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GROUP READS > The Beekeeper's Apprentice Discussion

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message 1: by Dlmrose (new)

Dlmrose | 17494 comments Mod
This is the discussion thread for the Winter 2011 Group Read The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King. Please post your comments here. This thread is not restricted to those choosing this book for task 20.10, feel free to join in the discussion. Warning- spoilers ahead!


Anne  (Booklady) Molinarolo (wwwgoodreadscomAnneMolinarolo) | 939 comments This book wasn't what I expected and I gave it only 2 stars. My eyes glazed over Mary's stilted narrative and prose for the first 3rd of the novel. For me, the story got interesting when Jessica Simpson was kidnapped.

My review is at Anne (Booklady)Winter 2011-12 Reviews


message 3: by Elizabeth (NC) (new)

Elizabeth (NC) | 185 comments I enjoyed this book a lot (four stars I think)--I read it a while ago and have the third one slated to read in this challenge. It's not a series that I am dying to read back to back, but I enjoyed the second and am looking forward to the third.


message 4: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Hodges Young | 307 comments Jennifer KS

I enjoyed this book and thought it had an original idea that Holmes would come across someone later in life that was as intelligent as himself. That it was a young girl was just the topping on the sundae! The book starts out a little slow in order to set up the relationship but then it picks up speed once the start solving cases.


message 5: by Donna Jo (new)

Donna Jo Atwood | 3157 comments I started this book when it first came out, but couldn't get into it. But it is the only book of the three that I haven't read, so I'll be trying it again. I'll have to see if it is as good as my friend Lorie thinks it is.


message 6: by Stacie (new)

Stacie (shorty_320) | 1382 comments Anne (Booklady) wrote: "This book wasn't what I expected and I gave it only 2 stars. My eyes glazed over Mary's stilted narrative and prose for the first 3rd of the novel. For me, the story got interesting when Jessica Si..."

I so agree! I listened to an audio version of it and fought my way through it. Had to hold back from skipping discs entirely!


message 7: by KSMary (new)

KSMary | 795 comments Well, the book definitely got better as it went on. Not sure if it was enough improvement to have me read more in the series though. Their cases did get more interesting as the book progressed.


message 8: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 7542 comments i read this last challenge and just started the second one...I enjoyed the audio - not sure if i would have kept going in print...for me the narrators voice was the deciding factor and I got caught up in it


message 9: by Sheila (last edited Dec 12, 2011 02:26AM) (new)

Sheila (sheilaj) | 2244 comments I guess I was looking at this book through the eyes of someone who watches the news. What the heck was this 50 something man doing hanging out with a vulnerable ?? 15 year old. Can't you see the picture on the front page of the Enquirer? Wouldn't that be front page news now? I thought the book was essentially a snore though and don't understand why this series of books is so popular.


message 10: by Cindie (new)

Cindie | 1721 comments For all the eventful plot points, this book feels ponderously written. It is not a bad read, just a really slow one. A little less verbosity would help the cause tremendously! Still, there is something comforting about the cozy way it is written -- the kind of book that lulls you into sleep (not a ringing endorsement, I guess, but not bad coming from a lifelong insomniac)


message 11: by Tammy AZ (new)

Tammy AZ (tammyaz) | 875 comments I've had this book on my shelf for years and this challenge finally got me to read it! I definitely think you need to be in the right frame of mind to enjoy it. Although it is a mystery is reads more like literary fiction and it moves very slow. The idea of the older man mentoring the teenage girl strikes me as more than a little strange but I think the author needed to go into that background to lay the groundwork that this really was more of a father/daughter relationship in order to keep the reader in later books from wondering if/when the older Mary and Sherlock were going to become an item.


message 12: by Wendy UK (new)

 Wendy  UK (wendyuk) | 756 comments The imitation of the Victorian writing style of the original Sherlock Holmes novels makes this less of an easy read than most modern mystery stories. I found I enjoyed it in parts - particularly the kidnapping episode - but at other times I found it rather tedious. I did find the idea of Sherlock Holmes meeting his match in a young woman an interesting one and I may well read more of the series to see how the characters develop.


message 13: by SandyC (new)

SandyC (sandyc88) | 420 comments It was difficult to get into this book and it moved very slowly. I agree with other reviewers that the Jessica kidnapping was the best part. The Holmes/Russell relationship was rather strange. I am not compelled to continue this series.


message 14: by Donna Jo (new)

Donna Jo Atwood | 3157 comments I finally made it all the way through The Beekeeper's Apprentice, unlike the previous times I tried to struggle through it. The pace was soooo slooooow. Part of the problem may be that I am not now and never was a big Sherlock Holmes fan. I will say that it was marginally better than Michael Chabon's The Final Solution, which was a book group read I had to do (I was the discussion leader. I hate leading discussions of books that bore me. It's far easier to lead a discussion when you either love it or hate it.)


message 15: by Miranda (new)

Miranda | 49 comments I enjoyed the setting of this book and the thought that there might be someone who could best Sherlock Holmes. An interesting take on this well-known character.


message 16: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) Although I'm enjoying this book overall, it seems to be slow-going. It definitely picked up when Holmes and Russell started solving crimes. Not sure if I will feel compelled to read more in the series when I'm done with this one.


message 17: by Lindy-Lane (new)

Lindy-Lane (moonbacklit) | 590 comments I personally found Mary Russell’s wit & independence (not to mention her love of books) to be quite enjoyable and hard not to love. It was wonderful spending time with the verbal fencing and humor between Mary and Holmes's. Holmes has met his “spirited match”! Mrs. Hudson was also a favorite character of mine. I gave it 4 stars.


message 18: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) I had a hard time deciding on 3 or 4 stars, but went with 3. I found the book entertaining and I liked the relationship between Holmes and Russell. However, I'm not inclined to continue with the series.


message 19: by Marie (new)

Marie | 77 comments I thought this book was really well written, but kinda slow. There was almost too much information in it that didn't seem important. I found parts of it to be really entertaining (their first meeting, the kidnapping, her dream, the end) but other parts were incredibly boring.


message 20: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) Marie wrote: "I thought this book was really well written, but kinda slow. There was almost too much information in it that didn't seem important. I found parts of it to be really entertaining (their first mee..."

