YA is the element of wish fulfilment you often find in it - the MC is always the most important person in the world in some crucial way - and The Prophecy of Bees suffers this bigtime. Izzy is at the centre of everything: she is the only one who can hear the scratching in the walls; she is the one who engages with the superstitions; she is the one who becomes determined to discover the truth about Stagcote. Again, it doesn't feel like a deliberate narcissism, more that the other characters aren't engaged with anything when they're off-screen. The convenience of Izzy's progress is well disguised by the excellent pacing, but I was never on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen.

It doesn't help that I grew up in the kind of small town this book is set in, complete with a t'big house and a t'Lord and t'Lady of t'Manor who hosted t'village events. A book demands a reader suspend their disbelief but for me the idea that there exists a village full of forelock tugging yokels whose every move is governed by superstitions and traditions which have existed for, oh gosh, ages, is hilarious. I understand why The Wicker Man is considered a cult classic, but that film (the original version) makes me cackle even harder than the second page of this book did. At least Summerisle was remote and Scottish and their gene pool was small. Cheltenham has a Waitrose.

I get it, really I do. In my childhood town we frequently used our free time to try and summon the devil (the internet hadn't been invented yet). I've lived a lot of places and know more local traditions than you can shake a mare's skull at, but you're either going to have the temperament to sit through 350 pages of wide-eyed women insisting the MC must drink apple juice through her nose to prevent badgers eating her feet in the night, or you're me and regard it as somewhere between derivative and entertainingly stupid. I didn't get why Izzy should believe any of it - there are lots of reasons she could have but none came through in the book.

I also had my pedantry sensors tripped more than once, particularly when Izzy arranges a funeral for a skeleton she has found. I had to research funerals last year so I can tell you with some confidence that what she organises would have been over three thousand pounds without the extra cost of her chosen coffin, payable up front. It's not mentioned how she pays for it and it matters not only because I am a pedant who makes petty complaints, but because it shows the author isn't applying real-world logic to their characters. If they aren't thinking about who their characters are and what they are able to do, even on a day-to-day basis, how am I going to take them seriously? It's not just this either, every mention of 'Lady Lindy' was a minor irritation (because she isn't and it matters, dammit).

If you have a tolerance for immature YA heroines with controlling mothers and can sit straight-faced through stuff like The Blair Witch Project, you may well enjoy this. There's huge potential for a film version which I'm confident I wouldn't like either, but I, despite the efforts of the marketing team, am really not the audience for this. It was entertaining enough and I'm not put off giving something else by this author a whirl, but due to the deeply stupid ending this one gets 1.5 stars.
Profile Image for Katherine Marson.
55 reviews1 follower
September 16, 2014
I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of this book and was so glad I did.

Izzy is a typical 17yr old, believing the world is unfair and she is being harshly treated by her mother. Force to move away to a seemingly quiet place where her new house is supposedly jinxed and the locals have bizarre habits and superstitions is only the start of things to come. To begin with, Izzy laughs off this superstitious nonsense but when strange noises wake her up in the middle of the night and a shocking discovery is made, can it really be just that?

With twists and turns this book will keep you gripped and surprised until the very end.
Profile Image for Chava.
372 reviews
February 3, 2016
Interesting, intriguing, don't see this necessarily as a YA book. I enjoyed the plot change, didn't fully see that one coming. Slightly predictable, but enjoyable nonetheless.
Profile Image for Cassie Pearson.
17 reviews1 follower
January 29, 2017
This 330+ page book, with all its typos and its angsty teen protagonist, would have been better suited as a novella -- or better yet, a short story.
Profile Image for Michael  Dawson .
219 reviews10 followers
March 17, 2021
The reason I did not like this book and what put me off reading it was that there was no chapters and with no chapters meant that I would not know where I was up to when I started again that really put me off reading this book
Profile Image for Gill's likes reading.
148 reviews13 followers
November 12, 2014
☕️☕️☕️☕️ FANTASTIC!! (rating based as a YA novel)

Izzy is teen, trying to find her own identity kicking back at Mum, Lady Lindy GiffinClark. A fresh start sees Lindy move the household to Stagcote Manor in the middle of nowhere. A move that turns out to be more sinister than refreshing.


