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The Beekeeper's Secret

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Maria Lindsey has secrets to hide. Living on top of a secluded mountain is a good way to hide from the world... until her past begins to track her down. The surprising and intriguing new novel about the astounding secrets we keep from those we love.

'Maria knew about guilt. It was a stubborn, pervasive and toxic emotion, and incredibly difficult to shake. Especially if really, deep down, you didn't think you deserved to let it go.'

Maria Lindsey is content. She spends her solitary days tending her bees and creating delicious honey products to fund orphaned children. A former nun, her life at Honeybee Haven has long been shaped by her self-imposed penance for terrible past events. But the arrival of two letters heralds the shattering of Maria's peaceful existence.

Pushing aside the misgivings of her family and friends, Tansy Butterfield, on the eve of her marriage, made a serious deal with her adored husband, Dougal. A deal she'd intended to honour. But, seven years on, Tansy is finding her current feelings difficult to ignore. And on top of those not-really-there feelings, Dougal wants to move to Canada!

With captivating characters and an intriguingly tangled mystery, The Beekeeper's Secret celebrates families in all their joys and complications.

362 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2016

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About the author

Josephine Moon

10 books323 followers
Hello! I live in the Noosa hinterland in Australia and now have the great pleasure of writing warm-hearted, feel good, contemporary fiction books for a living. I am Autistic and ADHD. I am published in Australia, NZ, UK, Ireland, Norway, Greece and Germany. I'm so grateful to everyone who buys and reads my books. Thank you!

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 163 reviews
Profile Image for Brenda.
4,227 reviews2,730 followers
January 15, 2021
Honeybee Haven had been seventy year old Maria Lindsey’s home for a long time. Since she left the Church, she managed Honeybee Haven, caring for her bees as well as making soaps and other products to sell at the markets. The honey was also sold, made into mead, honey butter and more. Maria loved her job as it incorporated cabins where people stayed, activities they participated in – everything was done to support the orphaned children's charity in Cambodia. But Maria had secrets which she’d told no one before or since leaving the order. An ex-nun, she felt her punishment was to hide herself away, working to help the many people who needed it.

Tansy and Dougal Butterfield were happy in their lives. Dougal’s son Leo was close to his father and Tansy, and although Dougal was much older than she was and their decision on their marriage not to have children was solid, Tansy was soon to turn thirty and she felt something was changing inside her. And when Dougal told Tansy that his company wanted him to move to Canada for two years, she was shocked. What about her career, her family? She had also recently discovered a family member who’d been estranged from her family for sixty years – Tansy’s thoughts were in turmoil…

The Beekeeper’s Secret by Aussie author Josephine Moon was exceptional. I loved it – it flowed gently over me; the perfect book after the previous one! Two very topical items led this story – the Catholic Church and bees. And the blending of the two was expertly done. I found Maria’s character along with Tansy’s, beautifully written. I knew them; I travelled with them from Noosa to Brisbane and from Noosa up the mountain to Honeybee Haven. I’ve been on Hastings Street – the main street of Noosa – and walked along the beach. The Beekeeper’s Secret wrapped itself around me and gave me a hug – highly recommended.
Profile Image for Sharon.
1,049 reviews196 followers
November 22, 2021
The Beekeeper’s Secret by Aussie author Josephine Moon is a beautiful and well thought out story. The depth of this story took me by surprise and I was instantly drawn into the book with relatable characters and a setting I could easily visualize. An engaging story of family, secrets and let’s not forget the bees which were very interesting and as you follow the story you find out quite a bit about honey making and beekeeping.

I have read a few books by this author and have enjoyed them all including this one. Recommended.

