Sue Monk Kidd's internationally bestselling first novel THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES has delighted many millions of readers around the world. 'Charming, funny, moving' The Times; 'A wonderful book, by turns sad, full of incident and shot through with grown-up magic reminiscent of Joanne Harris' Daily Telegraph Lily has grown up believing she accidentally killed her mother when she was four. She not only has her own memory of holding the gun, but her father's account of the event. Now fourteen, she yearns for her mother, and for forgiveness. Living on a peach farm in South Carolina with her father, she has only one friend: Rosaleen, a black servant whose sharp exterior hides a tender heart. South Carolina in the sixties is a place where segregation is still considered a cause worth fighting for. When racial tension explodes one summer afternoon, and Rosaleen is arrested and beaten, Lily is compelled to act. Fugitives from justice and from Lily's harsh and unyielding father, they follow a trail left by the woman who died ten years before.
Finding sanctuary in the home of three beekeeping sisters, Lily starts a journey as much about her understanding of the world, as about the mystery surrounding her mother.
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(198mm x 130mm x 26mm)
Publisher: Headline Publishing Group
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UK Kirkus Review »
Fourteen-year-old Lily is growing up in 1960s South Carolina, trying to come to terms with the knowledge that aged only four she accidentally shot and killed her own mother. Growing up with only her tyrannical father and a black servant called Rosaleen, Lily pines for her mother and is tormented by guilt. She develops a strange fascination with the bees which creep out of her bedroom wall at night bees which soon become a link between her present, past and future. One day Lily ends up rescuing Rosaleen from a racist incident, and they leave home with only a few remaining items that belonged to Lily's dead mother. These possessions lead them to meet and move in with a family of three black bee-keeping sisters, with whom Lily and Rosaleen develop a close relationship, finding acceptance and love that Lily never experienced as a child. With the help of time and the sisters, Lily learns more about herself, the mystery of her past and the world at large. As the story unfolds she begins to overcome the guilt and unhappiness that she has always suffered. The novel demonstrates that tragic childhood circumstances can still result in love, friendship and happiness. The theme of bees and bee-keeping provides a delightful and unusual undertone. (Kirkus UK)
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Book Review: Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd - Reviewed by CloggieA (28 Dec 2011)
The Secret Life of Bees is the first novel by Sue Monk Kidd. Set in 1964, this is the story of Lily Melissa Owens, who lives on a peach farm in South Carolina. At four years of age, Lily accidentally killed her mother. Her father is a harsh and cruel man, and Lily craves her mother’s love. She does have the friendship of Rosaleen, a Negro servant, but when events put Rosaleen in jail and in danger of her life, Lily decides they need to escape. Lily follows the scant trail left by her mother and they end up living with the eccentric Boatwright sisters, farming honey and learning to understand the world and themselves. Filled with facts and anecdotes about bees and beekeeping, this heart-warming tale has tears and laughter and much wisdom. For me, it was reminiscent of novels by Alice Hoffman and Alice Walker’s The Colour Purple. The epigraphs about bees at the beginning of each chapter were a delightful touch.
Author Biography - Sue Monk Kidd
Sue Monk Kidd is the author of three novels, all of which have been international bestsellers: The Secret Life Of Bees, The Mermaid Chair and The Invention Of Wings. The Secret Life Of Bees spent two years on the New York Times bestseller list, was long-listed for the Orange Prize, and was turned into an award-winning film. The Mermaid Chair and The Invention of Wings were both No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. Sue is also the author of several acclaimed non-fiction books including Travelling with Pomegranates, which she co-wrote with her daughter Ann Kidd Taylor. Sue lives in Florida with her husband Sandy. www.suemonkkidd.com Twitter @suemonkkidd