Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Honey Farm” as Want to Read:
The Honey Farm
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Honey Farm

3.14  ·  Rating details ·  850 ratings  ·  194 reviews
The drought has discontented the bees. Soil dries into sand; honeycomb stiffens into wax. But Cynthia knows how to breathe life back into her farm: offer it as an artists’ colony with free room, board, and “life experience” in exchange for backbreaking labor. Silvia, a wide-eyed graduate and would-be poet, and Ibrahim, a painter distracted by constant inspiration, are draw ...more
Hardcover, 328 pages
Published May 29th 2018 by Liveright
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Honey Farm, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Honey Farm

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  850 ratings  ·  194 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of The Honey Farm
Lisa
Dec 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: did-not-like
I am going hard on this book 📖 to a 2.5 stars the beginning was great sucked me in but by the middle it was dragging badly. All I can say it was a very disappointing read.
Chris
Jul 09, 2018 rated it liked it
I’m on the star rating fence on this one - between two/three stars. I liked the start off / beginning of a lucrative ad being placed by Cynthia, to attract individuals to work at her bee farm. Room and board, food and drink are free, fresh clean air, blue skies, green grass, freedom, quiet, isolation, and the opportunity to spend time on your artistic endeavors with like minded others. Sounds like a great opportunity to me, where and when do I sign up???

Ugh, so things are not quite what they app
...more
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
*https://mrsbbookreviews.wordpress.com
3.5 stars
The Honey Farm, penned by Canadian debut novelist Harriet Alida Lye, is a lyrical story with a strong line of mystery. With a shroud of unsettling menace underpinning the novel throughout, The Honey Farm explores the art of beekeeping, love, obsession and possession in the one evocative novel.

The Honey Farm revolves around struggling Ontario based farm owner Cynthia. In drought stricken times, Cynthia is desperate to reap the rewards of her honey fa
...more
Courtney
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Theresa Smith


Where this novel shines is in the clever characterisation and foreshadowing. Cynthia, the owner of the bee farm, is clearly intense, yet I veered from thinking she was up to something to thinking she was simply acting normal for a farmer who is used to living alone. Her farm assistant, Hartford, was as loyal as they come, yet at times, I felt as though he was tentatively warning the others, watching Cynthia closely, and bracing himself for something untoward. Ibrahim was incredibly weak, easily
...more
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
This book had an interesting premise and good characters, but I was really disappointed in the way it ended. Audiobook narration was so-so.
Brooke
May 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Honey Farm is atmospheric and immediately creates a subtle, creeping sense of dread. I was fully immersed in the world and lives of the characters, and I absolutely needed to know how the book would end. The ending was a tad too abrupt in my opinion, although upon reflection, it really is one of the best ways it could have ended. While other reviewers felt lukewarm at best about this book, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Gaby Meares
May 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book made me so cranky. Well, not the book exactly, but the ending. It just finishes, with absolutely no resolution - I actually called out a very loud Nooooooo when I found there was no page 327.
This novel has much to offer: lyrical descriptions of the seasons and the landscape; well developed characters and detailed descriptions of how bees live and make honey. It’s wonderfully atmospheric and the tension is built with great skill. But then it just stops.
So, my stars are for the novel up
...more
Burt
Aug 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
Since there are several other well written reviews that summarize all the major characters and plot points of this book, I’ll just cut the chase: the ending sucked. Wait, I guess I can’t really say the ending sucked because there was no ending. The story just stopped as if the author just gave up and walked away without actually ENDING the story. Did she just decide it was too much work to have a beginning, a middle, AND an end? Most books do, right? Don’t waste your time reading this, you’ll on ...more
Kate
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-books
A big thank you to Katie Adams, an editor at Liveright Publishing who sent me a copy of this forthcoming debut novel. Cynthia owns and runs a honey farm in a remote area of Canada and during a drought, she advertises for creative people to come live and work on the farm. She is successful at recruiting a number of people, but as no one is paid in cash, almost everyone leaves over the course of the summer. After the harvest, only Silvia and Ibrahim are left and while the drought continues, they " ...more
Jazz Click
Jul 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Another book finished on vacation, actually somewhere over Montana according to the photo gps. I started this one for a book speed date, back on Reading Envy Podcast Episode 120, and liked it enough to finish it.