What I liked best about this book?

I love the character of Izzy I because I have met 'her' many times when I was a support worker with young adults. When you love a guy who is exciting, in a band and wrapped up in music, it is hard to cope emotionally when he is no longer around. Cosmo understood Izzy, and made her feel like she was a special someone. The agony of being misunderstood is very well portrayed in her character. I love the way Izzy describes her struggling relationship with her mother and how she feels:
Me looking the way I do is all about me, not her…

….because it made no space for who I wanted to be.

There are so many beautiful passages in this book that has real resonance with the difficulties of being a young adult, I could pick out many but reading them would be more enjoyable, I promise you. Pateman has great way of capturing the essence of each of the characters which is pleasurable to read.

Now, her mother is taking her away from London into the countryside, away from the buzz of the city into the countryside and enrolling her in a private school to ‘start afresh’ where she knows she will not fit in.

This a tense suspense and horror story, the manor they move to is exactly how you want a spooky manor to be, with a village and villagers to match. Lindy, her mother thinks life is going to be better for two of them but she knows nothing yet! I was on the edge of my chair eager to read what happens next.

The village is so full of weird folklore customs and rituals that it scares the living daylights out of housekeeper Olga when she is told of the things she must not do to incur the ‘curse’; and then the bees need to be told every piece of gossip going to keep them happy and old Cedric sees to that.

Twin sisters, Brenda and Glenda the help for Olga the housekeeper are wonderfully odd and dark, and Cedric (who incidentally sounded in my head like Joe Grundy from BBC Radio 4 The Archers!) was crazily eccentric but they all had an undercurrent of something hauntingly unwholesome about them.

Stagcote Manor is a hodgepodge of a building with bits added in different centuries adding to the dark spaces and undercurrents, and when Izzy hears noises in her bedroom at night she embarks on a journey she feels compelled to follow unearthing some dark secrets that have serious consequence.

The description at the beginning of Stagcote Manor is the start of what’s to come.
It’s so remote and empty that night snaps over it like a lid.

I love a good spooky tale and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up as I read this novel.

The bits that did not quite work for me:

The very start with ‘The gun doesn’t make me feel any safer…’ felt alien to the rest of the novel, I couldn’t connect the gun scene to anything specific in the book so it seemed out of place.

I also felt the the title was a little misleading as I was waiting for the bees to swarm or be malevolent and become a major part of the story but it didn’t happen.

Although this is marketed as an Adult book it more suited as a Young Adult Psychological/folklore and suspense genre, and is clearly a great novel for that market.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Would I recommend this book! YES Definitely

Many thanks to the publisher via NetGalley for an early copy in return for my honest review.

Profile Image for Joanne Sheppard.
442 reviews42 followers
February 22, 2015
Having been obsessed with the folk horror genre ever since I was a child, I was quite excited to see that RS Pateman, author of The Second Life of Amy Archer, has written a novel about a girl and her mother moving to a Gloucestershire village full of insular, superstitious locals, unsettling rural traditions and grim local legends.

On the other hand, my folk horror nerdery is so extreme that it's also quite hard to please me with this sort of story: get it wrong, and I will burn you to death in a giant wicker man.

It's fortunate, then, that Pateman gets it very much right with The Prophecy of Bees. The eerie atmosphere builds with just the right momentum, and the plot, which centres around rumours of a curse placed upon a Tudor manor house now occupied by teenager Izzy and her American mother Lindy, is satisfying.

It's fair to say you will find just about every genre trope here: Izzy is warned about the curse by a group of villagers in the local pub, which meant I could picture the landlord as perennial Hammer innkeeper Michael Ripper, and someone actually does say 'you mark my words' at one point'. Ghostly scratchings, hidden bones, midsummer rituals, standing stones, coded manuscripts, things in sevens, creepy twins, weird sacrifices and bizarre superstitions can all be found here.

But this is absolutely not a bad thing. It is, in fact, exactly what you should want from a story like this and as such I enjoyed every page. This is a book that doesn't appear to pretend to be anything it's not, and it's all the better for it. I wasn't immensely surprised by the final revelation, but at the same time, there's enough ambiguity to leave the reader with plenty to think about at the story's conclusion. What, exactly, is real here? Are the villagers right to fear the curse apparently placed on Stagcote Manor, or is the curse the fear itself?