Profile Image for Dale Harcombe.
Author 14 books318 followers
February 7, 2017
Four and a half stars
Don’t let the colourful chick lit type cover put you off this one. There are a lot more layers to this story and some of it covering serious topics. Maria Lindsay is an ex nun living with a mountain of guilt for events that happened many years earlier. These days she is in charge of Honeybee Haven, where she tends her beehives and creates honey products with the money raised going to help orphaned children. But then her niece Tansy tracks her down by letter wanting to meet her and know why she has no contact with her sisters and the rest of the family. Around the same time another threatening letter appears and Maria realises after all this time the truth and the shameful past is about to spill out and need to be dealt with.
I was immediately drawn into this story, wanting to know about the secret from Maria’s past and why Tansy’s mother Enid wants no contact with Maria. Both Tansy and Maria are interesting characters. I learned a lot about the habits of bees and beekeeping. While I am not about to go and get any hives, it was interesting. Also loved the little aside about collective nouns which appears quite early in the book. Who could not be drawn in by, ’A flamboyance of flamingos,’ or scared by ’a shiver of sharks?’ And then there were the deeper themes of family secrets and more importantly secrets that involved those in positions of authority and the dreadful impact on many lives – something that is very much in the news at the moment. This book thoroughly engaged me. My only quibble was towards the end at a family gathering, when so many disparate family secrets came tumbling out one after the other. It seemed a bit farcical the way it all happened. But that small blip aside, this is a book I would recommend reading and see if it doesn’t get you in and manage to involve your emotions. It did mine. This is the third book I have read by this author and my favourite of the three because of the deeper themes involved. It is an engrossing read.
Profile Image for Veronica ⭐️.
1,022 reviews205 followers
May 27, 2016
Moon has managed to take two topical yet unrelated subjects, the decline in the number of bees and abuse in the Catholic church, meld them together and make it not sound contrived.

The characters are convincingly flawed and the story has a strong theme of family and secrets. And not only the beekeeper has secrets. Each family member has their own problem that they are silently dealing with. These are problems that a lot of readers can relate to on a personal level. The secrets all come tumbling out at an impromptu family gathering which ended up like a group confession. A late twist is expertly plotted that will take all but the most astute readers by surprise.

Moon has written a story that is very Australian in its setting. The beaches, the cafes, the mountains and the outback all come to life with her vivid descriptions.

A story of family, marriage, give and take and secrets amidst a bevy of bees.

With my thanks to Goodreads giveaways and Allen & Unwin for my copy to read and review.

Profile Image for Marianne.
3,500 reviews178 followers
March 23, 2016
The Beekeeper’s Secret is the third book by Australian author, Josephine Moon. Tansy Butterfield is about to turn thirty, and she wants to turn her birthday party into a reunion for extended family. Her mother Enid, and her aunt Florrie have been estranged from their sister Maria ever since she left home, aged sixteen, to enter the convent. Unbeknownst to the sisters, Tansy has managed to track down the former nun to Honeybee Haven in the Noosa hinterland, only an hour’s drive away.

Maria Lindsey is happy tending to her hives, her guest cottages and her honey products for the markets because every cent goes to a Cambodian Orphanage. When Tansy’s letter arrives, Maria is hesitant: she’s not at all sure she wants to get involved with a niece she has never met, especially if it means seeing her sisters again, because she knows she doesn’t deserve the comfort of family. If she needed a reminder of that, the official letter that came in the same mail brings it resoundingly home.

Maria knows events will soon leave her no choice, but Tansy’s surprise visit to Honeybee Haven presents her with a sympathetic ear: she feels it is time to share her guilty secret. What will happen to the Orphanage’s only source of income when the secret she has kept so long is finally revealed?

George Harvey is the Investigating Officer for Prosecutor Blaine Campbell, and he is determined to see their high-profile defendant prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The crimes may be forty years old, but he is confident of getting witness testimony that will put the offender behind bars. But the exhumation that results from his hunch yields a surprise or two, as does the confession of a certain witness.

When her secret meetings with Maria are revealed, the family gathers at Tansy’s home to demand answers, and suddenly everyone is revealing things they have withheld: pregnancy (out of fear of the results of early genetic tests), long-distance relocation necessitated by work and doubts about career choices leading to Uni course deferral. Family members are confessing to infidelity leading to possible divorce, faecal incontinence and losing their lifelong religious faith.

