As you might expect from the title, The Beekeeper’s Secret, by Josephine Moon, weaves the wondrous world of Bees into this whimsical story of the Lindsey sisters and their families, primarily Maria who spends her twilight years of her life hidden away at Honeybee Haven.
Maria has a dark, hidden secret, for which she has paid silent penance over a span of twenty years. A former nun, she continues to serve God by supporting an orphanage in Cambodia through the income of Honeybee Haven and her beloved bees.
Maria has resigned herself to a life of solitude and loneliness, her bees are her family until her world is turned upside down in the whirlwind that is Tansey, her niece. Tansey has tracked her down through the wonders of the internet and has a self-appointed mission to reconcile her Mother to her long lost Aunt and reunite the family.
Tansey is delightful, Maria responds to her after initial misgivings, but what of the rest of the family. What has caused such deep-seated resentment? And will Maria’s terrible secret destroy all that is being tentatively built?
Tansey, meanwhile, has her own battles to face with a major crossroads before her and her adored husband Dougal. So much love between them, but is it enough to see them through? Will they reconcile the differences that have suddenly erupted? Tansey’s extended family and friends are also fighting their own individual battles, with Tansey doing her best to be there for everyone, a shoulder to cry on, a word in season. Her heart is full of love for life and others and it is hard not to warm to her thoroughly likeable character.
My favourite element of this light and delightful read, were the Bees, Maria’s love for them and relationship with them. I enjoyed reading about the workings of the hive, the character of the bees and the cottage industry that revolved around the hive that Maria took so much delight in. I could almost taste the mead, smell the scented candles. In its subtle way, this book highlighted the plight of the Bees and measures we can undertake to help their survival.
This is a gentle story. There are characters who are likeable if lacking the depth I look for in the novels I like to read, especially in light of the serious and sensitive topic that it does attempt to approach. Having said that, I enjoyed the journey this book took me on, while not experiencing any height or depth of emotions, it was relaxing and charming. A great holiday read!
The Beekeeper’s Secret, by Josephine Moon, is available from Dymocks.
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