Izzy's role as narrator means we spend a great deal of time in her company, and fortunately she is convincingly written and well constructed as a character. Having read many a novel in which a male author makes a terrible of job of writing young women, I was pleased to see that RS Pateman did an excellent job here. Moreover, it would have been easy for Izzy to be terribly annoying: the daughter of titled multi-millionaires, she is a teenage rebel who smokes roll-ups, resents her mother, wears too much black eyeliner and falls for boys who live in squats and play in bands. And yet somehow she still comes across as flawed and genuinely troubled rather than merely brattish and spoilt, which is no mean feat on the author's part.

Her mother Lindy, too, is far less irritating than she might have been, even seen through Izzy's critical eyes. Misguided and overbearing she may be, but she does ultimately have what she believes to be Izzy's best interests at heart. The relationship between mother and daughter makes an interesting counterpoint to the main plot.

The Prophecy of Bees an excellent chiller that's part supernatural horror, part psychological thriller. It's appropriately paced, packed with memorable moments and remarkably sinister detail, and builds to a tense climax. Despite an obviously contemporary setting - mobile phones, social media, Latvian housekeepers - it also has something of the feel of the best British horror of the 1970s about it, which I mean in a way that's entirely complimentary.
Profile Image for Christine.
831 reviews147 followers
September 1, 2016
Many thanks to RS Pateman for my review copy of this book.

Lindy decides to move out of London with her troubled teenage daughter, Izzy. Izzy is resentful at being forced to move to the old manor house in Stagcote, a rather isolated village. She finds her new home increasingly disturbing and the locals rather strange, with their rituals and superstitious beliefs. Izzy is drawn into the mysteries and superstitions, questioning whether there is any truth in them. Is there evil at work? Is there a curse on the manor house?

The strength of this book and what draws you in are the superstitions and a pervading sense of evil. As a reader, you really get a sense of the hold the ancient superstitions have on the locals and how this clashes with modern day thinking. I loved the notion of the bees being charmed and talked to, by one of the odd villagers.

As the central character, Izzy is rather annoying initially, as she clashes with her mother. She soon comes into her own, on a crusade to find out what is going on. I was willing her on.

This is a classic ‘strangers move into an odd locality and anything can happen’ scenario. It reminded me of those horror movies of the past. Pateman does an incredible job creating a creepy atmosphere and escalating the tension. I really did not see the ending coming. Appropriate and chilling.
Profile Image for Sam.
3,180 reviews235 followers
November 25, 2016
Having stumbled across this one on Goodreads and not having heard of Pateman before, I didn't really know what to expect. And as I started reading I began thinking that this would another run of the mill teen horror/thriller that wouldn't leave much of an impression. You know I do love it when an author proves me wrong. While the basic premise is a familiar tale of youth gone bad, family moves and village ghost stories, there is something in the way Pateman writes and the presence of the bees that takes this up a notch, sending chills down your spine and goosebumps across your skin. Izzy and her mother also managed to balance out being bother incredibly annoying and amazingly endearing so you end up rooting both for and against them (a strange sensation I can tell you). But what I really liked about this was the ending. It had a feel of James, Stoker and Poe about it, leaving a word of warning for the reader as well as leaving a lingering sense of dread. And of course the bees, I love bees and Pateman does them justice in many ways in this book, both practically and otherwise. An excellent read.
Profile Image for Angela.
451 reviews13 followers
November 22, 2014
I'm not sure how much detail is required in a review. Is it my opinion people want? An essay regarding the story? Personally I think the synopsis outlines the story & reviews give an indication of how absorbing/interesting/entertaining etc the story was. Am I right or wrong? I'd love to hear what others think.