Readers may be confident of knowing Maria’s secret early on, but Moon gives them a twist that few will see coming. Her characters are appealing and realistically flawed; their dialogue is natural; and the setting is expertly conveyed. Moon touches on a very topical subject as well as some age-old ones. There is an abundance of secrets, some necessarily kept because there was no alternative; there is plenty of guilt, and, of course, there are bees, lots of bees. An interesting, thought-provoking and heart-warming read.
With thanks to TheReadingRoom and Allen&Unwin for this copy to read and review.
Profile Image for Karen ⊰✿.
1,415 reviews
October 25, 2019
This is an easy read set on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland where Maria (ex nun and beekeeper) is reunited with her niece, Tansy.
Tansy is 30 and has never met Maria before but is determined to try and find out more about her and bring her into the family. At the same time Tansy has some major life decisions to make and so the two stories of Maria's past and Tansy's present interweave.
What I loved was the descriptions of beekeeping and bees. Fascinating! The rest of the story was... a little less engaging but not terrible. A nice read when you don't want to think too much :)
Profile Image for Kylie H.
944 reviews
July 24, 2021
This is the first book I have read by Josephine Moon and I am looking forward to reading more.
In this book Tansy is about to turn 30. She has managed to track down an Aunt, Maria, who has been estranged from the family for more than 40 years, have not spoken to her sisters since she left the family home to become a nun. Maria is not happy that Tansy has tracked her down to Honeybee Haven where she runs a quiet retreat and her beehives to raise money for a Cambodian orphanage.
It soon becomes apparent that Maria harbours a big secret and is now fearful it will come to light and destroy the life that she lives to serve the orphans. Will Tansy be the support she needs or a thorn in her side that will make matters worse?
This review is very light on the other characters, but there are many members of the family who find themselves at a pivot point in their lives and this book explores them all in lovely and sometimes heart breaking way.
A lovely story about family, faith and bees.
Profile Image for Sharon J.
466 reviews37 followers
March 14, 2016
A heart-felt and delightful story set on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland in Australia. Truly loved the setting and found the characters captivating and the story embroiled with family secrets! Maria and Tansy are wonderfully contrasted and developed throughout the story. Loved the beekeeping information which was scattered throughout the story - would have been great to have some of the honey recipes added at the end too. The Catholic Church aspect was not so pleasant but was obviously an important element of the developing scenario, including the issue of the past catching up with the present!
The publisher’s blurb is an excellent introduction and raises some of the key components of the story.
An enjoyable and easy book to read. Highly recommended.

Thank you to The Reading Room and publisher Allen & Unwin for an ARC to read and review.
Profile Image for MichelleG.
397 reviews97 followers
February 7, 2017
The Beekeeper's Secret is quite an expansive story. Josephine Moon weaves together issues of Mystery, Murder, Scandals, Family secrets, Ecological decline, Religious embargo's and exploitation, in such a way that within the pages the story unfolds to reveal a plot that is so clever and complexly woven together that you are simply compelled along with this convincingly flawed yet endearing set of characters. I thoroughly enjoyed the enigmatic labyrinth that is this book.
Profile Image for Shelleyrae at Book'd Out.
2,489 reviews517 followers
June 7, 2019
The Beekeeper’s Secret is a thoughtful and engaging story of family, secrets, guilt and redemption.

“Now it seemed that what they said was true, that the past would indeed always catch up with you—especially if you had something to hide.”

Though Maria Lindsey has spent decades attempting to atone for her mistakes, first as a nun, and now as the manager, and beekeeper, of Honeybee Haven, whose activities support a Cambodian orphanage, she has always known that the time would come when she would have to confess her sins. She just didn’t expect that the daughter of her estranged sister, Tansy, would be the first to hear the whole sordid tale.

Maria’s decades old secret is a shocking one, related to a topical issue that the author deals with sensitively. It’s a confronting subject, involving misconduct within the Catholic Church, which may be a trigger for some readers, and though the reader may make a guess at Maria’s experience, the truth is likely to be a surprise.

Maria may be ready to break her silence, but there is someone who is determined that she not say a word.

Tansy Butterfield has always wondered what caused the estrangement between her mother, Enid, aunt Florrie, and their eldest sister. With her thirtieth birthday coming up, she’s tracked down Maria, delighted to learn she has been living barely an hours drive away in the Noosa Hinterland, hoping to arrange a surprise reunion.

It is through Tansy, and her relationship with her husband, and her family, that Moon thoughtfully explores the complicated dynamics that unites, and divide, families. While Tansy is getting to know her aunt, she keeps the secret of Maria from her family, something that her mother in particular, is deeply hurt by, when the truth comes out at a family gathering.

Another large part of this novel is devoted to Maria’s role as a beekeeper, and though I’m vaguely aware of the importance of bees to the health of our environment, I found the tidbits of information Moon shared about their habits and behaviour interesting.

