Description

Synopsis:
Set in California in 1964, "The Secret Life of Bees" tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother died, and an abusive father. When Lily's fierce-hearted black "stand-in-mother," Rosalean, insults three of the deepest racists in town, Lily decides to spring them both free of their respective jails. They escape to Tiburon, South Carolina, a town that holds the secret to her mother's past. Taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters, Lily is introduced to their mesmerizing world of bees and honey--and love and perseverance.

Review:

In Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees, 14-year-old Lily Owen, neglected by her father and isolated on their Georgia peach farm, spends hours imagining a blissful infancy when she was loved and nurtured by her mother, Deborah, whom she barely remembers. These consoling fantasies are her heart's answer to the family story that as a child, in unclear circumstances, Lily accidentally shot and killed her mother. All Lily has left of Deborah is a strange image of a Black Madonna, with the words "Tiburon, South Carolina" scrawled on the back. The search for a mother, and the need to mother oneself, are crucial elements in this well-written coming-of-age story set in the early 1960s against a background of racial violence and unrest. When Lily's beloved nanny, Rosaleen, manages to insult a group of angry white men on her way to register to vote and has to skip town, Lily takes the opportunity to go with her, fleeing to the only place she can think of--Tiburon, South Carolina--determined to find out more about her dead mother. Although the plot threads are too neatly trimmed, The Secret Life of Bees is a carefully crafted novel with an inspired depiction of character. The legend of the Black Madonna and the brave, kind, peculiar women who perpetuate Lily's story dominate the second half of the book, placing Kidd's debut novel squarely in the honored tradition of the Southern Gothic. --Regina Marler


Author: Sue Monk Kidd
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 384
Publisher: Headline Publishing Group
Publication Date: 22 Aug 2013

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