Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Honeybee Heart Has Five Openings” as Want to Read:
A Honeybee Heart Has Five Openings
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Honeybee Heart Has Five Openings

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  659 ratings  ·  137 reviews
'This book has found a special place in my heart. It’s as strange, beautiful and unexpected, as precise and exquisite in its movings, as bees in a hive. I loved itHELEN MACDONALD, author of H IS FOR HAWK

A fascinating, insightful and inspiring account of a novice beekeeper's year of keeping honeybees, which will appeal to readers of H is For Hawk and The Outrun

Entering h
Published July 26th 2018 by Simon Schuster Audio UK
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 A Honeybee Heart Has Five Openings, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Honeybee Heart Has Five Openings

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  659 ratings  ·  137 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of A Honeybee Heart Has Five Openings
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“The hive has become a counterweight to a work environment I’ve been finding stressful. I’ve begun to relax out here; to drop some rigid outer casings that were holding me stiffly and rather unhappily in place. The bees are hot and busy inside the hive, and maybe if I can understand them better I might learn something important about how to live.”

A Honeybee Heart has Five Openings is a memoir by British writer, beekeeper and tutor, Helen Jukes. Now in Oxford with a new job, Helen Jukes decides s
One of them back-to-nature-ish memoirs about turning an early-thirties malaise around through a fulfilling project. Jukes was sick of a boring office job and wanted to make her new house share in Oxford more than just another temporary fix. So she got involved with the Oxfordshire Natural Beekeeping Group and spent a year researching the history of beekeeping (e.g. blind François Huber) and ultimately getting an urban hive of her own. To start with it was all just an idea and a pile of old books ...more
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
May 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
3.5 stars rounded up

Helen Jukes is caught up in the grind of an office job and feeling disconnected though she lives in a busy city. She needs a change that will fill her time and create some sort of connection. Her search for meaning leads her to beekeeping. First, it’s just an idea and a bit of reading. Then, her friends gift her a honeybee colony for Christmas. Jukes spends the winter preparing for her colony, considering the history and practice of beekeeping, and ultimately what her role is
Dec 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was supposed to be a positive move, but Helen's new job in Oxford feels like a bit of a dead end. Uninterested in the office politics and finding the work tedious she is looking for something to inspire her once again. Having helped a friend look after a few hives, having a colony of bees of her own really appeals, however they are an expensive hobby, especially when starting from scratch. However, the generosity of her friends, who club together to buy a colony of bees for her, gives that sp ...more
Jenny Cooke (Bookish Shenanigans)
I absolutely loved this, a wonderful account of one woman's year of bee-keeping and the escape that nature offers.
RoseMary Achey
A honeybee hive is a complex community. One where roles are clearly defined.

In this memoir Helen Jukes is struggling with her role and her community. Helen decides she will become a beekeeper and takes the reader on her year long journey. We learn along with Helen as she researches and discovers historical origins of the modern hive, the swarming tendencies of bees, environmental treats bees are facing and much more.

The keeping of the bees radically changes Helens role within her community. By
Ashley (pawingthroughpages)
Even though I am emotionally allergic to bees. I still respect them, and somewhat find them intriguing. I could of lived without the side part of finding love.
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book that I am reading as part of my bee reading. Developed from a fascination with them and in attempts to write a university assignment, all fiction and non-fiction bee books have taken top priority.

"I might get a beehive" (11).

