I received an ARC copy of this in exchange for an honest review, so with that in mind here’s my review.
I initially liked everything about the book, the cover, the title and the first few chapters.
I settled into what I thought would be a really well written book and so it was for a while.
We’re introduced to the main character Maria, a former nun who lives in Honeybee Haven, which is a hilltop retreat in Queensland Australia raising funds for orphans in Cambodia. Maria tends to the bees on the property and makes confectionary using the honey from the bees to sell and raise more funds for the orphans.
There are hints of a dark secret in Maria’s past and an ongoing investigation involving an abuse scandal within the Catholic Church.
Maria talks to her bees and “tells” them the local and house news of the day as per the old tradition of beekeeping. I’ve a bit of a fascination for bees and realise their importance in the food chain. I’ve even been teased that I have more photos of bees than my own grandchildren on Facebook albums, so thus far this was an ideal book for me.
Then Maria’s long lost niece Tansy gets in touch with her and we meet her. The book goes downhill for me from that point on. I didn’t like or warm to Tansy and found her, her backstory and family incredibly boring. The book started to turn into a fluffy chick-lit novel. Nothing wrong with chick-lit, but this didn’t fit in with the story that started off so incredibly well written and had the makings of a really good book. It’s as if the author or her editor decided that the book was too serious, so must have some fluffiness that will hold the interest of a certain readership and who wants to read a book about an old beekeeping nun with a past. Well me for one!
The book carried on and secrets were revealed but for me the impetus was lost. Sorry. I’m sure a lot of people found this an enjoyable read, but it wasn’t for me, except for the early wonderfully written chapters. Thanks to the author and publisher for my review copy.