This book was a pleasant surprise. I loved it from the start. It is based in the area I live, so I recognised places that were mentioned, and it was based on a subject that I'm interested in-namely superstitions and the validity of them. I am a bit of a sceptic because I like to see evidence of claims, but I don't disbelieve and figure there's no harm in taking precautions. For example, when I see 1 magpie on its own, I will salute it while saying; "Good morning Mr Magpie". This is because a magpie on its own is considered bad luck and although I have no proof of this, I don't see a problem with taking precautions. Am I mad?
Anyway, the book was great fun and the end a little unexpected. I highly recommend The Prophecy of the Bees.
Profile Image for Vikki.
17 reviews
January 4, 2015
I won an advance copy of this book.

I was torn between 3 & 4 stars, but at the moment I've went for 3 on the basis that I enjoyed my 4 star books a bit more.

I liked the concept of this book. The superstitions and customs in Stagcote were interesting, I'd have liked to learn more about them.

Izzy perhaps isn't the most likeable main character, but I did like how the relationship between Izzy & her mum was portrayed. It captured some of the difficulties a teenager can go through. There was just one particular incident that for me didn't quite fit in my with my take on Izzy's character.

The ending wasn't what I was expecting, but I did like it.

But for me, I don't think the suspense was sustained enough for me throughout this book. At times, yes it was there, and mostly with the last few chapters. If I'd felt the suspense constantly I'd probably have gave this book the 4th star.
Profile Image for Lynsey Passmore.
98 reviews48 followers
March 3, 2015
Undeniably this book has tension and pace. For me though it was a little too familiar, a little too overplayed and there were too many quite large and unbelievable plot holes.
22 reviews
January 18, 2022
Great read…keeps you interested. I kinda figured who the ‘culprit’ was but didn’t see the ending!
Profile Image for Andrea.
271 reviews24 followers
March 18, 2018
The only child of a widow, Isabella is distraught when the family home is sold after the death of her much loved father. Izzy understood that her parents might not have been entirely happy together, and that her father could have been a better husband, but this has not lessened her affection for his memory. Mother Lindy, on the other hand, is all for making a fresh start and takes charge of relocating her daughter as far as she can away from the clutches of Izzy’s flaky musician boyfriend. Stagcote Manor is purchased, a new private school for girls is inspected and before Izzy can blink, they have made the move to a quaint little village that views the Manor and its residents, past and present, with wary suspicion.

One of Izzy’s first encounters with her new neighbours is not positive – an errant bee from the hives takes a stab at the front of the Stagcote estate. The villagers seem to be from an age long past where seasonal customs and rituals are diligently observed – lest they curry the disfavour of the listening bees. At first this is laughable to Izzy and Lindy. But, in the effort of wanting to fit in, the women accept that these are just the traditions of a isolated village. It is not long after their arrival before Izzy hears the scratching in the walls and the dark history of Stagcote comes rattling to the surface.

There are few things more appealing for a mystery reader to encounter than an English setting which includes a haunted house, creepy villagers, a family curse and some creepy chimney scratching in the middle of the night. It could fairly be considered a hard task to avoid being formulaic in the creation of a work with such standard ingredients. Author R.S. Pateman has avoided this trap in THE PR0PHECY OF BEES by introducing Izzy, an angsty teenager with too much time on her hands and a mind that is crying out to be filled with the superstition of her new acquaintances.

Making a dive into the read of this book, the target market is not immediately apparent as some serious issues are raised early on; death, teenage pregnancy, child murder etc. It is more an English (woo-woo, spooky) mystery novel that just happens to have a teenage protagonist. This does limit the scope somewhat though as Izzy’s teenage mind does jump to a lot of conclusions and she is superbly self-involved (as all teenagers generally are). It gives us eyes untainted (mostly – Izzy has been through a bit prior to the events in THE PROPHECY OF BEES) by adult experiences. It is a fresh viewpoint, and in this aspect, the approach definitely works.

Secondary but important characters like the American mother Lindy are not given much page time as Izzy ramps up her crusade of discovery about Stagcote - though understandably this may have meant that the brakes of sense would then have been applied to Izzy, as the increasingly over wrought teen gets more caught up in her new beliefs and investigations.