Helen has just changed jobs, moving to Oxford and a small office space and faces the desire to get out, escape. Until she remembers a time beekeeping with a friend and sparks the idea of creating and keeping a hive in her back garden. Once the idea
Aug 04, 2018 rated it liked it
I wanted to like this more than I actually did.
Charlotte Jones
*Disclaimer: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Part memoir, part natural history, part romance, part biology - this is a fascinating book about Helen Jukes' journey to become a beekeeper and how the bees affected her life in unexpected ways. I'll be honest, this took me a few attempts to get into. I felt that I wasn't connecting to the author when I was reading the ebook. However, the audiobook was a brilliant medium for this. Although not narrated by
Emily Turner
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is a non-fictional memoir based upon the authors first year in beekeeping and how it helped her find peace and comfort through this activity. I feel as if I went on an emotional journey with the author of this book. Helen Jukes writes about her research into beekeeping, ancient beekeeping practices and how the hive has changed over the years, she also documents her own personal anxieties, fears and hopes during her beekeeping experience. She wrote this novel in monthly diary format. It ...more
Helen Jukes is feeling disconnected and stuck in the day-to-day of a monotonous job- something needs to give. In an effort to make her new home and garden more lively, as well as to bring some purpose back into her life, Helen decides to start beekeeping. This book is a biography of Helen Jukes' year of beekeeping, but also ends up being fairly educational to the reader on the subject of beekeeping.

The concept behind this book had me intrigued, and I still think this is an incredibly interestin
I was expecting this to be something like H is for Hawk or The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating where an element of nature becomes the focal point for an introspective look at life. But it isn’t. It’s primarily the journal of a novice beekeeper’s year of setting up and keeping a hive in Oxford, England, and is full of facts about bees as well as the history of beekeeping and pioneering beekeepers. So in a way I was disappointed, but in another I was glad to be spared the navel gazing some memoirs ca ...more
I liked this one a lot! It’s an odd structure, blending memoir and linguistics and biology and history, but somehow it all works — the musings about language and community and place looping through all these pieces and pulling them tightly together. It’s a little messy and melancholy, but also joyful and curious... and that’s the stuff of life, really.

It’s not a memoir as much as it is a map of what the author was thinking about at the time, I suppose, but I like the approach (and if it’s not to
Tamsien West (Babbling Books)
A beautiful, gentle, thoughtful memoir about a year of bees and finding pleasure in small things. I learnt so much about bees, the history of beekeeping and modern attitudes towards and treatment of bees. That element was fascinating, but I also really appreciated the story of Helen's struggles at work, and in life, and the way the natural world was sometimes at the forefront, sometimes in the background. But always it seemed to be an anchor for her.
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
I did not enjoy this book, but that is almost certainly simply because it was just not for me. In case anyone is trying to figure out if it might be for them, I thought I would explain.

I was expecting a book about finding yourself and expanding your understanding of what it means to be human through the pursuit of beekeeping. This book is about 20-30% that. But there is a lot of history and philosophy of bees and beekeeping, and discussions of etymology. These things dominated the writing (mayb
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Laura Jacobsen
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A peaceful, thoughtful narrative told with grace and charming uncertainty. I read this as an uncorrected proof received through work and it was like my cup of tea at the end of a day. Can’t wait to see it fly out into the world this summer
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
Much as i love reading about bees i just felt flat reading this.
Natalie (CuriousReader)
Helen Jukes chronicles one year during which she decides to take up beekeeping and takes us along the journey of that whole experience. Interspersed with lessons about beekeeping and the nature of the honeybee, are observations on Jukes's own life and how the two parts so often seem to feed off each other. The more she learns about the hive and the bees, the more she understands about herself too and what she had been missing from her life. A job that brings nothing but exhaustion and frustratio ...more
Georgia Rose
3.5 stars

An easy and engaging read. I read it in 2 days and have started googling beekeeping courses in my area at the end of day 1.

Helen Jukes has moved to a new town for an unfulfilling office job. She’s disconnected and stressed.

In her old life she’d helped a friend with his urban bee-keeping adventures. She decides to set up a hive in the little backyard of her new sharehouse and waits for springtime, when she can move a colony of bees into the hive.

The book reads like a diary of Jukes’ fir
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A great book. Thank you so much Rhian for giving this to me! I spent a while wanting to find time to dedicate to it, then life threw me a six day migraine! By today, I was finally able to look at one thing for multiple hours.