A heartfelt contemporary fiction novel with surprising complexity, given the colourful cover, I liked The Beekeeper’s Secret. As the tagline suggests, this is a story with a sting in its tale.
Profile Image for Sasha.
1,015 reviews12 followers
February 21, 2017
Got this one as a proof so am not going to give away the plot. I have read Moon's second book The Chocolate Promise which I really enjoyed. I like Moon's writing style and characters. I like how the characters in Moon's books are not isolated - you get a real sense of the way they are connected to family, friends and community - building a much more dimensional character than some other writers do.
This one deals with the very topical issue of child sex abuse within the Catholic church and the far reaching effects on everyone involved - it seems strange that such an easy to read book could deal with such a serious issue but it does it well.
I have to admit that as an atheist I did have trouble sympathising with some of the "dilemmas" of some of the characters (particularly Tansy's mum) as most of the angst comes directly from the nonsense the church loads people down with; BUT I also understand that MANY people are loaded down with that crap.
This book might bring up issues for those people affected by this.
From what I have just said book sounds really heavy but it is not. The focus on Family, friends and forgiveness makes this story very readable and enjoyable depiction of life in modern Australia.
I will be recommending this one to people who want a lighter style but not fluff.
Profile Image for Kathryn.
1,509 reviews249 followers
September 16, 2016
I first heard about The Beekeeper's Secret from Deborah over at the Debbish blog. Her review catapulted me into wanting to read it. Not long after I was down at our local bookshop to buy it and I must say there are no regrets!

Australian author Josephine Moon has written a wonderful book that touched me on many levels.
It is set on the Sunshine coast of Queensland and it was evocative of all that is beautiful there. While I have only visited for a short few days, this book brought it all back to me. The flora and fauna, the coast. It breathes Australia.
I loved all the characters. They are varied yet all dealing with very human challenges and life events. There are a number of secrets, family not speaking to each other for years, marital disagreement and disappointment. There are some who want to change their path.
One aspect of this book (gently related) is about the abuse of certain supposed men of God and the abuse and cover up in the Catholic church. It was really well done, and the aspect of secrecy well explored. While I personally have never come up against this, I know it has gone on in many parts of the world. Not just in the church of course.
In the book one character makes a decision about his participation in the church and I liked that. While the wife is very miffed to put it mildly I liked the stand he took. In fact I loved this aspect of the book from the very dedication... For my sister Amanda, who in 1981 was adamant she would wear a lolly-pink dress to her first Holy Communion, rather than a white dress, thereby forever being the pink sheep in the formal group photo. I so love her individual spirit.
Maria one of, if not the main character, is a strong and dedicated woman. A nun for many years, she has left her order and she now runs a business that keeps an orphanage in Cambodia running. Throughout the story her past is told - mainly to Tansy her niece, who finds her and wants to reconnect her with the family. And what a story!
As I was brought up in the Catholic church I identified with so much in this book and really liked the firm but respectful tone that the author takes in relation to it. It is balanced, positive, yet recognises some of it needs change. Not least in attitude - and to Finlay I say "I salute you". Such courage of conviction.
Bees. I loved all the bee facts, they weren't boring, they were informative and heartwarming. I already liked them, have lavender planted all about my place for them, but in this story I found them so delightful as well. There final salute had me swallowing hard.
I loved Tansy - she was determined to bring her family back together, had challenges to face and was a good friend and step mother. Look - I totally felt for 99% of the characters. You can guess the 1% I didn't!
I could go on and on. I know this book is published in Australia, the UK and NZ, but I am not sure about elsewhere. A pity if its not, it should be.
Profile Image for Kathryn.
846 reviews
July 12, 2017
Loved the setting for this one - Noosa, Noosaville, Eumundi, Wilston - all places I’m familiar with. Also loved the themes of repentance and forgiveness and how the bees are interwoven into the story.

There are some deep issues in this book, with abuse within the Catholic church being very topical, especially at the moment, and other issues involving resolution of conflict within families and reconciliation. But despite the heavy issues, it never felt like it was heavy going.

This is my second Josephine Moon and I’d love to see her write more books set around Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast hinterland!
Profile Image for Theresa Smith.
Author 5 books176 followers
September 12, 2017
The Beekeeper’s Secret was a really well thought out story, evenly paced, with likeable characters in honest situations. And the Beekeeper’s secret turned out to be quite a secret indeed, but Josephine Moon handled the unveiling of this in a timely fashion. Rather than drawing out its disclosure, she let us in on the secret quite early on and the story was all the richer for it.