A lot more could have been done though with the setting and villagers in order to add weight to the book and create a more threatening atmosphere; THE PROPHECY OF BEES did need the bolstering of such support. More thought perhaps could have gone into the story’s resolution and not just its conclusion as the “why” does not entirely satisfy. Dormant superstitious beliefs and the burst of action towards the novel’s end, steeped in melodrama, do not convince and seemed rushed.
Secondary but important characters like the American mother Lindy are not given much page time as Izzy ramps up her crusade of discovery about Stagcote though understandably this may have meant the brakes of sense would have been applied to Izzy as she gets more caught up in her beliefs and investigations.

THE PROPHECY OF BEES won’t tax you too much and if you’re a lover of village mysteries, you will enjoy the ride into darkness with Izzy.
Profile Image for A Reader's Heaven.
1,592 reviews26 followers
January 13, 2018
(I received a free copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.)

Moving to Stagcote Manor was meant to be a fresh start for Lindy and her teenage daughter Izzy. A chance at a new life in the country after things went so wrong in London. But for Izzy it is a prison sentence.
There's something about the house that she can't quite put her finger on. Something strange and unnerving. As Izzy begins to explore the manor and the village beyond its walls, she discovers the locals have a lot of bizarre superstitions and beliefs. Many of them related to the manor . . . and those who live there.
When Izzy begins to investigate the history of the estate, her unease deepens to fear as the house's chilling past finally comes to light.

Well, that went badly for me. Another book I have read recently that seems to have fallen down the big hole in the ground marked "CLICHES" and never even bothered to try and crawl back out again...

Let's go to the scoreboard shall we?

* Angsty teenager who blames her mother for every problem...ever.
* Small village where every resident is a quirky, oddball, nutter who live their lives by superstition
* A cursed home (which, of course, the angsty teen feels obliged to investigate)
* Big reveal happens with info dumps, brought to you by dreadful dialogue.

Was there any pacing and character development? Some. But not a great deal.
Was there any moments of surprise? Does the fact that I finished it count?
Would I ever read it again? Nope, never again.

Profile Image for Mel.
209 reviews
July 12, 2020
So I loved this! As a longtime fan of the things that go bump in the night this was suitably creepy! It was light enough to be a fun read but clever enough to make me think about it when I wasn't reading. Throw in some surprise plot twists and I'm sold.
Profile Image for Hanna.
33 reviews
October 8, 2017
What a book!!! Locked myself away to read! Couldn’t put it down. !
Profile Image for Fay.
19 reviews
February 4, 2018
Boring, predictable, unbelievable, unlikeable characters.
Profile Image for CJ.
28 reviews
November 4, 2022
Slow pacing, especially at the beginning and middle. The ending was great, what a plot twist, and love how it wasn’t fully resolved. Should have included more bee-ness and bee references.
Profile Image for Brit McCarthy.
758 reviews49 followers
November 25, 2014
Thank you to the publisher for providing this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This did not alter my review in any way.

CREEPY ALERT. This was a fun read. I like to be creeped out. I like to be kept guessing and wondering, even if I end up second guessing everything I thought about the book in the end and then to have it all turned around. Then, listen for it, that shout of “I KNEW IT!” This is why you shouldn’t watch movies with me. If I’m like this when I read, just imagine what I’m like when I’m with other people (clue: can never shut up).

So The Prophecy of Bees was way further down on my list because it’s release date wasn’t until the end of November (and I read this is October) but there’s a story and a half there. In the short version, I was separated from the book I was reading right before I was about to get on an hour and a half train journey home. I had my tablet with me and the only galley I had downloaded that I hadn’t read was this one (don’t ask me why I hadn’t downloaded the others with sooner release dates, my logic is obviously flawed). So off I went!

The Prophecy of Bees is a story of secrets, curses and crazy villagers. Izzy and her mother move into the empty manor house in a village named Stagcote, far away from their lives in London, after Izzy’s father died (we’re not really told why, except that he worked himself to death, or something like that). As well as dealing with that, Izzy is trying to cope with her mother, who she doesn’t get along with. Izzy’s past is dark and we slowly learn why. She’s not impressed with their move out to the middle of nowhere but her mum wants a fresh start for both of them to reconnect. As the two of them settle into their new life, Izzy learns more of the villagers superstitions, which she laughs off at first. But then strange things start to happen at the manor, and she starts to investigate. It turns out she is right to be uneasy…