I agree that it seemed to move very slowly in spots... and yet it WAS well-written. I had mixed feelings about it.


message 21: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 7542 comments ditto! and I felt the same about the second...i'm undecided if I want to go on to the third


message 22: by Almeta (last edited Feb 01, 2012 04:16AM) (new)

Almeta (menfrommarrs) Okay, I just started this. I haven't read any of the previous comments because I don't want to read any spoilers.

My first thought is, I am a bit miffed that dear old Dr. Watson has been insulted. Yes, he was a bit simple, but he was a great loyal friend. You can't make fun of an iconic figure and get away with it!

I am also having a difficult time believing that Sherlock would accept a mere teenager, and a female at that, as worthy of notice. She is rather plucky. I guess that is the attraction.

I'll be back after these first few pages. Looking forward to seeing what everyone else has written (above).


message 23: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) I was upset every time the author denigrated Watson, too. How dare she! lol


message 24: by Almeta (new)

Almeta (menfrommarrs) I thought that the preface to The Beekeeper's Apprentice (view spoiler) was really clever.

However, I promptly forgot about it once involved in the book.


message 25: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 7542 comments Almeta - that also appears in at least the second one that I also used for this challenge


message 26: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) Almeta wrote: "I thought that the preface to The Beekeeper's Apprentice [spoilers removed] was really clever.

However, I promptly forgot about it once involved in the book."


Good point. I forgot about the preface, too.


message 27: by Almeta (new)

Almeta (menfrommarrs) Dee wrote: "Almeta - that also appears in at least the second one that I also used for this challenge"

Sooo, are some of the things (view spoiler) revealed in the next book?

King didn't seem to follow through on the preface's premise with an epilogue to reinforce it.


message 28: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 7542 comments the second one (view spoiler)

i'm undecided if i want to continue the series or not...its ok, and I like the audiobooks, but my library doesn't have them and I don't know if I want to use my audible credits to get them, if that makes sense


message 29: by Marcia (new)

Marcia | 86 comments I actually really enjoyed this book... which surprised me. I agree that it was slow at times, but I also agree that the verbal fencing and humor kept you engaged. I look forward to reading the second in the series.


message 30: by Almeta (last edited Feb 06, 2012 11:38AM) (new)

Almeta (menfrommarrs) I am of the opinion that if Sherlock Holmes had been left out of this saga, and Mary Russell just studied his methods while also studying theology in college that this would have been more interesting.

A Jewish woman in that time period receiving a diverse education and being plucky enough to flaunt her abilities would be a fascinating female to follow. We wouldn’t need a doddering Uncle John Watson, an internationally diplomatic brother Mycroft, or egotistical Sherlock Holmes.

I did actually enjoy each of the mysteries that Mary participated in solving. Cutting her baby teeth on the first and growing more confident as a new case appeared.

It was difficult for me to accept, not one but two new outstanding womanly intellects for Sherlock to admire. Holmes fans know that there is only one superior female mind to be held in high regard by Sherlock.


message 31: by Debra (new)

Debra (debra_t) I agree that this book would have been interesting enough with just Mary Russell. Good points, Almeta!


message 32: by mstan (new)

mstan | 876 comments I agree that the use of language is quite delightful in this book, but after the novelty of reading about Holmes's interaction with this teenage girl wore off in about a hundred pages, I found it hard to remain interested in the plot/mystery. I am a mystery fan but am not a fan of Holmes (sacrilege!), and I can't help wondering if I would have liked this more as a fan.


message 33: by Almeta (last edited Feb 13, 2012 07:37AM) (new)

Almeta (menfrommarrs) mstan wrote: "I am a mystery fan but am not a fan of Holmes (sacrilege!), and I can't help wondering if I would have liked this more as a fan. ..."

I think Sherlock Holmes fans found this a sacrilege! It was way too far from character of Mr. Holmes, and didn't pay homage to Dr. Watson or Irene Adler.

I enjoyed the mysteries but didn't want Holmes to be a part of the plot.


message 34: by Foxy Grandma (new)

Foxy Grandma (foxygrandma) | 997 comments I hav to say this was not my favorite book this challenge. It seemed slow, and the characters just didn't draw me in very much. But after picking it up twice, I was able to finish it.


message 35: by Kate S (new)

Kate S This was an ok story, not my favorite, but not unreadable either. I actually liked the beginning of the story better than the later parts. I enjoyed the initial relationships between the characters, before it got kinda weird. . .


message 36: by Cindy (new)

Cindy | 883 comments I enjoyed reading this story, it has been a while since I read Sherlock Holmes. The character of Mary Russell was intriguing at times but I agree that there were parts of the novel that dragged a bit. Not sure if I will read any more in the series, too may other good books on mt TBR list including other Laurie R Kings books.


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