It’s hard to review this novel without spoiling the story for others, so I feel a bit restricted in what comments I can fairly make. Suffice to say, the topic presented at the heart of this story was done so in a very sensitive and well thought out manner. Brought up Catholic and still tied loosely to my religion, I wasn’t sure how I would respond to the issues brought up in this novel, but I found myself appreciative of the author’s intent as well as her skill as a writer to take on such a subject without appearing to be pushing an agenda. Very well done. Josephine Moon has firmly lodged herself into my wall of favourites.

As to the bees. I didn’t know much about bees and honey making prior to reading this novel so I enjoyed all of the factual information that was woven into the story. There was a perfect balance of fact presented to compliment the fiction, a skill Josephine Moon certainly excels at. Likewise, the characters were enjoyable, Tansy endearing and Maria intriguing. I enjoyed Tansy’s relationship with her step-son; what could have been a difficult relationship to navigate owing to their close age gap was handled with grace and confidence by Tansy. She truly was a likeable character and I was championing for her right from the beginning. I was full of admiration for Maria and her situation certainly got my mind churning and thinking about other nuns who may have found themselves in similar scenarios. The supporting characters all filled their roles well and provided for lively scenes throughout.

The Beekeeper’s Secret was a book club pick and it turned out to be an ideal choice. There are plenty of issues, particularly of the moral variety, to discuss and disseminate, and the story on a whole is very engaging and heart warming throughout.
302 reviews6 followers
April 5, 2016
The Beekeeper’s Secret marks a slight departure in style for Australian author, Josephine Moon. In her third novel the writer has once again put together a vibrant and easy-to-read story about love, loss, family and friendship but this time around also manages to thread in some extra twists of suspense and mystery to the tale, as well tackling some dark and topical subject matter. This was ultimately an enjoyable book boasting some well-realised characters and hopefully this is not the last that readers will hear from this diverse and intriguing lot.

The story stars a kind-hearted and well-meaning former nun named Maria Lindsey. The latter likes nothing more than her solitary life tending to her honeybees and making honey-based products that she can sell at the local markets in order to raise funds for an orphanage in Cambodia. Maria is a likeable character who is also harbouring a number of terrible secrets. She is plagued by a sense of guilt and feels like she needs to continue in her quest for atonement.

Tansy Butterfield is a successful 30-year-old interior decorator and the estranged niece of Lindsey. She is suffering a mid-life crisis because she must reconsider her feelings and make some big decisions with respect to child-rearing and following her husband overseas. At the same time she also wants to establish a relationship with an aunt she’s never met and knows nothing about. If that’s not enough, Butterfield also has a tight-knit immediate family and they are battling a number of their own issues like loss of faith, infidelity, sick children and regrets about the past.

Moon’s story was a little slow to begin with but it really hit its stride in the middle and towards the end. The characters are rich and realistic ones like those found in Marian Keyes’s novels and the story is an interesting and relevant dramedy that contains added messages, meaning and metaphors thanks to the vivid descriptions of honeybees. In all, this book shows a dysfunctional family negotiating their way through rights, wrongs, cover-ups, lies and betrayals in a story that is like a pot of amber gold and a rather sweet family tale.
Profile Image for Loulou Szal.
9 reviews1 follower
March 11, 2016
Josephine Moon has cleverly written a timely story that complements the current media hype surrounding that most shocking of crimes; child molestation, concealed beneath the wings of the great Catholic Church, here in Australia.
She has added to this a sweet array of characters, all intertwined with their everyday, ordinary lives and she masterfully brings them together in such a way that we feel we are part of them, or they are part of our lives too.
"The Beekeeper's Secret" is easy to read and the characters are real yet all carry their own burden of guilt that they have to contend with and this is reflected in the bee hives and the behavioral antics of the tenant bees; all overseen by Maria, who has her own issues that go back to her days as a nun.
But once Maria meets her loving niece Tansy, all family issues come to the fore and are redistributed and shared in a way that only families can do.
A shocking and disturbing issue is dealt with through the eyes of loyalty and love and makes this a good, fluid read, while it reminds us that family, truth and love are most sacred.
March 5, 2016
I won an unfinished proof of The Beekeeper's Secret through a Goodreads Giveaway.
The characters were interesting and inviting, and I wanted to stay with them all the way to the end.
This book also furthered an interest I already had in bees, and actually had me looking up laws in my area for residential beekeeping.
Being non-religious, I often worry that books with a particular theme (in this case the Catholic church) will be too preachy for my liking, but was happy to find that was not the case.