I didn’t really connect with the characters in this book. I felt for them, particularly Izzy and her mother Lindy, because they were both so damaged but their past and by each other, dealing with their personal demons while trying to deal with each other. But I didn’t connect. Maybe because the whole situation was just a bit crazy and they were both unlikeable. That didn’t stop me from enjoying the story though, even when Izzy got a bit whiny. I liked the creepy factor, the history of the manor, those weird villagers. It wasn’t a bad read at all, but when Izzy started to investigate I didn’t really understand some of her jumps in logic – even when her conclusions were correct, they were still big leaps and I would have liked to follow her thought process a bit more. But then she was a drama-filled and hysterical kind of girl, so it does keep in character for her.

Izzy was a deeply troubled girl, leaving behind a boy in London who had stopped calling her, and she is a bit of a mess. I appreciated the character development, slight that it may have been, but there was a lot of potential for her. TOO BAD SOME THINGS HAPPEN. Trying to be no spoilers haha! The slow rebuild of her relationship with her mother was nice to see, but unfortunately we were mostly told that it was happening rather than seeing it. It’s kinda sad because if it weren’t for the strange happenings and Izzy going a bit off the deep end, being in the country might have been good for their relationship, which had been strained since Izzy hit her teens and decided to rebel against parental authority and all her mother wanted her to be, which included dating the older Cosmo, who was in a band and didn’t seem to do much else. Poor, naïve Izzy, I did feel for her as she nursed her broken heart, because there was a bit more to it than we realised at first.

The ending was awesome. So fitting and while I knew something was coming (and predicted who was behind it), I didn’t expect it go down like that. It was so good!

Profile Image for Laura.
922 reviews71 followers
January 6, 2015
** Original review posted on www.snazzybooks.com **

The Prophecy of Bees by R.S. Bateman tells the story of Isabella, a teen who is NOT happy about having to move from busy London into a big old house in a country village, a decision made by her mother who she lives with. She soon learns of local superstitions, tales and curses regarding her house and the danger her and her mother might be in. She doesn't believe any of them - or at least not to start with...

Bateman does a really good job of creating atmosphere in this novel. I really enjoyed reading about the different rituals and superstitions that the villagers have and the research Isabella does into the symbols she finds around the village, and the way they are often intrinsically linked with the Bible. The idea of a new family moving into a sprawling stately house which is rumoured to be haunted, and take on staff who are all very strange and warn of secrets the house contains, feels like it’s come right out of a gothic horror story, and often reads like one.

The Prophecy of Bees struck me as more of a Young Adult book, though I suppose that’s really more to do with the narrative voice in the novel. The book’s speaker Isabella is portrayed as a typical troubled teenager and you can't help but be very aware of this throughout the novel; one of the main reasons being that she whines so much! She's pissed off that she has to leave her boyfriend Cosmo behind, she's pissed off that she's cut off from her friends and old life in London, and most of all she's pissed off that she's stuck in the big creaky old house with her mum, who she really does not get along with, and a whole array of weird locals who keep warning her about curses and ghosts. She writes like a teenager so because of this I wouldn’t say the novel is written fantastically, but the story is conveyed well nonetheless.

Isabella got on my nerves a bit but seems to grow up a bit as the novel continues and grew in my estimations. The fact that she was a bit unpredictable and still quite young added a sense of confusion and peril to the story.

Although Isabella is quite annoying and I would feel sorry for her mum having to put up with her, Isabella’s mum is actually equally as annoying, if not more - she is snobby, obsessed with status and social and seems to ignore most of what her daughter says or feels. Because of this I didn't feel overly concerned for mother or daughter’s welfare, despite the various dangers and threats that become apparent as the book continues. Despite this, the story was very entertaining.

I liked the ending which was quite different and had a good twist to it. One thing I would say though is that I wouldn't list it as 'for fans of Gone Girl and Before I Go To Sleep’ (as it is described by the publisher) as I really don't see how it's like those books at all, they’re too different to compare really in my opinion.

The Prophecy of Bees is a tense, atmospheric novel bursting with symbolism and a strong sense of creepiness. Easy and enjoyable to read, I sped through this in a few days.

** Many thanks to the publisher for the advance copy of this book which I received in return for an honest review **
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