Cynthia runs a farm in Canada where the honeybees are in danger due to drought. She invites artists to stay, room and board and creative space in exchange for working on the farm. Silvia is a young poet, Ibrahim is a painter, just two of the artists whose lives will change on the farm du
...more
Brittany | Healing Happy Lee
Thank you for the print copy of The Honey Farm, which I won through the giveaway program on Goodreads.

The cover is soooo beautiful and velvety!!

Part 1 of this book was the most beautifully written book I have ever read. It truly moved me, while I learned alot about bees and nature in such a deep and detailed way.

Part 2 of this book however, I did not like at all, my reason being for 2 stars only. Part 1 was so great I'm truly upset with how Part 2 went, and the ending just left me hanging. But
...more
Dale Harcombe
I have gone as far as I am going with this one. The cover says about the bees being restless. The bees were not the only ones. Although the writing is descriptive, I did not care about any of the characters or the story. Pretty writing was not enough for me. By the time I came to blood coming out of the tap, I decided to call it quits.
That's not to say this may not appeal to others. It just didn't grab me, despite the enticing cover and what initially seemed it could be an interesting story lin
...more
Carolyn
Jul 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
The ending left me confused and furious. Otherwise, a good story.
Shellie Taylor
Mar 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: general-fiction, arcs
I am very grateful to W.W. Norton for this book as an Advanced Reader's Copy. Although I wanted more out of the ending of this book, I was deeply moved by the writing of this piece. The parallel between the story and the life of bees was beautifully and poetically translated onto the page. There were some strong characters (Silvia), characters I felt strongly about, either positively or negatively (Cynthia), and weak characters (Ibrahim) but their stories were woven together seamlessly and I com ...more
Nicola Davison
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
For people who love poetry, literary fiction, and suspense, this one checks every box.
Bonnie
Oct 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well, I don't read books that are considered "Science Fiction." But, I just did. The title is The Honey Farm. The premise is that a woman who owned the farm put ads in papers that she needed young people to help out during her busy season. Applicants could sign up and be provided a place to live and food to eat in exchange for them helping out with the production of honey during a drought when the soil dries into sand, honeycomb stiffens into wax, and production slows down. Cynthia sells the ide ...more
Lana Shupe
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As I read through this book I felt a mounting dread that left me anxious to be finished with the turmoil happening on the pages and at the same time frightened to know how it would end. The forces of nature, belief, doubt, madness and belonging converge in this book in a way that left me drained as I strained to want a different ending than the actual ending.
The characters in this book are so damaged by their distorted realities and histories that I knew in my heart that it was only a matter of
...more
James Fisher
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Set near Smooth Rock Falls in Northern Ontario, The Honey Farm is a delightful and mistily enigmatic story that progresses over the course of a drought-stricken year on a small honey farm. The farm itself is owned by Cynthia and the sole permanent worker there is a local man named Hartford. To help with the harvesting of the honey and the maintenance of the farm itself, Cynthia posts an advertisement promoting the farm as an "artists retreat" where, in exchange for their labour, they will get fr ...more
Jennie Falen
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
I liked the first 1/2 of the book quite a lot, but feel it lost ground after that. I had expected more about bees, and felt some of the farm characters could have been left out--they were not well-developed. The ending was a disappointment--it was sudden and left me wondering what happened. I do think this author can write beautifully, but in this story her abilities were not consistent.
Anna
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A triumph. Dark and sticky and also light and sweet, balanced in the most artful ways. An ending that left me unmoored and troubled in the best way. Characters who whipsawed from benign to sinister back to benign again. A tense read.
Big Al
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018, canadian
Would have liked to have seen:
1) More bees
2) More creepiness
3) A compelling plot
Sean C.
May 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"The Honey Farm" by Harriet Alida Lye is a richly constructed, evocative meditation on love, power and nature.