I would have liked to have seen recipes for some of the honey-based baking the characters were doing, but I think that about any book I read where the characters cook. Still, Google helps there, and I have a batch of honey bread in the oven as I type.
Profile Image for Caroline Poole.
257 reviews6 followers
April 4, 2016
As with the Chocolate Promise, The Beekeepers Secret is a light family drama (with some dark overtones) set in a great Australian setting. After I wanted to move to Tasmania an open a Chocolate shop, now I am off to Noosa to keep bees! An enjoyable read!
Profile Image for gemsbooknook  Geramie Kate Barker.
731 reviews12 followers
March 10, 2016
Won this Through Goodreads First Read.
I really enjoyed this book. Love the writing style, I really connected with the characters. I found it took a little bit to get going but once it did I was hooked. Such a wonderful book.
Profile Image for Andrew Hall.
294 reviews2 followers
April 18, 2016
Of the 3 books of Josephine Moon I have read this was the most engaging and entertaining. An enjoyable read.
43 reviews
January 20, 2018
Loved it. All of her books are great. They each have a theme - tea, chocolate and bees - and give good information about each. They also deal with relationships - the ups and downs. Easy to read as well.
Profile Image for Tracy Smyth.
1,545 reviews3 followers
June 15, 2023
This was an easy read that I really enjoyed. Highly recommend this book
Profile Image for Caroline.
64 reviews
May 11, 2018
Even on my best day I'm not going to be the biggest fan of brussel sprouts. They do not, however, deserve to be used as a type of purgatory!
Profile Image for Yvette Finley.
3 reviews
February 29, 2016
The Beekeepers Secret from Australian author Josephine Moon retains all the great qualities from the author of international bestsellers The Chocolate Promise and the Tea Chest.
The book feels like a natural evolution of Josephine's writing - still very easy to read with vibrant environments you want to immerse yourself in (I loved the mountain retreat the main character Maria lives in), characters that you find yourself intimately involved with, and a wonderfully engaging storyline (with some genuine didn't see that coming twists).
This time around though there is a more sinister back story that will introduce new readers who love the darker side of human nature to Josephine's work, while keeping her army of loyal foodies (Moonies) like me happy. Not content to wreck my diet last time with the Chocolate promise, this time Josephine gets me addicted to honey in all its glorious sweetness. I want to savour all the wonderful honey treats she writes about here, and share the world of the bees that Maria, and also the other main character Tansy share -I had no idea they were so complicated. I think even a beekeeper would learn something from this book! I often go to the Ginger Factory but the idea of going to their bee show would bore me, but with Josephine's seamless writing style you can't help but want to know more.
Without giving too much away, this book is also very topical at the moment with Spotlight winning an Oscar, and Tim Michin's song "Come home Cardinal Pell" #1 on itunes. The front cover says it all. "Theres a sting in every tale". I highly, highly highly recommend this book. And I'm calling it here first - this will be her most successful novel yet. Speaking of Hollywood, surely its just a matter of time before they come calling for one of Josephine's books?
Profile Image for Shanayah.
282 reviews52 followers
July 12, 2017
Full review here: https://scarletbookkeeper.wordpress.c...

Can I start by saying how adorable the cover is? All of Josephine Moon’s books (The Tea Chest and The Chocolate Promise) have such cute covers. I really enjoyed reading The Beekeeper’s Secret, it has such a refreshingly light, charming story with realistic, relatable characters. The character development is clear and natural, especially for Maria. The first meeting between Maria and her niece, Tansy was so awkwardly cute! Sometimes I felt the book introduced some characters a bit too quickly, so I occasionally got confused and had to back-track, but once I got the hang of who is who, I was able to really get into the story. Maria, one of the main characters of the book, is such a lovely person to read about, she cares a lot about the community and her bees.

Set in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, the story itself was brilliantly written, it was highly descriptive with twists and a certainly unexpected conclusion. I really thought I knew Maria’s secret! How wrong I was. I typically don’t enjoy reading books that have strong religious themes, because most of the time it’s so constant and feels pushy, but while the book did have strong religious themes, it was written in such a way that, although the religion is definitely there, it wasn’t being shoved down your throat. I enjoyed the little bee-related facts throughout the book and learnt a lot about them.