Truly, this book feels like I wrote it in another life. Everything that interests her, from the obvious bees, to books and language, is explored so beautifully here. There are parts where I had to stop simply to marvel and the wonderful language of the world. One passage I p
Brigid Gallagher
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Helen's story begins with a lot of stress and "head stuff" as she recounts numerous facts about bees and beekeeping. She is undergoing major life changes, with a recent move from Sussex to Oxford, starting a new job that has a permanent contract, and moving to a two up two down house with an overgrown garden, shared with her friend Becky.
However, Helen aspires to keeping bees, after a few years of learning from her friend Luke, who is an urban beekeeper.
It is time to get her own hive and bee c
May 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have never stayed up late into the night to finish a nonfiction book, but Helen Jukes and the bees had me hooked! I loved her compelling and occasionally poetic way of describing friends, places, and actions through her studies; the controlled chaos, badass matriarchy, and environmental significance of a single colony. Plus, she includes a killer bibliography that would get any nature reader excited.

If you want to be a beekeeper, you were a fan of "The Honey Bus" by Meredith May, or you appre
May 16, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars.

I read this book in one 3 hour sitting. It is presented as an autobiography, of a year in the writers life from when one November she has the idea to get need to the following October. She presents her studies into the study of bee (or hive) keeping (very meta), which is fascinating, describes her progress with the bees (also interesting) and attempts, not very successfully, to link her efforts at bee keeping to her own personal growth and ability to settle down.

Despite enjoying the
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Loved this story. It's non-fiction but the prose is delightful. It's a 'how I did it' folded gently within stories of her life during that year. I was about half way when I heard Helen Jukes speak in person. Her responses to the interviewer and to us, the audience, gave me hope. There was a young woman speaking about the need to protect our bees, how to protect our bees and how to feed them. She is an activist but she didn't scare the crap out of me with any violent negativity. She just gets on ...more
bee stewart
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
this book is as sweet and nourishing as milk and honey. following a year in the life of a novice beekeeper, we learn not only important technical aspects of beekeeping, the history of the craft, not the learning curves she faces, but how she herself was affected by allowing bees into her life. if you have any interest in beekeeping, this book should be on your list as a warm autobiography of a woman looking for solace in a hive.
Lester Noel
Dec 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
A big gap between starting this book and finishing it but hey ho!....If you are at all interested in starting your own beehive then you will love this book...I’m sure you will also read other books on the subject. An extremely enjoyable book that skilfully weaves the process of becoming a beekeeper with the authors own self-discovery.
Zakari Mann
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Could be one the best bee books I’ve read! I would recommend this to anyone, interested or not about bees. A really sweet story. Just hoping Helen Jukes writes another book soon!!
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book both thought provoking and original. It is about the need to connect with nature and focus on what’s really important in life. It’s beautifully written and utterly enthralling.
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Wilding
  • Surfacing
  • Wintering: How I learned to flourish when life became frozen
  • Empty
  • Rewild Yourself: 23 Spellbinding Ways To Make Nature More Visible
  • How to Catch a Mole: And Find Yourself in Nature
  • The Private Life of the Hare
  • Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures
  • The Wild Remedy: How Nature Mends Us - A Diary
  • The Easternmost House
  • A Farmer's Diary: A Year at High House Farm
  • The Hidden World of the Fox
  • The Salt Path
  • The Wood: The Life & Times of Cockshutt Wood
  • How to See Nature
  • Blackberry & Wild Rose
  • Craigslist Confessional: A Collection of Secrets from Anonymous Strangers
  • Breaking & Mending: A Doctor’s Story of Burnout and Recovery
See similar books…

News & Interviews

With his new horror novel, The Only Good Indians, author Stephen Graham Jones conjures one of the most effective scary images to ever hover in that...
48 likes · 4 comments
“So how to care, without caring too much?” 0 likes
More quotes…