It's Ontario farm setting is atmospheric and vivid. Its reclusively is equal parts peaceful and claustrophobic. The description of the bees and beekeeping is deft and meticulous. The owner of the farm, Cynthia, is the novels finest feature. Lye uses her sparsely and effectively through-ought, and though we don't trust her, her certainty and passion are tantalizing. Lye' writing style
...more
Megan Prokott
Aug 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was not disappointed by this book. A debut from a young author, The Honey Farm is well-researched and subtly informs a reader on the lifecycles of bees, on the role of a queen bee, and the ways in which humans interact with bees.

However, this aspect of the book is just one layer of what felt like a twenty-five layer cake. On one hand, the tone is eerie and gives a reader the feeling of being off-kilter the entire time, but, on the other, the actual premise brings together people from many dif
...more
Melissa
May 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: ebooks, arc
2.5/3 I was really captivated by the premise of this novel: a struggling bee farm invites artists to live and work for free while doing some beekeeping to offset the cost of room & board. Where do I sign up? I guess I'm not really an artist, but I'm not really sure most of these people were either.

But as I read, I found that I wasn't connecting with any of the characters. So instead, my mind wandered to other places- how do these extra workers count for tax purposes? did the farm make them sign
...more
Devyn
Sep 09, 2018 rated it liked it
I received this book from Goodreads.

Another book with a vivid floral cover hiding a sinister core.


The Honey Farm is a slow burn of a novel.
Hot, sticky, and languid are the days toiling on Cynthia's honey farm.
Free room and board in exchange for labor with the added bonus of life experience and a honey-sweet aftertaste lingering on the tongue.


But nothing is ever really free, and even honey sours.

Red water, swarming frogs, murdered queens, and a naïve girl's religious delusions exploited by a
...more
Angela
Dec 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was mesmerized by Lye's liquid honey, sky blue prose, hypnotized by her dense, magical narrative of subtle trickster foreboding, rich natural description and oozing, apiarian inflections. Do not trust any of the low reviews here. Clearly these people cannot recognize good writing when they are lucky enough to stumble upon it. This could easily, easily have replaced more than a few poorly written bestsellers on any number of 2018 Best Of lists. Sure, the ending left me unfulfilled with its too ...more
Kaitlyn
Apr 20, 2018 rated it liked it
(3.5)

I have mixed feelings about this book, so I'm going to try to make sense of all of them here. If you love slow-moving, atmospheric books, you will absolutely adore this book. I was totally sucked into the setting of this book and I thought that Alida Lye was a really talented and lyrical writer. I was immersed into the mystery and the magical realism of this book as well.

However, the ending was confusing for me. It just...ended? It was sudden and I didn't feel like anything was really ans
...more
Danyelle Drexler ( danythebookworm_ )
Lye’s debut novel is both sinister and hypnotic. It was a most unexpected read, a dark thriller that will have staying up late to finish it. I look forward to reading more by this author. It’s definitely buzz-worthy.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Invisible Enemies: Stories of Infectious Disease
  • This One Wild and Precious Life: A Hopeful Path Forward in a Fractured World
  • The Way Through the Woods: Of Mushrooms and Mourning
  • The Ravens (The Ravens, #1)
  • Well-Behaved Women
  • Barn 8
  • How to Pronounce Knife
  • The Children’s House
  • Rebent Sinner
  • The Minuteman: The Forgotten Legacy of Nat Arno and the Fight Against Newark's Nazis
  • I Want You to Know We're Still Here: A Post-Holocaust Memoir
  • Top End Girl
  • Maybe the Horse Will Talk
  • In Defense of Looting: A Riotous History of Uncivil Action
  • As Husbands Go
  • If Tomorrow Starts Without Me (Poem)
  • Tinfoil Butterfly
See similar books…
49 followers
Harriet Alida Lye is a writer from Richmond Hill, Ontario. She studied Philosophy and English at the University of King's College in Halifax and lived in Paris for the better part of eight years. She founded and edited Her Royal Majesty, a literary arts magazine that ran for six years. Her fiction, essays, and reporting have been published by Vice, Hazlitt, Happy Reader, The Guardian, The National ...more

News & Interviews

Readers have a lot to look forward to this year! Just feast your eyes upon all of these debut books to check out and emerging authors to...
183 likes · 47 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“Everything dies. And we have to learn to love the world anyway. (Ibrahim’s father)” 0 likes
More quotes…