I received an ARC of this book through a Goodreads giveaway.

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Profile Image for Bill Traves.
16 reviews
February 29, 2016
Darker. Sweeter. Even better than the Chocolate Promise and The Tea Chest combined. This book will launch Josephine Moon into the stratosphere. Could she be any more on trend?
This book has it all. Mystery, topical issues such as religion and abuse in the church, genuinely fascinating insights into the world of bees, and her descriptions of the Sunshine Coast hinterland, the honey and all the amazing foods you can make from honey were all so powerful they just blew me away. As with her other books, Josephine has an amazing knack of creating worlds you want to live in and never leave. And she brings it all together in such a great easygoing style of writing that before you know it you've been up all night reading about Maria and Tansy like you've known them all your life. The bees are a character all in themselves. You'll find yourself noticing bees everywhere after reading this.
I was the first of my friends to get an advance copy of this book. It is absolutely KILLING me not to reveal the twists (especially the one near the end) and discuss what they think and if they saw it coming. I really thought I had the beekeeper's mystery nailed, but I was so far off it was laughable.
Wow. What else can I say without ruining this? Just read this book when it comes out. Its a great read from a great Australian author. You won't be disappointed. Just be prepared for a sting with all the sweetness this time around.
Profile Image for Laura.
357 reviews102 followers
June 17, 2016
The Beekeeper's Secret is my first Josephine Moon book and I imagine it won't be my last. This novel is probably what I would call a family saga? With a sprinkle of mystery. The novel tells the story of two women: Tansy and Maria.
Maria is an old nun who dedicates all her time to her bees and making products from honey to sell for a children's charity in Cambodia. And Tansy is a thirty year old woman who is debating what she really wants in life. It transpires that Maria is actually Tansy's auntie and the plot brings them together and they learn from each other, share deep secrets and repair their family feud.
It was an enjoyable read but it wasn't the sort of book I raced through; it was more of a steady read that I dipped in and out of. I liked that there was an element of mystery to it and a lot of drama too. The story is divided nicely between Maria and Tansy so we get to learn about them both and their troubles in life. I particularly loved the parts where Maria is explaining about bees (I love bees so it was great to learn more about them!)
This is a great book to read in the sunshine and has a very satisfying ending. I think I may go back and read more of Josephine's novels now!
Profile Image for Blodeuedd Finland.
3,434 reviews294 followers
August 9, 2016
To think that bees could be that interesting. It's a sad fact really, the bees are dying, we should all look out for our buddies the bees! We truly need them. And in this book, oh I liked how much Maria loved her bees. They were her family.

Maria is a former nun who is now the manager of a retreat and she also makes honey products. She has a secret, a dark one that we slowly learns. It's a book that ultimately deals with some heavy subjects.

Tansy is happily married, but at a crossroads, and she reaches out to the aunt she has never known. It was really sad how the family had lost contact, and I got it. There were secrets, but at the same time, so sad. Maria loved her family and she lost it all. They get to know each other and a story will be told.

And Tansy is dealing with her own things too.

And there are bees!

The only thing I misses was, hmm, perhaps a recipe? Yes a honey themed recipe would have been nice, but let's face it, I never make anything from those recipes. I just look at them and long.

Secrets, family and bees. All good and bad things come together in this sweet book. But like a bee can sting there will be darker things than just honey around too.
109 reviews1 follower
September 5, 2020
Lots of issues to interest its female readership in this book, ranging from Catholic church patriarchy and the forced submission of women into the subservient role of nuns in the 1960s to the modern woman's dilemma of if and when to have children. Nothing new is encountered in this regard but the way the story entwines bees into the narrative and likens their role in nourishing the world through sacrifice and service to that of the female characters provides an interesting dimension. The author gives the bees an almost spiritual role and the book almost falls into fantasy at times as the bees take on roles as various as confessor (as in a hearer of confessions) and accomplice (as in to murder). The family dramas in the book were well balanced with the central mystery of the plot, but I found the tensions were light. I wasn't on the edge of my seat at any point. My favourite part of the book was the locations, so good to have a story set in an area you're familiar with - it gives it much greater presence.
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