Book Review:  Sue Monk Kidd, ‘The Secret Life of Bees’

It’s not often that I settle down and read a book cover to cover in one sitting.  Don’t get me wrong I’m a fast reader.  My record is two and half in a day, but I usually need a break as much to give the book time to mellow and grow on me as to break up my day.
The last novel I devoured in this way was Linda Gillard’s ‘Emotional Geology’. That was delicious.
‘The Secret Life of Bees’ is a different type of dish.  It has similar emotional integrity and authenticity but is set in South Carolina in the 60s.  Racial tension is rife.
Lily, a 14 year old white girl, is abused by her grieving father.  She runs away for a number of reasons.  She ends up finding hope and a pattern of living with a group of black women, one of whom is a beekeeper of considerable giftedness.
It’s a powerful parable of hope overcoming fear and difference.  It isn’t an easy read in places but it is a page turner.  I cared deeply about Lily, the women who supported her and the bees that support the women.
Very much recommend this novel.

5 stars


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